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City and Islington College

Dawn Platten and Stacey ClarkeThanks to an application submitted by Course Manager Dawn Platten RVN, City and Islington College is one of four recipients of a 2011 Spencer-Hill Equipment (SHE) Grant. The grant will allow the College to purchase a K9 CPR ‘Jerry’ Manikin which benefits their students who are studying a Level 3 Diploma in Veterinary Nursing (Advanced Apprenticeship).

Photo above: from left to right, Dawn Platten and Stacey Clarke (Trainee Animal Technician).

ChameleonCity and Islington College received provisional approval from the RCVS as a Veterinary Nurse Training Centre on the 5 January 2012. The College is the only provider of a veterinary nursing apprenticeship based in central London, and has a dedicated animal centre, housing a range of exotic animals, enabling nursing students to gain experience of handling and general husbandry of these animals. We took a journey to the other side of London to meet Dawn and find out more.

Photo above: Pinocchio the chameleon, one of the many exotic animals on site.

“City and Islington has filled a gap. In the past, there was reluctance for practices in London to send their staff for nurse training due to the distance to the closest nurse training centers.”

Dawn Platten RVN, Course Manager, City and Islington College

Why did you apply for an RCVS Charitable Trust Equipment grant?

Being new to teaching veterinary nursing we needed to create a practical facility. Most of the equipment we have purchased is brand new, including a fully adjustable theatre table, double scrub sink, stainless steel cages and fully fitted dispensary.

We used our financial allocation for the set up of the veterinary nursing course and, although we have purchased some toy dogs, cats and rabbits to allow students to develop their practical skills, we had not yet purchased any manikins.

Have the changes to government spend affected the College?

In the current economic climate, everyone is tightening their belts. The College is able to purchase all the equipment it needs, but special extras like this manikin can be difficult to obtain.

What is a ‘Jerry’ Manikin? 

It has working lungs and an artificial pulse built to teach mouth-to-snout resuscitation. It allows students to learn how to deal with a patient who has stopped breathing and whose heart has stopped (crash patient). Through the use of the manikin, student nurses are given the opportunity to learn in a simulated and safe environment.

The manikin will be used for other training opportunities, including application of dressings and bandages and positioning for veterinary procedures. The manikin has an I/V trainer, so students can practice catheter placement. We will apply bandages and splints also.

“I remember dealing with a crash patient when I was a student nurse. I had never had any training on how to deal with the situation apart from a lecture. I found it very frightening to think that this animal was in my care and I was responsible for whether it lived or not. All I really had was a few bits of paper to back me up. It was because of this that I thought it was really important that the students practise and hone their skills before they are put in a similar situation.”

Dawn Platten RVN, Course Manager, City and Islington College

The Trust would like to continue to help colleges such as City and Islington, but we rely on donations and legacy gifts.  What would you say to potential donors who might consider contributing to these equipment grants?

This is a great idea, particularly for those in the profession to help colleges produce practical staff for the future.

What advice would you give to other colleges who may be considering applying for a grant?

I would advise other colleges to apply. Anything that helps produce really good quality nurses is worth it.

Did you find any obstacles to applying?  

No, application was straightforward and easy. I knew what I wanted and the communication from the Trust staff was excellent, guiding me to the potential amount of the fund we may receive.

Did you get any advice from colleagues?

I share my office with staff members who teach human optics. They thought it was very funny that I wanted to order a ‘dog with lungs’.

Could you fund an Equipment Award?

The RCVS Knowledge has been making these important equipment awards to veterinary schools over many years – thanks to the generosity of donors including a significant gift from Frances Spencer-Hill back in the 1970’s.   It is a great example of just how far a legacy can reach over the years - to keep on giving 30 years later!

If you want to know about making named gifts to support our current and future grant programmes, please email us at grants@rcvsknowledge.org, or call 020 7202 0714.

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Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons Trust (trading as RCVS Knowledge) is a registered Charity No. 230886
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