Veterinary Nursing Conference


When: Sunday, June 9th 2024.
Location: Ballarat Golf Club – Main Function Room
Address: 1800 Sturt Street, Alfredton, Vic, 3355
Food: Morning/Afternoon tea and lunch are provided.
Cost: $85.00 inc GST
Time: 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Arrival: 8:30 am registration for 9:00 am start.

Sponsored By:

Ballarat Veterinary Practice

History of Ballarat Veterinary Practice

Boehringer Ingelheim

History of Ballarat Veterinary Practice


History of Ballarat Veterinary Practice


History of Ballarat Veterinary Practice


History of Ballarat Veterinary Practice

Eden Hills

History of Ballarat Veterinary Practice


Time Details
9:00 am – 10:00 am Speaker: Natalie Mathews RVN (BVP)
Subject: Wildlife.
Title: Injured wildlife: The legalities and basic nursing care.
10:00 am – 11:00 am Speaker: Lucy Tofts BBiolSc, AssocDegVN, RVN (BVP)
Subject: Emergency & Triage.
Title: Emergency and the art of triage.
11:00 am – 11:15 am Morning Break
11:15 am – 12:15 am Speaker: Dr Fiona McConnell BVSC (Hons) GradCertVS, GradCertBus Admin, MANZCVS (Small animal dentistry and oral surgery) (Idexx)
Subject: Clotting Profiles.
Title: The clot thickens: Insights into coagulopathies for veterinary nurses.
12:15 am – 1:15 pm Speaker: Sophie Drew (CEVA)
Subject: Managing Stress.
Title: Calming techniques in canine and feline inpatients.
1:15 pm – 2:00 am Lunch Break
2:00 pm – 3:00 pm Speaker: Johlene van Eyk DVN, CertVNECC (BVP)
Subject: Pain Management.
Title: Analgesia: A vet nurse’s perspective.
3:00 pm – 4:00 pm Speaker: Dr Alex Hung BSc (Hons), DVM (Hills)
Subject: Nutrition.
Title: GI Nutrition: Beyond Chicken and Rice.
4:00 pm – 4:15 pm Afternoon Break
4:15 pm – 4:45 pm Speaker: Sarah Ramsden VN & Rachelle Wilson (Eden Hills)
Subject: Grief and Wellness.
Title: Details Soon.
4:45 pm – 5:00 pm Raffle & Prizes

Program Summary:



This session will explore the legalities of looking after injured wildlife in Australia, focusing specifically on Victorian regulations for veterinary clinics and their support staff. It will provide the basics for providing veterinary care to wildlife within the clinic, including appropriate housing and feeding whilst in our care.


Emergency and the art of triage:

This session will explore the fundamentals of triage, how we prioritise emergencies and assess patients, using the primary and secondary survey.

From providing first aid over the phone to arrival at the clinic, this talk aims to provide the specifics of handling various, common emergencies we see in clinic to enhance confidence and preparedness of the team in critical situations.


The clot thickens: Insights into coagulopathies for veterinary nurses:

When pets lose the ability to clot their blood appropriately, it is an emergency and can be life threatening. Veterinary nurses have an essential role in the monitoring and treatment of these pets, who often require multiple days of hospitalization, repeat testing and careful handling.

In this talk, we will review normal haemostasis (how the body stops bleeding) and consider common conditions which disrupt this process such as snake envenomation, rodenticide poisoning and platelet disorders. We will look at the different diagnostic tests available, deepening your understanding of how we monitor bleeding disorders and increasing your confidence in dealing with these cases.


Calming techniques in canine and feline patients:

Many patients we see within clinic display signs of stress and anxiety. This talk focuses on a range of products and techniques for reduction of anxiety, such as the use of the calming thunder works range, and CEVAs calm clinic program.

We will look at techniques and tasks that can be performed to lower the stress of patients alongside product use, as well as how the calm program can help lower inpatient stress. The discussion will also address the importance of pheromones, what they are and how they work in relation to behaviour and how to put it all together.


Analgesia: A vet nurses perspective:

In this lecture, we will cover the basic physiology behind pain and how the 4 pain pathways operate within the body. This will include using these pathways as a vet nurse to understand the analgesic and anaesthetic drug choices when managing pain in our patients. We will also utilize pain-scoring techniques to improve patient analgesic regimes and patient care.


GI Nutrition: Beyond chicken and rice:

This presentation discusses the different nutritional approaches to managing diseases of the gastrointestinal tract and when each dietary approach should be used. The presentation will discuss the main types of gastrointestinal diets: highly digestible, low fat, increased fibre, and low allergen.


Grief and Wellness:

This presentation has a focus on wellness, looking at compassion fatigue and burnout , what these are and how they may occur.  As we may come across a lot of grief and difficulties working within a veterinary clinic, it is important to acknowledge stressors and find healthy and manageable ways to deal with them.   This talk will help provide you with the tools to help manage these and referencing for making your career a sustainable one.


