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Veterinary Nursing Graduate Wins BVBA Veterinary Studies Award

UCD Veterinary Nursing Graduate Wins BVBA Veterinary Studies Award

Recent graduate of the BSc. Veterinary Nursing programme, Jessica Duignan has won the 2020-21 British Veterinary Behaviour Association (BVBA) Veterinary Studies Award. Jessica entered a submission for this competition as an undergraduate student in the 2019-2020 academic year, but judging was suspended until this year due to COVID-19.

Commenting on her win Jessica said: “I was very surprised to found out I had won as I originally submitted my application over a year ago when I was in the final year of my degree in UCD, just at the beginning of the pandemic. Since then, I have graduated, completed an internship in anaesthesia in the UCD Veterinary Hospital and am currently working in small animal practice. So, when I received an email from Dr. Sandra Nicholson saying I had won I could not quite believe it!”  She also added “Winning this award has helped to remind me to keep going to pursue my dreams of working in the field of animal behaviour. I hope it will open further opportunities to increase my knowledge and skill in animal behaviour so as to better understand and help the animals in my care.”

Jessica has a passion for animal behaviour since getting a first glimpse into the area when she attended a seminar run by an animal behaviourist. Since then, she has studied to become a certified dog trainer and has continued to learn about animal behaviour and science-based training methods both through continued professional development and through her veterinary nursing degree in UCD.

As part of her award application Jessica had to submit a personal statement about animal behaviour and how behaviour is relevant to the veterinary profession. Explaining her submission Jessica said “I wrote about, how, as veterinary professionals, we are constantly reading our patients' body language and observing their behaviour to give us feedback on where the problem might be or how to make them feel more comfortable. The ability to understand animal behaviour is important not only to the physical health of our patients but also to their mental health. Veterinary clinics are often the first port of call for pet owners that are experiencing behavioural problems with their animals and it is our responsibility as professionals to be able to give them the best, most up-to-date, science-based advice and recommendations, including referrals to other professionals in the field such as qualified trainers and behaviourists.”

Jessica also said “I would like to thank Dr. Sandra Nicolson for putting me forward for the award and the support she gave me with my submission. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank everyone both in UCD and beyond who helped me in my studies and continues to help me as I continue my career as a Registered Veterinary Nurse.”

In the future Jessica hopes to complete a Masters in Animal Behaviour and aims to help to incorporate behavioural knowledge further into clinical practice. A massive congratulations to Jessica on this great achievement. 

Contact the UCD School of Veterinary Medicine

UCD Veterinary Sciences Centre, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland.
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