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Sarah Jane Batt-Williams


Sarah Batt-Williams, VN Council 2023 election candidate Candidate 1 of 5

Proposers: Hilary Orpet, Andrea Jeffery

Address and contact details

21 Chandlers Way, Hertford, SG14 2EB

M 07771 349511

E /

Candidate biography

I’m an RVN with a diverse blend of practice and academic experience which is well matched to the role of a VN council member.

I am a Senior Teaching Fellow and Co-Course Director of undergraduate veterinary nursing at the Royal Veterinary College (RVC), having previously worked as a lecturer at Middlesex University and the College of Animal Welfare (CAW). Prior to a move into education, I worked as an RVN and senior RVN in a range of first opinion, private referral, university referral and emergency settings, in the UK and Australia. I have also volunteered in the USA and South Africa, with both domesticated animals and wildlife.

During my pre-registration degree, I completed placements in first opinion, charity and university referral practices and was awarded a year two RVC Achievement Award and the CAW travel bursary for my dissertation on the then imminent regulation of veterinary nurses. I have a Master’s in Veterinary Education, completing my thesis on the preparedness of veterinary nursing and veterinary students for reflection, now a requirement of CPD.

I have enlisted as a STEM ambassador to support the VN futures project and have been an active member of the BVNA and the BVNA educator’s forum.

Candidate statement 

Throughout my career I have developed three core values which, if elected, I would incorporate into every aspect of VN Council business and decision making; to be an ally to underrepresented groups, to empower RVNs to lead in their field of expertise, and to ensure evidence-based practice (EBP) is at the forefront of decisions made.

To be an ally:

I will advocate for, and participate in, activities that strengthen the profession through enhancing diversity, questioning whose perspective is being missed when decisions are made.

As co-course director, I listen and respond to students, team members and veterinary employers, bringing their concerns to the relevant bodies to help resolve issues and find solutions. Listening, educating myself and others, and taking supportive action has also been a key aspect of my roles in further and higher education and in a range of practices globally. These experiences will help me to be an ally on VN council. 

Promote opportunities for leadership:

I will promote discussion on RVN leadership and support initiatives that advance knowledge and skills in this area.

Historic and current socio-political factors are embedded within the veterinary profession, affecting the professional identity of RVNs, and how we, and others view RVNs in leadership positions. It is imperative that RVNs from all routes entering the profession are empowered and prepared to lead for professional progress, which is why I believe it is vital that this challenge is explored within VN council.

Ensure EBP is at the forefront:

I will work with VN Council to further champion and embed training in the implementation of EBP so that all RVNs have the necessary skills to be at the forefront of quality improvement in their practices. I will also advocate for evidence-based decision making on VN council itself.

Questions from the profession and the candidate's answers 

  • What do you feel are key factors in ensuring role satisfaction and career progression for veterinary nurses, enabling improved retention and healthy recruitment into the profession, and ensuring sustainability and evolution of veterinary nursing into the future?

A fulfilling career, which fits the needs of the individual will differ for every RVN and will change over time. Being able to conduct a personalised job search is vital, as is having the confidence to initiate career conversations and negotiate within them. Additionally, RVN’s need to feel empowered to promote their interests and develop their role. Training and practise for RVNs in these skills is required and cultural reform to create supportive and flexible working environments is imperative.       

Opportunities to advance careers, such as undertaking post registration training or applying for positions on for example, VN council, need to be accessible to all. Time, exposure and means are required to seek these roles, and those who already have privilege are more likely to be able to access these and progress. Equity is required for career advancement opportunities, developing strategies for this is something I would push for if elected. 

  • What can we do in terms of promoting and supporting nurses in terms of Schedule 3 procedures and delegation?

Schedule 3 (S3) theory is taught to the respective students, however, practical application and consolidation as to the full extent of delegation is lacking. The workforce shortage is exacerbating this, as there isn't always the time or resources to support the development of practical skills past those taught prior to registration. However, this issue existed before the workforce shortage and appropriate delegation enhances the team's efficiency.

Additional, accessible, post registration practical training in advanced S3 procedures would be beneficial. However, training in assertiveness and leadership skills is also required alongside cultural change, as hierarchical and subservient language is used throughout the profession, at times, leading to a lack of empowerment to fight for greater delegation.

It must also be acknowledged, however, that much of our role is not restricted to S3 and it is within our power to lead in these aspects and develop our veterinary nursing profession.