Natalie Matthews VN

Natalie started in the veterinary industry 10 years ago after starting her Certificate 4 in veterinary nursing. During this time, she volunteered at Currumbin Wildlife Hospital to learn how to help care for Australian wildlife. After completing her Certificate 4 she stayed in the general practice clinic, where she had an interest in surgery, especially for orthopaedic surgery.

She became head nurse here, managing a small hospital team on the Gold Coast. After 5 years she moved on to the Animal Welfare League Community Clinic in a busy clinic where she was able to expand her experience in a busy hospital, learning more about emergency care, and is currently a Clinical Team Leader at the Lucas branch of Ballarat Veterinary Practice.

Lucy Tofts BBiolSc AssocDegVN, RVN

Lucy started in the veterinary industry 7 years ago after completing a Bachelor of biological sciences at La Trobe university, majoring in Zoology and Animal health.

After completing an associate degree in vet nursing, she has worked in general practice across Melbourne and Ballarat. She is currently a Clinical Team leader at the Ballarat Veterinary Practice and earlier this year was awarded the VNCA Helen Power Future Leader scholarship. She is RECOVER certified in basic life support and has special interest in emergency, critical care and surgical nursing. She is a proud member of the VNCA and is an AVNAT registered veterinary nurse.

Dr Fiona McConnell BVSC (Hons) GradCertVS, GradCertBus Admin, MANZCVS (Small animal dentistry and oral surgery)

Dr Fiona McConnell has worked for IDEXX since 2022 as a Professional Services Veterinarian. In this role, she provides medical support and education to veterinary teams throughout Australia. She is passionate about supporting the wellbeing of both pets and people, through diagnostic pathology and workflow solutions.

Having graduated from the University of Queensland in 2001 with a Bachelor of Veterinary Science degree (with honours), she brings to this role over twenty years of clinical experience. She has completed postgraduate certificate qualifications in both Veterinary Studies and Business Administration and was awarded membership by examination to the Australian College of Veterinary Scientists in 2018 (Small animal dentistry and oral surgery).

Sophie Drew (CEVA)

Sophie started in the Veterinary industry 18 years ago, working in pathology as a contract manager where she managed the notifiable disease testing carried out by the Department of Primary Industries across Victoria. She spent many years working in a laboratory before hanging up the lab coat for a set of scrubs when she began veterinary nursing at a busy small animal practice on the Mornington Peninsula.

Sophie then went on to work for a veterinary wholesaler before joining the team at Ceva in 2022 as a Victorian/Tasmanian territory manager. She has completed further education in behaviour and stress for animals in the clinic. She has extensive knowledge of CEVA products and their uses, as well as low-stress handling and ways to reduce stress for cats and dogs in practice.

Johlene van Eyk DVN, CertVNECC

Johlene graduated in 2018 from the University of Pretoria, South Africa, with a Diploma in Veterinary Nursing. Upon graduation, she started her career working as a rotating nurse in a busy specialist referral hospital. This busy environment allowed for exposure in all aspects pertaining to the veterinary nursing field, from emergency to surgical to diagnostic nursing. This is also where she discovered her love for emergency and intensive care nursing. 

In mid-2021, she immigrated to Townsville, where she jumped into general practice and has since completed further studies in rehabilitation and emergency and critical care medicine. Then in August 2023 she joined the Ballarat Veterinary practice team, where she is a clinical team leader at the Wendouree Veterinary Clinic and has recently graduated with a certificate in emergency and critical care.

Dr Alex Hung BSc (Hons), DVM

Alex graduated with a degree in Animal Biology and Nutritional and Nutraceutical Science in Canada which initially sparked his interest in the field of animal nutrition. He then ventured to the land down under, graduating from the University of Sydney with a Doctor in Veterinary Medicine.

While working as an associate veterinarian in a busy fast-paced hospital in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney, he is now also a technical vet for Hill’s for New South Wales, Victoria and the ACT.

Rachelle Wilson

Rachelle is a professional sales manager with Eden Hills and has a demonstrated history and passion for working in the veterinary industry. Rachelle has over 20 years experience and is skilled in Veterinary Medicine, Pharmaceuticals, Key Account Management, Business Planning, Sales, Market Planning and execution, Sales Operations and Team Leadership. 

Sarah Ramsden VN

Sarah has worked in the veterinary industry for close to 10 years. She has worked in several general practices in Melbourne as a veterinary nurse as well as a veterinary pharmaceutical wholesaler. Sarah joined Edenhills in 2022  as the Victorian relationship manager and takes great pleasure in further educating the community around aftercare for pets and supporting our wonderful vet industry.


Veterinary Nursing Conference Registration

An invoice will be emailed to you once registration has been received.