#VNAM2023: Meet the Hartpury University Veterinary Nursing team


May is Veterinary Nurse Awareness Month and we’re celebrating all of our brilliant veterinary nurses. Veterinary Nurses are key members of the clinical team in a veterinary practice but there are plenty of opportunities outside of practice including in research and of course, education.

We caught up with staff at Hartpury University’s Veterinary Nursing department to learn more about how their own career brought them to teaching.

Catherine Phillips - Head of Department, Veterinary Nursing

“I first qualified and registered as a small animal veterinary nurse after working in small animal practice for several years. I spent a short period of time in a rural mixed practice before moving to an equine referral hospital and qualifying as an equine veterinary nurse. 

“I initially joined the veterinary nursing teaching team at Hartpury as a Lecturer in Veterinary Nursing, and am now the Head of Department for Veterinary Nursing and hold a master’s in Veterinary Education.

I'm a member of the RCVS Ethics Review Panel, chairing the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) review of the Veterinary Nursing Subject Benchmark Statements."

Carly Thornton - Associate Head of Department, Veterinary Nursing

“My veterinary nursing journey started at Hartpury, where I completed an honours degree in Veterinary Nursing Science. I then worked as a Registered Veterinary Nurse in small animal before developing an interest in veterinary nurse education.

“I joined Hartpury as a Lecturer in Veterinary Nursing in 2008 and completed a Postgraduate Certificate in Education. After several years as a Programme Manager, I progressed to Associate Head of Department in 2016. I completed a postgraduate diploma, followed by an MSc in Companion Animal Behaviour Counselling at the University of Southampton.

“I currently sit on the committee for the Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors (APBC) as Treasurer, also contributing to the Veterinary Liaison sub-committee.”

Lizzie Atkins - Lecturer in Veterinary Nursing

“Having completed a BSc (Hons) Equine Science at Hartpury, I spent four years working at a small equine veterinary practice based in Wales. With a keen interest to develop my nursing skills further, I moved to a large equine referral hospital in Hampshire where I worked for 13 years and gained my equine veterinary nursing qualification.

“My roles within the hospital were primarily in radiography, emergency, theatre nursing and clinical coaching of junior nurses. I joined Hartpury University as a Lecturer in Veterinary Nursing at the end of 2016 and completed a Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education with FHEA status at UWE in 2017.

“I teach across the Postgraduate Advanced Equine Veterinary NursingBSc (Hons) Veterinary nursing and Diploma in Professional Studies Veterinary Nursing courses. My interests lie within all aspects of equine veterinary care, and I am currently studying a master’s in Applied Equine Science.”

Lizzie Bradley-Covey - Lecturer in Veterinary Nursing

“I qualified in 2013 from the University of Bristol. My first job was at Highcroft Veterinary Referrals in Bristol where I worked with a range of first opinion, referral and exotic cases.

“After that, my interest in emergency and critical care took me back to Langford Veterinary School where I worked as a core ICU nurse for six years and completed my Vets Now certificate in Emergency and Critical Care. I became head nurse in 2020, and have provided CPD for Central CPD, webinars for The Webinar Vet and been published in The Veterinary Nurse magazine.

“I joined the teaching team at Hartpury in 2022 as a Lecturer in Veterinary Nursing. At home I have two small humans, two small dogs, a cat with pituitary dwarfism (so, also small) and an average sized tortoise.”

Suzy Harniman - Senior Lecturer and Programme Manager

“I’m a Registered Equine Veterinary Nurse and have worked in the veterinary industry for around 15 years. I have keen interest in surgical nursing and prior to joining the Hartpury Veterinary Nursing department in 2014, was the Senior Equine Theatre Nurse at a large mixed practice.

“I’m currently a Senior Lecturer and the Programme Manager for the BSc (Hons) Veterinary Nursing and BSc (Hons) Equine Veterinary Nursing programmes. I teach across a range of veterinary nursing modules covering subjects include surgical nursing, anaesthesia and pharmacy management. I also have a master's degree in education.”

Hannah Chial - Lecturer in Veterinary Nursing

“I qualified from the University of Bristol in 2017 as a small animal veterinary nurse and since then have worked in first opinion small animal practices within the Bristol area. Shortly after qualifying, I became a Deputy Head Nurse and developed a keen interest in anaesthesia and feline nursing. I also completed the IFSM Postgraduate Certificate in Feline Nursing whilst in this role, and acquired a passion for teaching whilst working as a clinical coach to numerous students.

“I joined the teaching team at Hartpury in 2021 as a Junior Lecturer, am now a Lecturer in Veterinary Nursing and will shortly complete my Academic Professional Apprenticeship. I occasionally locum in the Bristol area to maintain up-to-date practice knowledge.”

Lauren Bennett - Lecturer in Veterinary Nursing and Clinical Placement Support Tutor

“Deciding on a change of career, I trained via the diploma route graduating in 2016. Since then, I've gained a Certificate in Feline Nursing, a BSc (Hons) Veterinary Nursing and Advanced Diploma in Small Animal Veterinary Nursing with my final dissertation going on to be published in a veterinary nursing journal.

“I worked in a variety of small animal and referral hospitals in Cheshire and the north west before working at the University of Liverpool as an ICU nurse. Working at Liverpool University piqued my interest in teaching and preceded my move to Hartpury University to take up the role of Lecturer and Clinical Placement Support Tutor. Whilst at Hartpury I have also gained my PGCertHE and FHEA status.

“My interests lie heavily in animal law, ethics and welfare with a focus on veterinary ethics, policy and legislation.”

Izzy Riley - Lecturer in Veterinary Nursing and Programme Manager

“I initially qualified as a Registered Veterinary Nurse working in equine practice before deciding to move into small animal and mixed practice work. During my time as a junior lecturer I also locumed in a range of small animal practices. I have a BSc (Hons) Equine Veterinary Nursing and since qualifying, have gained an MRes Animal Behaviour and Welfare.

“I have worked at Hartpury for almost seven years and am currently a Lecturer and Programme Manager for the Diploma in Professional Studies Veterinary Nursing and Equine Veterinary Nursing courses. I currently teach across a range of subjects including diagnostic imaging, ethical animal breeding and volunteering for veterinary nurses.”

Carol Gray - Lecturer in Veterinary Nursing and Member of Hartpury Research and Knowledge Exchange Committee

“I qualified many years ago in veterinary medicine. After several years in small animal practice, I moved into animal science and veterinary nurse education, then into veterinary education, specialising in professional and communication skills teaching.

“I gained a Postgraduate Certificate in Medical Education, then an MA in Medical Ethics and Law. I followed this up with a PhD exploring consent to veterinary treatment in 2019. I started at Hartpury in September 2021, with responsibility for postgraduate veterinary nursing.

“My areas of research interest include shared decision-making for animal patients, research ethics and contextualised care. I am an honorary veterinary surgeon for North West English Springer Spaniel Rescue.”

If you’re interested in a career in Veterinary Nursing or are already a Registered Veterinary Nurse and you are interested in postgraduate study, then why not come along to an open day where we’ll be able to give you more information about the programmes we offer at Hartpury.