Linnaeus Regional MD Swaps Meetings For The Shop Floor

Davies Veterinary Specialists

Client Care, Directors, HR, Pet Owners, Veterinary Professionals

9th March 2023

The importance of patient care assistants has been highlighted by a regional managing director at a leading veterinary group who swapped meetings and a life on the road for the shop floor.

Yvonne Hignell is regional MD for referral in the East of the UK at Linnaeus, including responsibility for for London Vet Specialists, Dick White Referrals, Davies Veterinary Specialists and Southfields Veterinary Specialists, which last year moved to a new £16 million animal hospital in Basildon.

In a novel move, Yvonne recently put in full day shifts working alongside PCAs at DWR, Davies and Southfields to experience the day-to-day work carried out by the centre’s teams.

Regional MD spends a shift on the frontline working alongside patient care assistants.

Previously, as hospital director at DWR, Yvonne took on board the importance of understanding the everyday experiences of people working at the sharp end of care provision and found ways to give them extra support, whether through resources, equipment or helping them grow as individuals.

Now, as eastern regional managing director with Linnaeus, Yvonne is keen to replicate that experience within her region and has made a personal commitment to work alongside the teams on the frontline at least once a quarter.

Yvonne said: “It was a great experience and the PCA teams were so welcoming and kind.

“My three days working as a PCA was also physically shattering but gave me a real insight, as they work across every part of the hospital.

“I was also able to have some open and frank conversations, and I learned a lot. The PCAs I met were very committed, highly-skilled people who can add real value if given the autonomy and empowered to take on additional tasks.”

During her time as a PCA, Yvonne cleaned 18 kennels and six wards, walked 12 dogs, spent 27 hours on her feet, completed 40,000 steps and had two dogs use her as a bean bag among other things.

She will also use her time as a PCA to report her findings and recommendations back to the senior leadership team at Linnaeus, with support from Trish Scorer, the group’s lead student experience manager.

Ranking high among those findings is the ability to think creatively as to how better utilise PCAs for their own personal development, as well as how they can better support the nurses and others they work with.

Yvonne also said it was key to recognise not every PCA wants to be a nurse and, in fact, may want to progress within their current role, so formalising career pathways to help them achieve their goals is another item high on the agenda.

Yvonne will also highlight the importance of treating PCAs as equals in an eco-system where every part needs to flourish for the whole to thrive. This includes simple gestures such as recognising small acts that make life easier for everyone.

She said: “PCAs keep hospitals ticking. The ones I met loved their jobs, working with the animals and learning about clinical work.

“They also want more responsibility, challenge and autonomy in their role, which will benefit them and everyone they work with,” added Yvonne, herself an animal lover who owns three dogs and keeps hens.

After working as a PCA, next stop in Yvonne’s back to the shop floor improvement mission is working front-of-house in reception.

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