Veterinary Nursing Care Plans Theory and Practice

This book is the first veterinary textbook dedicated to nursing care plans. It offers a broad overview of the theory and practice of care planning in veterinary nursing, answering three key questions:

  • What are nursing care plans?
  • Why should nursing care plans be used in practice?
  • How should nursing care plans be used in practice?

Author Helen Ballantyne provides basic definitions and explanations which will be useful to those unfamiliar with nursing care plans. For those veterinary nurses and technicians who are using nursing care plans, the content stimulates debate and discussion, by covering some of the philosophical and theoretical aspects of nursing and drawing comparisons and contrasts between the veterinary and human nursing roles and contexts.

There is a pressing need for veterinary nurses to establish themselves as professionals and develop their unique role within the veterinary care team. Nursing care plans are a core tool to support that development. It is hoped that veterinary nurses may borrow tools from the pages of this book or use it as a resource design their unique care plans: either way, this practical guide will support the application of care planning, no matter the species of the animal kingdom for whom you are caring.

About The Author

Helen Ballantyne, after graduating with a degree in Pharmacology in 2002, qualified as a veterinary nurse in 2005. Combining her passions for veterinary nursing and travel, she began a 8-year stint as a locum nurse working nationally and internationally, developing experience in referral medicine and surgery, charity practice, emergency nursing and exotics. During this time, she spent five years on the British Veterinary Nursing Association (BVNA) council in a variety of roles, culminating in her being awarded honorary membership in 2016.

In 2013, she qualified as a human-centred nurse taking up a position at the United Kingdom’s largest specialist cardiothoracic hospital, Papworth NHS Foundation Trust. After two years working in intensive care, she moved to the transplant team. Within this role, she supports the ongoing care of patients, pre and post-transplant. She is also a member of the National Organ Retrieval team, on call to facilitate the collection of organs from deceased donors.

Helen remains a Registered Veterinary Nurse and has developed a strong interest in the principles of One Health, supporting collaborative practice between the medical and veterinary professions. She regularly lectures and writes about ideas and ways of working that may be shared between the professions to support clinical and professional practice.

As she goes to work, her friends and family take great delight in asking her, ‘Is it humans or animals today?’

Table of Contents


Chapter 1:

History : When and why were nursing care plans introduced to the vet nursing syllabus?

Historical perspective and development of human centred nursing through the stages of Florence Nightingale, the nursing process, nursing models, care plans, care bundles and specialism.

Equate that with timeline of registration, degree level training.

Link through to veterinary nurses, drawing parallels as introduction of degree level nursing and registration develops.

Examination of how human centred nurses use care plans today.

Ask why we need them for humans or animals and describe documented advantages and disadvantages.

Chapter 2:

The Nursing Process: Assessment / Planning / Intervention / Evaluation

Clinical tools for assessment

Principles of assessment

Importance of evaluating care; Communication skills.

Chapter 3:

Nursing models: Explanation of nursing models in relation to the nursing process and nursing care plans

Description and application to animals of Roper, Logan and Tierney model

Description and application to animals another human centred model.

Chapter 4:

Veterinary nursing care plans: Explanation and evaluation of Orpet and Jeffrey model Literature review of other models used in veterinary practice.

Specialist care plans: Veterinary emergency and critical care plan, Equine care plan Disease / condition specific care plans

Moving specialist areas forward.

Chapter 5:

How to write a care plan.

Chapter 6:

Nursing care plans and the patient: Patient safety / Patient care standards

Empowerment of nurses to advocate for their patients

Link to client care (animal centred care / family centred care)

Use of care plans for billing appropriately.

Chapter 7:

Nursing care plans and the profession: Professional protection – link to documentation of care given

Professional marker, to be able to measure the care that is given

Links to code of conduct from RCVS

Critical thinking, ensuring that care is thought out, not given just according to the document

Evidence of CPD link.

Chapter 8:

Nursing care plans and education: Student nurse application of care plans

Tools for clinical coaches to implement and teach nursing care plans.

Chapter 9:

Nursing care plans and research: Clinical governance / Clinical audit

Evidence based medicine

Bringing theory to practice.

Chapter 10:

The future – are they useful or not?: Consideration of future of nursing care plan

Care pathways, care bundles

National guidelines for care

Conclusion and drawing together.


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