PDSA – past to present

Written by: Michael De Lacy Costello
Published on: 5 Sep 2019

PDSA New Cross team opening shot.

Michael De Lacy Costello (fourth left) with the team at New Cross PDSA Pet Hospital when it opened in 1992.

Michael De Lacy Costello is head nurse at PDSA New Cross, London. He started work as a vet nurse in 1989, qualified in 1992 and was promoted to his current role in 1996.

Speaking of the changes seen during his career, Mr De Lacy Costello said: “The main changes are an increase in the responsibility and accountability within the nursing profession. The training is also more detailed and weighted to practical skills, and we now have the option of a degree course.

1990s uniforms.

The more traditional uniforms in the 1990s.

“When I started, I was also a bit of a novelty as there weren’t that many male VNs, but that has changed and there are now many more men joining the profession.

“The nursing role has developed to use the skills, so nurse clinics are now commonplace, and Schedule 3 is encouraged. The vet/nurse relationship is now much more of a partnership, with both sets of skills being used to achieve the best outcome.

Community VNs in 2014.

Community VNs in 2014, showing how uniforms moved away from the dress and belt look for women, to the tunic and trousers for everyone.

“Uniforms have also changed over the years. As you can see from the 1992 photo (top), at PDSA all female VNs wore a dress and apron with a belt – similar to their counterparts in human medicine. Vets wore lab coats, with men in shirt and ties, and women in smart dress.

“In the 90s we moved over to scrubs-style uniforms, with the different grades being colour coded (vets wore green, VNs blue, and nursing assistants burgundy).

“In the early 2000s we all moved to blue scrubs, and then more recently – in December 2014 – we changed to our new corporate colours of magenta and green.”