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VN Awareness Month interviews: Claire Hobson RVN

Claire Hobson RVN - RCVS Examinations Manager

For VN Awareness Month in May 2023, we are profiling RCVS staff members who are registered veterinary nurses, to talk to them about their careers in vet nursing, the experience they bring to their role at the RCVS, and why it's so important to celebrate the vet nurse role. This interview is with Claire Hobson, who works for our Education Department as the Examinations Manager. 

1. Tell us about your career as a veterinary nurse prior to joining the RCVS?

Claire Hobson RVN I spent my trainee student vet nurse period at the PDSA in Leeds, I absolutely loved working for a charity practice, super busy, lovely clients, and interesting cases.

After this I spent a short time in general practice before moving to an orthopaedic referral centre. I gained my hydrotherapy qualification during my time here and worked alongside many amazing skilled nurses and vets. I started to deliver CPD and looked after student vet nurses, I really enjoyed the “feel good” factor of helping students to develop and I started to think about moving into teaching/training future VNs.

I joined the College of Animal Welfare in 2014 and progressed as a lecturer to a Head of Vet Studies, eventually managing two campuses (Leeds and Wigan), 14 members of staff and over 300 students (both Diploma and Degree). I am passionate about OSCES and creating the perfect exam experience.

I dipped my toe in first before joining the RCVS as a full time member, first as an online mentor for the RCVS Edward Jenner Leadership Programme and then as an RVN PIC member.

2. What is your current role at the RCVS?

I am the Examinations Manager and oversee the Statutory Membership Examination candidates who would like to be UK-practising vets. My role is varied and interesting, I am here to support the candidates through the entire process. Candidates are asked to complete a theory exam and, if successful, they can then progress to the OSCE exam. I get excited when looking at exam data and planning an OSCE event. My past VN students and past team, used to call me the OSCE queen!

My new team are really nice and I have a supportive manager. I have to remember that my team are not RVNs or vets, so to hold back when talking about gruesome cases!

3. How does your veterinary nursing career impact how you approach your job on a day-to-day basis?

I am here to support the candidates, so I use my communication skills on a daily basis. As an RVN clear, supportive, informative communication is one of our strengths!

The role requires lots of organisation and planning, although its different to planning the ops list, prioritising and ensuring the job gets done is still key. When it comes to the exams, the content, terminology and OSCE planning links closely to my VN knowledge. Animal welfare is the most important consideration, so planning and ensuring the high stake SME exams go to plan are key, as it is really important the profession continues to grow and that we can use the skills of overseas vets.

4. Why do you think it is so important to recognise and celebrate the VN profession?

We are so much more than “just a nurse”, I am so proud to be a VN and proud of my VN colleagues and VN friends.

No matter what role a VNs does, we make a difference each and every day. I think it is important we inspire others to be VNs and encourage as many people as possible to join the profession, particularly from different backgrounds and with different experiences as the profession needs to become more diverse.

Within the veterinary profession we need to come together and support each other, hold a hand out to one another when the going gets tough and encourage one another to continue to learn and grow each day.

I have seen nurses who have had many sleepless nights weaning kittens/puppies but who still turn up to work each day and smile, and I have met students who have the most difficult journey but show resilience and strength to make it through to the end. Nurses should be celebrated, we more than deserve it, so let’s take the opportunity to share what we do and how we make a difference to animals and humans alike!

Published on 18 May 2023