Agria Pet Insurance is delighted to announce the winners of the much-anticipated Northern Ireland Veterinary Nursing Awards!

These prestigious awards, now in their third year, recognise individuals in the industry who go beyond the call of duty and make a real difference to the animals they care for.

Organised by Susie Hill, Business Development Manager at Agria Pet Insurance, together with support from BVNA Regional Representative, Louise Patterson and the Association of Practitioners in Northern Ireland (AVSPNI), the awards have rapidly become a real highlight of the veterinary calendar in Northern Ireland.

Those nominated were put forward for consistently going above and beyond their job description to make a compassionate, positive and significant impact to the animals they care for, the owners they interact with, and their colleagues. The record number of nominations received for the 2020 awards, including for the new category, NI Rehoming and Charity Champion of the Year, reflects the passion and commitment within the industry.

The quality of the entries meant that judging was harder than ever – and this year, due to Covid 19, had to be done virtually – with the usual awards evening now planned for mid-October. Judges representing Agria, BVNA, and AVSPNI commented on the high quality of the nominations from practices all over NI, from Enniskillen to Newtonards. After much deliberation, they have announced the winners as follows:

NI Veterinary Nurse of the Year
Catherine Morris, Gortlands Veterinary Clinic, Belfast

Catherine’s nomination commends her for her special qualities. “She has been a shining example to our practice team of resilience, of not complaining and never giving up. Despite difficult setbacks she always puts her patients first. She has never compromised her level of care and she holds her head high as a fully qualified RVN.”

Special Award for Mentoring
Claire McConaghy, Firmount Veterinary Clinic, Antrim

A special award was made in this category to Claire for being, “An incredible nurse, clinical coach, great friend and a role model.”

NI Student Nurse of the Year
Caoimhe Moor, City Vets - Kennedy Centre, Belfast

Caoimhe’s nominations include many accolades from the teams she works with. “She is a hardworking student and a valued team member who can be relied on to take control on the busiest of day. We laugh a lot and sometimes cry. I admire her dedication and commitment to this profession.”

NI Animal Nursing Assistant of the Year Alison Marshall, Oldstone Vets, Ballymena

Alison is singled out as an “Outstanding animal nursing assistant for her depth of knowledge, her reassuring confidence handling clients and their pets, and for being a positive team player of great ability.” “She is the most positive person I know.”

NI Veterinary Receptionist of the Year
Natasha McIlhatton, City Vets - Kennedy Centre, Belfast

“Because she’s awesome! Always bubbly and very helpful.”
This sums up the many nominations received from City Vets pet owners giving examples of Natasha’s caring and sensitive approach.

NI Rehoming and Charity Champion of the Year SJ Gibson, Glenn Veterinary Clinic, Bangor

This is a new category for 2020 with the quality of nominations giving the judges a real challenge. The award is for a person working in any role in practice involved in recue and rehoming activities.

“SJ lives and breathes saving dogs. I am in awe of her energy and motivation. She is sunshine in human form. We truly value SJ and to work with her and to know her is a privilege.”

Organiser of the awards, Susie, from Agria Pet Insurance comments, “The current crisis has not impacted on the strength and depth of this year’s nominations. It is so great to see the heart-warming and so well-deserved recommendations from vets, nurses and pet owners.”

“It’s disappointing not to have had the AVSPNI Spring Conference take place where we usually present these awards, however, we will hold a celebration for our amazing winners as soon as we are out of lockdown and can guarantee our safety.”

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