Abbeydale Vet Nurse Training was formed in 2001 and provides dedicated teaching and support for Veterinary Nurses and Practices in the Herefordshire, Gloucestershire, Monmouthshire, Worcestershire and South/West Wales regions.

Our team

Abbeydale Director Kirsty Gwynne

Kirsty Gwynne (Director)

RVN Grad DipVN Cert Ed C-SQP IQA OSCE Examiner

Kirsty has been a nurse in practice since 1996. She’s worked in mixed practice and in a dedicated small animal practice as head nurse and assessor.

After being in practice for eight years Kirsty moved into education where she taught on BSc level Veterinary Nursing and Animal Science, FE Veterinary Nursing, Animal Science and Equine programmes. In 2009, Kirsty became a director of AVVT. She still works part time in small animal practice and in a dedicated emergency clinic.

Kirsty holds the RVC Graduate Diploma in Professional Clinical Veterinary Nursing and is a Senior CQ OSCE examiner.

Abbeydale Director Samantha Morgan

Samantha Morgan (Director)

RVN Dip AVN (Medical & Surgical) Cert Ed IQA OSCE Examiner

Sam qualified as a veterinary nurse in 1999, working in both general and referral practice. Since qualifying she’s achieved an advanced diploma in both medical and surgical nursing and a Certificate in Education. Sam began her teaching career in 2007 and has been with AVVT since 2011, becoming a director in 2012.

Sam has also been involved with the BVNA, becoming BVNA president from 2015 to 2017. She continues to work in clinical practice during the summer holidays and is also a senior CQ OSCE examiner.


Hilary Varlow

RVN Dip AVN (Surgical) Dip CABT Cert VNECC

Internal Quality Assurance Lead and Training Practice coordinator

Hilary qualified as a VN in 1994 and has worked in farm, equine and small animal practices enjoying all aspects of veterinary medicine. She has led a team of nurses in a mixed Veterinary Hospital (first opinion and referral) as head nurse and Head of Centre, mentoring many nurses over a 30-year career.

She has completed a Veterinary Defence Society coaching program and is also a Radiation Protection Supervisor, having set up a radioactive iodine unit. Hilary is an OSCE examiner.

Abbeydale placement visitor Maureen Gwynne

Maureen Gwynne

BSc (hons) DN

Maureen worked as a Registered District Nurse and Nurse Prescriber for 30 years and holds a teaching qualification. Maureen provides support to Abbeydale learners in the workplace.


Juliet Whatley


Jules worked as a Registered Veterinary Nurse for many years in both large and small animal practices. Jules has previously taught at Hartpury College where she left after many years to teach English as a foreign language in Sri Lanka following the tsunami. On returning to the UK Jules worked as an external verifier for both the RCVS and City & Guilds.

Jules has been lucky enough to be involved in both the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics and was Chief Steward at the 2016 Rio Paralympics.


Emily Crimmins

RVN (both Small animal and Equine Diploma’s)

Emily qualified as a Registered Veterinary Nurse in 2015 and started her career in a first opinion Equine Practice. She then moved to work in the Theatre and Diagnostic Department of a large Equine Hospital. Whilst she was there she completed her Clinical Coach Training and Equine Veterinary Nursing Top Up Diploma, and also developed a keen interest in teaching. Emily loves all aspects of equine nursing, especially neonatal care, wound management, radiography and emergency.


Kirstie Sherman

DipAVN(Surgical) RVN LCGI

Kirstie qualified in 1999 and has been working in veterinary practice for over 25 years. During her career she has worked in both general and specialist referral practice in clinical and leadership roles. Since qualification, she has attained the RCVS Diploma in Advanced Veterinary Nursing (Surgical), the A1 assessor qualification and achieved a Licentiateship in Veterinary Nursing. Kirstie is a past President of the BVNA (British Veterinary Nursing Association) and served on BVNA Council for 7 years. Currently, Kirstie works part-time in a busy small animal veterinary hospital where she is an active clinical coach and student nurse training coordinator. She is also a CQ OSCE examiner.


