Carrissa Gray wins Louise O'Dwyer bursary in memory of inspirational RVN - Veterinary Practice
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Carrissa Gray wins Louise O’Dwyer bursary in memory of inspirational RVN

Vets Now’s Carrissa Gray, an RVN who works at an emergency and critical care clinic in Macclesfield, has become the fifth winner of a bursary in memory of legendary vet nurse Louise O’Dwyer

Carrissa Gray was named the bursary winner at a dinner at the UK’s sole dedicated emergency and critical care (ECC) Congress for the vet professions, where around 900 vets and nurses gathered in Leeds.

Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, the 2023 Congress organised by Vets Now, offered up to 75 hours of CPD to any veterinary professionals looking to enhance their ECC skills and knowledge.

A new Louise O’Dwyer bursary winner is announced each year at Congress.

Open to all vet nurses within Vets Now, the Louise O’Dwyer bursary awards the winner an extra £2,000 CPD allowance to the candidate who best demonstrates their commitment to making a difference in their chosen discipline, while furthering Louise’s legacy of sharing learning.

Speaking from the Vets Now ECC Congress, Carrissa Gray said: “I’m delighted to win this award, which was not only created to celebrate the life and achievements of Louise, but to ensure her passion for education to continue to positively impact across the profession.”

Louise was one of the world’s leading emergency and critical care veterinary nurses and a huge influence on the thousands of vet professionals who encountered her through her lectures, practical guide books and journal papers.

After Louise’s death in 2019, Vets Now launched the Louise O’Dwyer Bursary as a tribute to Louise’s passion for her role in ECC and the culture of shared learning she helped to create.

Carrissa Gray continued “I plan to use the bursary funding to join Soren Boysen, professor in small animal ECC, who has kindly invited me as a co-assistant at his POCUS tech lab training sessions at the CVMA in Calgary. This visit would also include shadowing the ER techs at VCA Canada Western Veterinary Specialist and Emergency Centre.”

“By investing the bursary in this specific opportunity, it will deepen my skills by exposing me to cutting-edge approaches and best practices in the field, enriching my knowledge and expanding my network within the veterinary community.”

Racheal Marshall, head of clinical nursing at Vets Now said: “Carrissa Gray is a very deserving recipient of this bursary because of the brilliant learning opportunity she will be able to embark upon in Canada.

“We know that the knowledge and exposure Carrissa will gain through this experience will help continue Louise’s legacy of developing and improving others, as Carrissa plans to share the experience with her fellow veterinary nurses, improving the levels of training she can offer.

“It was important to all of us at Vets Now to find a way of honouring Louise’s work and to keep her memory alive. The Louise O’Dwyer bursary our way of thanking her for all that she contributed to the Vets Now family and the veterinary community.”

Applications for next year’s Louise O’Dwyer bursary will open in spring 2024. To enter, applicants are asked to answer three set questions.

An RVN and clinical support manager at Vets Now, Louise O’Dwyer was one of the world’s leading emergency and critical care veterinary nurses, described by friends as “a true force of nature”, with an infectious personality which lit up rooms worldwide.

Her passion for veterinary nursing was second-to-none, she was a much-loved colleague and friend to those who knew and worked with her, and a huge help and inspiration to thousands of vet nurses.

Abby Wharton, principal nurse manager at Vets Now Swindon, joined Vets Now in 2021 and became the fourth winner of the prestigious Louise O’Dwyer Bursary in 2022.

With a keen interest in canine behaviour, Abby received a £2,000 CPD award to put toward the Advanced Diploma in Canine Behaviour.

You can read more about Abby, how she found her way to her veterinary career and ECC, the importance of having a supportive team, and her plans for using the bursary to further her education and career, on the Vets Now website.

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