Being a Clinical Coach – The Benefits

2 vets with a white dog

Jane Davidson RVN veterinary-nurses, career zone

For every student, there is a clinical coach. As we want to increase the number of SVN’s then we will need to see an increase in Clinical coaches too. Yes, you can have more than one student vet nurse as a clinical coach but it’s better to spread the workload – and remember you sign up as a training ”practice”, not as a training “person”.

I feel it’s very important to say that not all RVN’s or MRCVS’ want to be a clinical coach. That’s fine. Forcing people to take on this role rarely goes well. But you could sell the idea to people….


What do you gain from being a Clinical Coach?

Being a clinical coach can help you improve your own skills. You need to be organised and plan your time and the student’s time. It can be another great avenue for CPD, a move from a clinical focus to coaching and mentoring skills. You learn so much about yourself when doing this type of work it’s of great benefit to you personally and the team.

There’s nothing like someone asking questions about your clinical skills to make you improve your own skills. What is the latest on skin prep for surgery? Does your SOP for kennel cleaning have an evidence base? It’s a great reason to use the student’s access to knowledge and training to review your practices and make sure you are happy with your patient care.

The ‘R’ word is an important consideration for all of us. Reflection can be hard for some people but you will be glad to hear that there is evidence that those who supervise others find their skills and reflection are improved. You work with the student’s reflection and this helps your own.

Clients also adore the fact they are with a practice that trains students. They love to hear about the training process and the care taken of their pets. They understand that training means there is supervision and this is good for patient care. Lately, I’ve seen more practices announcing students qualifying on their practice social media – a great marketing tool if you want to be cynical – but also a great way to celebrate the team that created the basis for success.


What do you do as Clinical Coach?

Are you coming round to the idea? Possibly? What do you actually do?

I’ll add my twist to the way Ali Heywood – course director at College of West Anglia – describes it. I think of it as the 3 P’s. Be prepared to be: –


  • Being sensible and reasonable and honest about the SVN’s practical skills



  • Be able to spend time with the SVN on their practical skills
  • Have the skills to work with clinical skill as from start of training to Day One skills



  • Ali says be your students’ cheerleader – I think of waving pom-poms!
  • Including them in the team
  • Ensuring their needs are included in team plans


With the benefits you get as Clinical Coach, is it that much of a task?

Come on, join in.

To discuss our latest clinical coach roles please call us on 01423 701 321 or email us

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