Northern Ireland Veterinary Nurse of the Year 2022 (NIVNOTY) is celebrating its both its six-year anniversary and it’s being bigger than ever! The challenges facing veterinary practices have been particularly tough in the last two years, so having an event to recognise their diligence and care is so welcome.
Organised by Susie Hill, business development manager from Agria Pet Insurance, the awards are supported by British Veterinary Nursing Association (BVNA) regional representative Louise Taylor and the Association of Practitioners in Northern Ireland (AVSPNI).
Celebrating the veterinary professionals who go above and beyond the call of duty, the awards recognise those who positively impact the lives of pets and their owners.
Judges representing Agria, BVNA and AVSPNI commented on the high quality of the nominations from practices all over NI, from Belleek to Newtonards, as well as the number of entries.
NI Veterinary Nurse of the Year
- Charlotte Coyle from Parkview Vets, Strabane
- Janice Harbinson from Oldstone Vets, Ballymena
- Naoimh Toner from Roe Valley Vets, Limavady
- The winner is Naoimh Toner, Roe Valley Vets, Limavady
“Naoimh’s nomination reflects her many fine qualities but focuses on her work with loss and bereavement. She has been proactive in making things happen within her practice, and I believe this is above and beyond, yet priceless to pet owners. Veterinary nurses like Naoimh, who strive to promote issues within their own practice, just don’t realise the positive impact this has on the service users. Thank you, Naoimh, for easing the journey through loss.”
NI Student Nurse of the Year
- Marion McMahon from Cromlyn House, Royal Hillsborough
- Georgina Gray from Jubilee Vets, Newtonards
- Cassandra Kilgore from Craemills Vets, Magherfelt
Cassandra Kilgore, Craemills Vets, Magherfelt
“Cassie is completing her training at Greenmount and will be an amazing RVN when she qualifies. She has a calming attitude and is a fantastic nurse in emergency scenarios with her quick thinking and cool head. She thoroughly deserves this award. If it wasn’t for her support in 2022, I would not still be in the profession.”
NI Animal Nursing Assistant of the Year
- Rhianna Hurst from Stormont Vets, Belfast
- Samuel Galway from Rathgael Vets, Bangor
- Kathryn McBride from Earlswood Veterinary Hospital, Belfast
Kathryn McBride, Earlswood Veterinary Hospital, Belfast
“Kat spends a lot of her time running the rehab and hydrotherapy centre. Kat is incredible at her job. She manages the diary, organises the vets’ inpatient treatments, keeps clients informed by sending them pictures and videos and then follows up on their discharge. Kat’s focus is on the welfare of the patients. She makes the life of the vets, nurses and patients so much better by her efficient manner.”
NI Veterinary Receptionist of the Year
- Melissa Donoghue from Vets4Pets, Newtonards
- Lauran Mercer from Glenburn, Glengormely
- Jessica Magee from Cedar Grove, Belfast
Jessica Magee, Cedar Grove, Belfast
“Jess has recently been promoted to a team leader role within the practice, thanks to her hard work, caring nature and passion for all things veterinary. She now looks after a team of five full-time receptionists and three part-time receptionists. Jess should be proud of her achievements to date. She is keen to train others to her level and provides a supportive shoulder to lean on for new staff members.
“I am enormously proud of her and how much she has flourished in what many deem in practice as a very demanding role. Jess really deserves the recognition as Veterinary Receptionist of the Year to top off what has been a challenging few years for all veterinary staff with COVID-19. Especially for the front-of-house team. Jess has handled it with aplomb, and I know if she won this award, how much it would mean to her.”
NI Re-homing and Charity Champion of the Year
The Special Award went to Megan Andrews from Glenburn, Crumlin.
“Megan has fitted into the team like a duck to water and is so highly thought of. It is like she has always been here. She has had no trouble getting to grips with the workload and is such a hard worker. For quite a number of years, Megan has volunteered at a local animal shelter and gives up her evenings to assist with the running of the shelter. She also arranges donations from the local superstore to support them with food, blankets etc. Megan is a young girl who I believe will go very far in this line of work. Her dedication is admirable.”
Clinical Coach of the Year
- Beverly Smith from Cromlyn House, Royal Hillsborough
- Jayne Getty from Cedar Grove, Belfast
- Sarah Crockett from City Vets, Belfast
Sarah Crockett, City Vets, Belfast
“She genuinely cares about the quality of training of the students and aims to improve it in our practices, which is refreshing to see.”
New in 2022
Young Vet of the Year
- Richard Johnstone from Riada Vets, Ballymoney
- Hannah Eastwood from Coleraine Vets, Coleraine
- Aoife Ferris from Lakeland Vets, Belleek
Aoife Ferris, Lakeland Vets, Belleek
“She is a vet, a practice manager, a clinical coach and most of all a kind, caring individual who always puts clients, their pets and her staff first. She has immense empathy during difficult situations and always listens to the client’s needs. All the thank you cards are a testament to her hard work. She has built up an almost non-existent small animal practice from scratch, training a nurse and two new graduate vets along the way.”
Regarding the awards, Susie Hill, business development manager at Agria Pet Insurance, says: “We are delighted to be back at the AVSPNI Spring conference to present these well-deserved awards, with a record number of nominations in 2022.
“Veterinary practice has been busier than ever with the increase in pets and COVID-19 precautions, making the working day ever-more complex and demanding for the team. It’s great to see the well-deserved recommendations from vets, nurses and pet owners.
“The whole Agria team and I would like to congratulate all those incredible short-listed individuals and say a massive well done to our amazing winners.”