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Quality Improvement Awards
The RCVS Knowledge Awards for Quality Improvement showcase the implementation of recognised Quality Improvement (QI) techniques that drive improvement within the profession that aim to lead to better outcomes (either clinical or non-clinical), better care, and better learning
"Winning this award and being given a chance to celebrate our success has been a huge part of helping us to bond as a team"
Lesley Moore RVN, Vets Now Macclesfield - 2019 Knowledge Award Champion Practice
About the awards
What are the awards for?
The RCVS Knowledge Awards for Quality Improvement showcase the implementation of recognised Quality Improvement (QI) techniques that drive improvement within the profession that aim to lead to better outcomes (either clinical or non-clinical), better care, and better learning. This is achieved through adopting measurable and systematic approaches.
The awards aim to recognise individuals and teams who are driving continuous improvements within the profession. Applications must demonstrate how recognised QI techniques have been used to achieve measurable achievements in their area of work, with a focus in the categories:
- Animal welfare
- Client care
- Effective care
- Efficient care
- Timely care
- Safe care
- In addition, the Education category recognises the achievements of students who show how they have used QI techniques as part of their education and educators who demonstrate how they are teaching QI techniques to better equip students for practice, and the impact this is having.
Applications could encompass a strategic approach across a large practice group or across a geographical area or be a very specific project for a team or individual.
Who is eligible for the awards?
The awards are open to anyone within the veterinary industry and veterinary education field. This includes those from a practice setting, for example, from the administration team, veterinary nurses, practice managers, and surgeons at all levels.
Applicants can apply as an individual or as part of a team.
We encourage under- and post-graduate educators or learners/students who enhance the awareness and development of QI skills in the veterinary and veterinary nursing professions to enter.
We welcome applications from those who have previously applied for the awards, either with updates to previous QI projects, or details of new QI projects.
What will my application be assessed against?
Applications are blinded and assessed by a panel of reviewers. The panel uses the following criteria to score applications. All applications must have the best interests of animal health and welfare at its heart.
The application should be well articulated and should demonstrate:
- Passion for continuous QI and encouraging and championing the use of recognised QI techniques to monitor changes and make improvements in their chosen initiative.
- Good technical application of QI techniques in practice, or:
- The teaching of QI techniques to better equip students for practice and the impact this is having (Education category).
- How QI is embedded as part of business-as-usual (it is “the way we do things”, rather than an add-on to the day job).
- The use of evidence-based approaches.
- A completed audit cycle as defined by the RCVS Knowledge Audit cycle and use RCVS Knowledge resources.
Evidence of improvement e.g. data from clinical audit, client surveys, team feedback, etc.
A culture that is conducive to improvement, including:
- A learning culture that shows how the team works together for safer ways to deliver care.
- Leadership for a whole team.
We are particularly interested in applications that are on a different topic to previous submissions or show a novel approach compared to one set out on a topic that has been submitted before.
The case example, which is included as part of the application, should inspire others within the veterinary professions toward a culture of continuous Quality Improvement.
What happens if my application is selected as a winner?
Successful applicants will become Knowledge Awards winners and have the opportunity to work with RCVS Knowledge to promote and share their experiences in Quality Improvement. This promotion might include presenting at a conference, sharing experiences through our blog, podcasts, and interviews, and even publishing their findings in a journal such as Veterinary Evidence.
Knowledge Awards winners will receive a £250 prize and may be invited to attend an awards ceremony (either online or in-person) and will be reimbursed up to £200 towards reasonable travel costs to attend the event at which this ceremony is held. If a winning application was made for a practice/organisation – rather than an individual – then the £250 prize will be paid to the practice and a representative will be invited to attend the awards ceremony.
Read the RCVS Knowledge Awards Terms and Conditions for more information.
"The RCVS Knowledge Awards inspired and motivated me to learn from the results, share my knowledge and encourage other practices to do the same."
Abi Redfearn, Rosemullion Veterinary Practice - 2023 Knowledge Award Champion Practice
How to apply
The Quality Improvement Award application process is made up of two sections. The first section collects key data and a summary of your initiative via an online form. The second section is where you will attach and upload your case example. Your application should be submitted using the case example template.
To help understand the broader benefit that our QI work is achieving, applicants are asked to categorise their applications. Applications must demonstrate how recognised QI techniques have been used to achieve measurable improvements in these areas. Initiatives may encompass more than one category. If this is the case, we ask you to select the category that is most applicable:
- Animal welfare
- Client care
- Effective care
- Efficient care
- Timely care
- Safe care
You should receive an automatic confirmation message once the submission is successful. If you do not receive this, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
All applicants should read the RCVS Knowledge Awards Terms and Conditions before applying.
"We're really delighted to receive this RCVS Knowledge Award. This award is important to us because it demonstrates that RVNS can lead in innovation and be perfect champions for all aspects of clinical governance and evidence-based practice"
Perdi Welsh, Royal Veterinary College - 2023 Knowledge Award Champion (Education)
Applications must be received by 12th January 2024.
Winners will be notified in July 2024.
2023 Knowledge Award Quality Improvement Champions
David Charles, from Scarsdale Vets, part of the IVC Evidensia Farm Vets group, carried out an audit across a number of practices within the UK to collect baseline data on ovine lambings and caesareans. David introduced training and how-to guides, used SMART goals and put several recommendations on the provision of analgesia, selection and use of antibiotics and the use of adjunctive medications in place for the team to follow. The strong adoption of the recommendations across the practices resulted in a reduction in prophylactic antibiotic use, with improved use of local anaesthetics and the provision of analgesia.
Leanne McLoed from Earlswood Veterinary Hospital introduced a hypothermia audit with a focus on pre-warming patients before general anaesthesia. By introducing new protocols for the provision of passive warming from pre-medication, her team reduced the incidence of hypothermic patients from 100% to 16%.
Rosemullion Veterinary Practice carried out an audit to improve infection control and cleaning methods in clinical and non-clinical areas. By updating protocols and products, providing hand sanitising stations and cleaning materials in high-touch areas and improving training and education, the team significantly decreased the risk of environmental contamination. The project is now being used as an example for other practices.
Royal Veterinary College (RVC) incorporated Quality Improvement (QI) within their post-registration qualifications through a number of measures to help guide students through QI initiatives. These included activities on how to write a Knowledge Summary, plan a clinical audit proposal, how to conduct and reflect on the results of an audit, and group discussion and knowledge sharing sessions. Students have used the teaching and resources to perform audits and QI projects in their practices, submitted to peer review journals and presented at conferences.