Remember to look after yourselves says Keynote Dr Ranj, on the final day of BSAVA Congress - Veterinary Practice
Your browser is out-of-date!

Update your browser to view this website correctly. Update my browser now


Remember to look after yourselves says Keynote Dr Ranj, on the final day of BSAVA Congress

Valuable lessons can be learned from the way both human and veterinary medical staff have responded to the challenges presented by the pandemic

Healthcare staff in all clinical disciplines need to find time in a busy day to look after themselves, delegates were reminded on the third and final day of BSAVA Virtual Congress (25-27 March 2021).

NHS paediatrician and television personality Dr Ranj Singh said that valuable lessons can be learned from the way both human and veterinary medical staff have responded to the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In his keynote address, Dr Singh acknowledged the similarities between his role in the paediatric emergency unit of a major London hospital and that of his veterinary audience. The two professions not only share the challenge of looking after nonverbal patients, but also face similar pressures in other areas such as dealing with the patient’s family, and they are confronted by the same external forces such as the profusion of misinformation on healthcare issues.

Since the virus arrived in the UK last year, there have been huge changes in the way that healthcare is delivered. Dr Singh felt that medical staff could take pride in the way they have adapted to different ways of working and adopted new technologies. “It is amazing what can be achieved when the pressure is on,” he said.

However, he was worried about the effects of the pandemic on the mental health of NHS staff, with many at risk of developing post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of their experiences. “I worry that we will be dealing with the fall-out from this crisis for a long time,” he warned.

The huge emotional toll of looking after the influx of large numbers of seriously ill patients has highlighted the need to provide “mental health first aid” for colleagues. Dr Singh listed a number of strategies that have been adopted in his own hospital to maintain the welfare of colleagues. These include the practice of group huddles each day when people can connect and talk over any issues.

The pace of work in an emergency unit can be unrelenting and staff may not have time to leave the unit for refreshments – so bringing in a tea trolley with snacks at regular intervals has had a positive impact on staff morale.

Above all, medical staff must remember that their own physical and mental welfare should never be forgotten. He drew a parallel with the instructions given to aircraft passengers. “You have to put on your own oxygen mask before you try to put on someone else’s.”

Over the past three days BSAVA Virtual Congress has provided 130 CPD hours on 24 module topics via 80 live sessions and 100 on demand webinars and four keynote speakers have shared their knowledge, insights and advice with the profession.

The final day of covered a diverse range of clinical and practice management-related, wellbeing and topical sessions.

Laura Owen and Alasdair Hotston Moore discussed ureteral ectopia (EU) and urethral sphincter mechanism incompetence (USMI) during the session “The Leaking Tap – What’s New?”, as part of the Urogenital Tract Surgery module. Laura provided delegates with a number of tips and tricks for identifying ectopic ureters, including reminding delegates of the variable clinical presentation of patients with EU and discussing secondary changes that may be present on imaging. Alasdair spoke to delegates about different surgical approaches to treating USMI in the bitch. Alasdair’s presentation included a brief overview of a number of different surgical options and suggestions as to their application. Alasdair also considered the benefits and limitations of each of the techniques covered, and a brief discussion of the evidence base. The session generated a number of questions from delegates resulting in a lively Q and A discussion.

In the Exhibitor Stream, the recorded replay of the Zoetis symposium included presentations from John Innes discussing the role of Nerve Growth Factor (NGF) in the pain pathway, and the introduction of anti-NGF monoclonal antibody as a new therapeutic class for the management of OA pain. The live Q and A session with Matthew Rendle focussed on the forthcoming BSAVA Manual of Practical Veterinary Welfare and included discussion of role of the veterinary professional in management of chronic welfare cases.

BSAVA Virtual Congress is available for the next two months visit the website to register and enjoy an event that takes virtual learning to a completely new level.

For information on how to become a BSAVA member visit the BSAVA website.

Veterinary Practice

Improve Veterinary Practice (part of the Improve International Group) is an online knowledge and information hub for veterinary professionals across all specialties. It provides reliable, useful and interesting content, written by expert authors and covering small animal, large animal, exotics, equine and practice management
sectors of the veterinary surgeon and nursing professions.

Improve Veterinary Practice also offers a subscription-based membership, offering CPD courses and much more for the whole veterinary community.

Improve Veterinary Practice exists to inspire and inform your day-to-day work, and enable your ongoing professional development.

More from this author

Have you heard about our
IVP Membership?

A wide range of veterinary CPD and resources by leading veterinary professionals.

Stress-free CPD tracking and certification, you’ll wonder how you coped without it.

Discover more