Assessing the landscape of quality improvement in the veterinary profession

Dr Tom LingDr Tom Ling, Head of Evaluation and Senior Research Leader at RAND Europe, introduces the landscape assessment of quality improvement he and his team have been commissioned to undertake by RCVS Knowledge.

Noone in a caring profession wants to do a bad job and we all care about the quality of the work we do. The question is not about professional motivation, but about how best to organise the profession to deliver improving care and provide the best possible care for animals.

Until recently, improving quality in the veterinary profession involved ensuring that professionals are kept up to date with new treatments and diagnostics, discussing practice with peers, mentoring new recruits and, of course, learning from experience.

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Clinical audits – a veterinary nurse’s perspective

Lou the Vet NurseLou the Vet Nurse tells us why she finds clinical audits so useful, and how you can follow in her footsteps.

At first you might think of a clinical audit and automatically think ‘boring’! However, the evidence and data it brings can be extremely useful and interesting in practice when it comes to improving clinical standards. This is also a great way of performing surveillance and trouble-shooting problems.

Two years ago I took on the role of Clinical Nurse Lead within my practice. At first we did not know what this would entail, but having now developed the position, my current duties include:

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Quality Improvement and the NHS: Lessons for Vets

Dr Bill TaylorDr William Taylor of the Royal College of General Practitioners takes us through the successes and struggles accompanying the implementation of quality improvement in human healthcare.

The majority of people that work in a caring profession wish to improve the quality of care they provide. This is equally true for GPs and vets but how to do this can be a subject for debate.

The Juran trilogy helps separate three different components of quality, quality planning, quality control and quality improvement (QI). Quality planning can be defined as a process for designing and organising services that meet new goals and ensure that patient needs are met. Quality control includes national inspection through to local practice/practitioner evaluation and peer group review.

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Building a learning culture: how quality improvement can help

Catherine Oxtoby of The Veterinary Defence Society (VDS) tells us about the importance of asking ‘what’ is responsible for outcomes rather than ‘who’, and how quality improvement can help us achieve it. VDS

‘The more you react to failure, the less you will understand it.’ So says Sidney Dekker, one of the world’s most vocal advocates of ‘Just Culture’ in relation to human error in multiple industries.

The emotional response to failure is completely natural but it also often obscures important truths. It focuses on the person, blaming the individual and using words like sloppy, careless and inattentive. Just Culture is about understanding why someone made a mistake; seeing past the person, to the system which shaped their behaviour. It’s about learning from failure. The more we react, the less we learn.

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Is quality your cup of tea?

TeaHead of Projects at RCVS Knowledge, Kathleen Reinoga, introduces us to the concept of ‘quality’ in the veterinary context and how it underpins our Quality Improvement Project.

Quality is a word we can associate with many parts of our life; it can mean different things to different people.

Quality is a key factor when making a decision, like buying a well-made pair of boots that you know will last four times as long as your last pair. Maybe it’s a quality cup of tea, when everything comes together perfectly and you can finally relax with your hands around a hot brew.

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