Charlotte Prothero


Charlotte worked in a veterinary rehabilitation clinic before qualifying as a veterinary nurse in 2013.  She has worked in an independent small animal practice since 2010.

She has achieved her BVNA oral care certificate and merit award in rehabilitation and physiotherapy and works as a locum RVN alongside teaching. Charlotte is also studying to achieve her IMDT membership and offer dog training services as well as canine first aid. Charlotte has supported students as a clinical coach and runs a human first aid company with her husband. She enjoys doing dog agility with her two German pointers.


Emma Collins


Emma qualified in 2004 and has worked in practice for over 20 years and has experience working with both large and small animals, gaining the A1 qualification. Emma has experience as head nurse, clinical coach and assessor, currently work part time in practice after having children and continue my role as a clinical coach gaining the BVNA certificate in companion animal behaviour, Royal Canin Advanced Pet Health Counsellor and Weight Management Counsellor awards as well as the BNVA oral care nurse qualification, enjoying all aspects of veterinary nursing and the variety it brings.


Olivia Noad FdSc


Olivia qualified as an RVN in 2018 and works in a large first opinion veterinary practice as deputy head nurse and clinical coach. Olivia has a keen interest in in exotic species, completing the Diploma in Veterinary Nursing of Zoological Species and has worked as a volunteer with Animals Aisa Bear Rescue in Vietnam with Moon and Sun Bears. In practice Olivia is also interested in nutrition and nurse consulting.

Abbeydale Laura Bartlett Smith

Laura Bartlett-Smith BSc (Hons)

Office Admin

Laura qualified as a veterinary nurse in 2001 and worked in small animal veterinary practice for several years before moving into veterinary insurance and veterinary practice management. Laura has a love of cats and was key in setting up and running a successful cattery.

Our students

We’re exceptionally proud of all our students. We celebrate their success with them every year at the Central Qualifications graduation ceremony in Westminster’s beautiful Central Hall.

Bethany Willis RVN

Bethany Willis RVN

“I am one of those lucky people who always knew what they wanted to do “when I grew up” - veterinary nursing. October 2019, marks five years of being qualified.

Starting from the age of 14, working weekends, lead on to being offered a job as an VNA straight out of school. I have grown from there, with many tears along the way, doubting myself as I struggled with exams and my dyslexia.

Veterinary nursing is a lot more than it is given credit for. It is tough. It stretches you further than you ever thought you could go, and it proves to you that you are stronger than you ever thought you would be. I have witnessed this since I was 14, when my eyes were opened to people who do what they do because they care.

The teams I have worked with have helped build me into the person I am today, and I have met some of the most important people in my life through this career. I will forever be grateful to so many of them.

I am proud of how far I have come. I work with an amazing team and wonderful people and thank you for all that you do to still make me see that what we do is simply amazing.”

Abbeydale vet nurse training student Hannah Caton

Hannah Caton DipVNA

“When I was young, I always wanted to work with animals but never had the confidence or ever felt I was academic enough. I fell into beauty therapy and after doing this since I was 17 years old, I made the scary decision to change my career and to go for my dream job and work with animals.

I applied for a job as a Veterinary Nursing Assistant and was lucky enough to be successful. I decided to go onto the Veterinary Nursing Assistant Diploma at Abbeydale to gain more confidence and knowledge as an assistant and I can honestly say it was the best path for me. It has helped me gain a real passion for nursing and caring for animals and I could not have done this without the support I had from the lovely tutors at Abbeydale and from the other veterinary nurses I work with. This has led me to set a goal and to continue at Abbeydale and study the Veterinary Nursing Diploma and I hope to become a Registered Veterinary Nurse.”

Poppy James DipVNA

Poppy James DipVNA

"I've wanted to be a veterinary nurse for as long as I can remember. I applied to do an Animal Management course at my local college. Days before starting my course I went through a tragic family event and it took all the motivation out of me. I really struggled, but I did manage to finish the course, just scraping a pass grade. That year at college left me feeling deflated that I wasn’t clever enough to be a veterinary nurse. I had lost all my passion and confidence.

