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Driving practice innovation
  1. RCVS Charitable Trust


The RCVS Charitable Trust aims to help vets and vet nurses provide the best possible care for animals. One of the ways it does this is by funding veterinary research and education projects. The trust has a scheme for vet nurses that aims to drive practice innovation

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‘I THINK we should do it that way’, ‘Why don't we try this?’, ‘If I had the time, I'd have a go at making that work’, ‘It's a great idea, but there's no way we can do that on our own.’ The RCVS Charitable Trust is offering vet nurses the chance to turn their ‘lightbulb moment’ ideas into action.

The trust believes that vet nurses are uniquely placed to see how day-to-day practice can be improved, and can make real changes that affect quality and care. It says that although everyone has ideas about how things at work can be done differently, only a few do anything about it. The trust wants to inspire and encourage vet nurses to change and improve practice, and is offering them the chance to get a grant to investigate their idea.

What sort of idea?

Ideas come in all shapes and sizes. ‘It might not even be an idea,’ the trust says; ‘you might have a problem to resolve, a personal (or practice) approach or technique that works for you, a question you want answered, a wish, or even a challenge for the trust.’

Award winner

Sarah Hancill, RVN, has won the first Driving Practice Innovation award with her idea for a peripheral venous catheter care checklist. She explains: ‘Peripheral venous catheters are used to administer medication directly into the venous system for rapid distribution to the whole body, and also to deliver fluid therapy and nutritional support to the patient. Although intravenous catheter insertion is common practice, breaking the skin barrier alters the hosts’ defences against infection, which increases the risk of local infection or bacteraemia with more serious complications such as septicaemia. This causes concern for patient safety.'

Discussing how the checklist can be used, she explains: ‘The checklist consists of 14 quality indicators repeated every 24 hours over a 72-hour period. Each patient with an intravenous catheter in situ longer than 24 hours should be assigned a checklist. Each day the veterinary nurse or veterinary surgeon caring for the patient should complete each intervention and record their findings. The checklist can then be used as a tool for communicating between staff any problems with the catheter. It can also be used to collect data on what interventions are being completed.’ The checklist can also be used as an educational tool to show students the correct protocol for caring for an intravenous catheter.' Practices can download the checklist from the RCVS Charitable Trust website at

How to submit an idea

The first step is to tell the trust what your idea is; as it is an ongoing programme ideas can be submitted at any time. Put it in an e-mail – in 50 words or less – and send it to

Once the trust has received the idea, its panel of veterinary nurse advisers will consider your suggestion to see it if can be taken further, and what the next step might be. All entrants are notified within eight weeks of submission.

If the panel believes the idea can be progressed, the trust will contact you to discuss next step, which might be one of the following:

  • Let the trust take on your idea and try to make it work.

  • The trust helps you to try the idea out.

  • The trust helps you and your practice team make it work.

  • The trust helps you to share the idea with other practices.

If the trust takes up your idea and tries to make it work, it will keep you updated on progress, and you will be welcome to get involved. If it helps you or your practice to try the idea out, or share it with other practices, it may provide a grant to investigate the idea further. If it does this, you will need to accept the trust's usual grant terms and conditions and report back on progress.


To be added to the trust's grant e-mail list, e-mail with ‘Lightbulb moment’ in the subject box.

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