Small Animal Veterinary Nursing

Our new Nursing Online CPD mini-modules have been developed for and aimed towards veterinary nurses. These 100% online modules will run over four weeks, with a different topic being covered each week, and will provide you with 25 hours of CPD

The course will be taught and tutored by veterinary nurses from the University of Liverpool referral hospital teams, with input from veterinary specialists. The module will provide four weeks of teaching, with a break week in the middle to allow time to catch up.

The online teaching material will be in the form of online lectures, readings, interactive discussion boards, live Zoom sessions with course tutors and speakers and weekly MCQ tests designed to help support your learning. You also have access to the university of Liverpool online library and access to tutors and peers, making learning fun and interactive.

Candidates can choose between a ‘medicine’ stream or a ‘surgery’ stream, with the first two weeks being common to all candidates before separating into the two different disciplines.

Course content:


Medicine stream

Surgery stream


Sympathetic anaesthesia

Sympathetic anaesthesia





Break week

Break week


Nursing the gastrointestinal patient

Advanced nursing of the surgical patient


Confident Nursing of the Oncology Patient

Advanced nursing of the critical patient


Week 1: 19 February 2024

Sympathetic anaesthesia

When anaesthesia causes your heart to race…

Find out what to worry about and how to fix it in this mini module series, dedicated to recognising and treating some common anaesthesia related complications.

Speaker: Liza Ebeck RVN NCert Anaesth. AVLM

  • Common Arrhythmias and when to intervene 
  • Blood pressure monitoring and Hypotension - including hypovolaemia and how to treat it

 Speaker: Laura Ayton RVN VNMA (ECC&A)

  • The abnormal capnogram, including recognising ventilation issues and how to respond
  • spo2 trace abnormalities – why the trace might be poor and what should be done about it

Speaker: Louise Dale RVN VTS analgesia and anaesthesia 

  • How can drugs affect your anaesthetic and what to do about it
  • Sedation drugs and summary of key features


Week 2: 26 February 2024

What is pain, and what can we do? NO PLAN? No Problem! 

Speaker: Ashleigh Thurston BSc(Hons) VN RVN

  • The Pain Pathway This lecture aims to follow the journey from nociception through to perception and introduce the concept of multimodal analgesia.
  • NO PLAN - Multimodal Analgesia in Acute Pain This lecture aims to discuss different analgesic groups, where on the pain pathway they aim to act and the RVNs role in analgesic plans for patients using the ‘NOPLAN’ acronym.
  • Local Anaesthetic Techniques in General Practice This lecture aims to cover local anaesthetic techniques that are easy to implement into daily surgical practice including: dental blocks, local blocks for neutering surgery, surgery of the distal limb.

Speaker: Dr Jenny Bowen-Smith BSc (hons) BVetMed (hons) BSAVA PGCertSAECC FHEA MRCVS

  • Chronic Pain Management - The RVNs role and adjunctive therapies


Week 3: Break Week


Week 4: 11 March 2024

Medicine: Nursing the gastrointestinal patient

Speaker: Lisa Kehoe FdSc RVN CertVNECC DipAVN

  • Aetiology of gastrointestinal signs, treatment options, nutrition and nursing considerations
  • ‘Flash - saviour of the glucose curve!’ - covering the placement, monitoring and interpretation of a FreeStyle Libre

Surgery: Advanced nursing of the surgical patient

Presented by the Small Animal Teaching Hospital Nursing team, with support from the SATH Specialist Vets.

Speaker: Anna Willians

  •  The importance of theatre barrier apparel and avoiding surgical site infections

Speaker: Elizabeth Brown

  • Sometimes it`s the little things that make a big difference – Tips and tricks for a smooth recovery: Surgical patients

Speaker: Pamela Heron

  • Cleaning and preparing surgical instruments for use

Speaker: Lauren Ellis

  • Prepping the surgical patient


Week 5: 18 March 2024

Medicine: Confident nursing of the oncology patient

Speaker: Ella Barlow

  • Chemotherapy health and safety, administration and what to do when things go wrong

Speaker: Paula Wynne, Oncology Service Nurse at the Small Animal Teaching Hospital

  • Paraneoplastic conditions and their nursing care
  • Common feline cancers - presentation, staging and treatment

Speaker: Nina Vigevani

  • Common canine cancers - presentation, staging and treatment

Surgery: Advanced nursing of the critical patient

Presented by the Small Animal Teaching Hospital Nursing team, with support from the SATH Specialist Vets.


Start date: 19 February 2024

Cost: £420


Speaker Biographies

Louise Dale RVN VTS analgesia and anaesthesia 

Louise Qualified as a VN in 2002 with the PDSA in Batley, Leeds. She then worked in mixed practice before returning to small animals at Oakbeck veterinary Hospital in Harrogate. 

Louise then accepted a Head Nurse position at Ashland’s veterinary Centre in Ilkley where she stayed for 4 years and became an A1 Assessor, completed a supervisory certificate and gained a certificate in animal behaviour.  In 2007 Louise started teaching at Rotherham College as a lecturer in animal care where she completed a level 4 qualification in PTTLS. 

In 2009 Louise accepted the full-time post of senior surgical nurse at Liverpool University, managing a team of eight theatre staff and the day-to-day running of the theatre whilst at the same time completing an NVQ level 3 in Leadership and management, plus her VTS qualification in Anaesthesia and Analgesia. Louise has a keen interest in surgical and anaesthesia nursing.  