At the age of 26, I asked the vets I was working for part-time if I could start working full-time and just like that, and started the VNA course at Abbeydale. The VNA course helped be gain confidence and better understanding of the job role of a veterinary nurse, I no longer felt overwhelmed in the veterinary environment and my confidence come on leaps and bounds. For the first time, I enjoyed being in education and using the knowledge I was gaining at college, in practice. I finished my VNA course with a Distinction! I compare that with the pass I barely made after leaving college the first time and I’m so proud of how far I’ve come. I've now progressed on to the VN diploma at Abbeydale. The VNA course was a great way to iron out all those confidence issues I gained from my previous experiences and it gave me a great insight into what was expected of me as a student."

Why Study at Abbeydale

There are lots of good reasons to choose Abbeydale as your training provider. We’re a small and friendly team of dedicated and experienced veterinary nurses. Along with our RVN qualifications, we all have teaching qualifications and continue to practice to make sure our clinical skills stay up to date.

You’ll be on a career-focused course that will give you great employment prospects

Our students are highly respected and training with us will help you get your career off to the best possible start. Our course completion and pass rates are consistently well above 90% and are often 100%. Many of our students also progress on to higher qualifications.

You’ll get personal support before, during and after your studies

Enrolling on a course with us will bring you new opportunities and challenges. We’re here to help you every step of the way. We can help you with your initial application and give you advice and support on careers, fees, funding and academic study.

Our programmes are quality assured

We’re committed to giving you the highest quality educational experience. We only deliver the Diploma in Veterinary Nursing, the Veterinary Nursing Assistant Diploma and the apprenticeship for the Diploma in Veterinary Nursing. This focus means we are specialists and you can be confident in both our teaching and the ongoing support we provide.

We’re regularly reviewed and monitored by:

  • The RCVS, the regulatory body for veterinary surgeons and veterinary nurses
  • Central Qualifications, the awarding body for the courses we deliver
  • OFSTED, the government body responsible for the inspection and regulation of educational establishments and training providers

Our excellent student satisfaction

We consistently receive excellent feedback from our students. You can see what some of them have said here.

Our sector-leading teaching excellence

All our tutors are registered veterinary nurses who also have teaching qualifications. They complete mandatory CPD and regularly spend time working in a veterinary practice to make sure their clinical skills stay up to date.

We’ll support you throughout your studies

Our dedicated tutors will support you throughout the course. We have small class sizes so you can be confident you’ll get the attention and guidance you need. We’re also happy to help your training practice with the practical side of the course and answer any questions they many have. As a result, our course completion and pass rates are consistently high and are often at 100%.

You’ll take part in engaging, interactive learning

Each of our tutors delivers a different part of the course so you will have the opportunity to learn from a wide perspective and experience different teaching methods. In particular we’ll help you apply your learning in your clinical practice.

We provide all the course information, including the revision notes, on our Moodle platform so you’ll be able to access it from home or while you’re at work.

Celebrating success

When you’ve completed your course with us and gained your qualification, you’ll be invited to a Central Qualifications graduations ceremony.

This wonderful day is held in Westminster’s beautiful Central Hall. It will give you an opportunity to celebrate your success with your family and friends as you receive your certificate and badge of achievement.

If you’ve completed the Diploma in Veterinary Nursing or the Veterinary Nursing Apprenticeship, you’ll also be invited to the RCVS declaration ceremony. This is an opportunity for you to formally take the following oath:

I promise and solemnly declare that I will pursue the work of my profession with integrity and accept my responsibilities to the public, my clients, the profession and the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, and that, ABOVE ALL, my constant endeavour will be to ensure the health and welfare of animals committed to my care."

From here you can wear your RVN badge with pride as your start your new profession.

Graduation at Abbeydale