In 2022 Louise moved over to the Equine hospital and now manages the operational aspects of the hospital as the Equine Clinical Department Manager.  

Laura Ayton RVN VNMA (ECC&A)

Laura qualified in 1999 from a mixed practice and moved to a Surgical Nursing position in University Referral Hospital shortly after qualifying. She worked as a locum nurse gaining experience across first opinion and referral practice, small animal and mixed practice. In 2017, her love of Anaesthesia and Surgical Nursing led her back to referral nursing in the theatre at the Small Animal Teaching Hospital, University of Liverpool, where she is one of the Surgical Nurses, specialising in her favourite disciplines.

Lisa Joanne Kehoe FdSc RVN CertVNECC DipAVN

Lisa started her veterinary nursing career in North Wales, qualifying in 2011.  In 2015 Lisa relocated to work within referral and has been at the Small Animal Teaching Hospital since 2016. Lisa has a particular interest in emergency and critical care nursing. 

Liza Ebeck RVN NCert Anaesth. AVLM

Liza qualified in practice in 2001 and has spent most of her career in University Referral Hospitals specialising in Cardiology, Surgical Nursing and Anaesthesia. In 2022 she moved to first opinion practice as Head Nurse and gained valuable experience of first opinion life. Liza made a move back to one of her passions in 2023 and is currently Senior RVN at James Specialist Veterinary Cardiology.

Paula Wynne, Oncology Service Nurse at the Small Animal Teaching Hospital

Paula qualified as a RVN in 1998 and worked as a head nurse at a busy Wirral practice before joining SATH in 2009 as a patient care nurse; a period as pharmacy nurse followed before she discovered her passion for oncology nursing in 2013. Keen to develop her knowledge in advanced veterinary nursing Paula completed a Diploma in advanced veterinary nursing in 2020. A further two years of study in the field of veterinary oncology followed and in 2023 Paula earned her Veterinary Technician Specialist status in oncology.

In her role as oncology nurse at SATH Paula manages the chemotherapy ward, actively contributes to student and post graduate teaching, monitors and advises regarding management and safe handling of chemotherapeutics across the hospital, and actively participates in clinical research.

Ella Barlow

Ella qualified in 2020 from University of Bristol before starting work in a busy first opinion practice in Hampshire. Ella joined SATH in January 2022 as a patient care nurse, before joining the oncology team in May 2022 as oncology and radiotherapy nurse.

Ella’s main role is within the radiotherapy department, where she is responsible for patient care and monitoring patients throughout their treatment course. Ella is also involved in assisting with the administration of chemotherapy and student teaching.

Clinical Interests

  • Nursing care of radiotherapy patients  
  • Feline nursing
  • Medical oncology

Briony Alderson BVSc CertVA DipECVAA MRCVS RCVS Specialist in Veterinary Anaesthesia and EBVS® European Specialist in Veterinary Anaesthesia

Briony graduated from The University of Liverpool in 2000 and then spent 18 months in mixed practice in Manchester before returning to Liverpool to do a residency in veterinary anaesthesia. After completing the residency she stayed for 2 years as an anaesthesia clinician and achieved the certificate in anaesthesia. 

Briony moved to a private referral practice in Yorkshire as a consultant anaesthetist for 3 years, during which time she gained her European Diploma in Anaesthesia and Analgesia. She returned to the University  of Liverpool in 2010 and is now a Senior Lecturer and Head of the Small Animal Anaesthesia service.

Ashleigh Thurston

Ashleigh has worked as a RVN at the University of Liverpool’s Primary Care Practice since 2017. She achieved her FdSc in Veterinary Nursing with Distinction in 2016 and went on to complete her BSc Top-up in Veterinary Nursing, graduating again with First Class Honours in 2019. She has a wealth of experience working in a university referral hospital, general practice and clinical pathology laboratory environments. Ashleigh is passionate about educating the next generation of veterinary surgeons and empowering RVNs, and has subsequently presented her own research at BVNA Congress and has published many articles in international peer-reviewed journals. Ashleigh's main areas of interest are anaesthesia, acute and chronic pain management, evidence-based veterinary medicine and theatre nursing. She is currently working towards completing a Nursing Certificate in Anaesthesia.

Anna Reeves

Anna qualified as an RVN in 2002 at Prospect House Veterinary Hospital, a busy small animal practice in Colwyn Bay, working there for 11 years before accepting a full time position as a surgical nurse at the Small Animal Teaching Hospital in 2007.

Anna completed the Diploma in Advanced Veterinary nursing in 2010.

In 2022 Anna became the Senior Surgical Nurse at the SATH managing a team of 8 theatre staff and continues to have a keen interest in surgical nursing.

Katie Cannon

Katie qualified as an RVN in 2014 in a mixed practice in North Wales and moved to referral nursing at the SATH in 2017. Katie then completed the VetsNow ECC certificate in 2020 and has a passion for Emergency and Critical Care nursing. 

Katie's role as an inpatient care nurse at the SATH involves the monitoring of patients in wards and ICU and teaching vet students

Katie is the weekly lead for Emergency and critical care to include the following topics.

  • Nursing the septic abdomen
  • Transfusion medicine
  • The brachycephalic patient
  • Nursing the head trauma patient 
  • The dyspnoeic cat