Our new Client Care Manager is still “living the dream” 25 years after beginning her veterinary career.
Kelly Still has just been promoted to the position having previously been the Business Relationship Manager here at NDSR.
It’s an amazing career progression for someone who started as a trainee vet nurse back in 1998 and whose childhood dream was always to help care for animals.
Kelly explained: “I have always loved animals and always wanted a job working with them, so I volunteered as a Saturday girl at our local vets while I was still at school.
“Everything has followed on from there. I left school and started as a student vet nurse enjoying 13 years working in primary care practices, becoming a head nurse along the way.
“I enjoyed primary care, but I was ambitious to experience what nursing was like at a referral centre where they deal with a lot of serious and challenging cases.
“In 2010, I attended a couple of shadow days at NDSR to experience referral nursing and ascertain the differences in nursing from a primary care level. I was really impressed by the level of responsibility the nursing team had and how much their nursing skills were utilised.
“So, when a nursing position became available there in 2011, offering the chance to work across the various disciplines at the hospital, I applied and was so thrilled to be offered the job.”
Kelly certainly made the most of the opportunity and soon completed her advanced nursing diploma, followed by obtaining a static ward nurse role within Internal Medicine. By 2014, she was working as a ward supervisor and in 2015 had achieved a certificate in emergency and critical care.
Then, in 2018, she made the switch from veterinary nursing to veterinary management when NDSR created the new position of business relationship manager.
Kelly added: “I was looking for an alternative to nursing because, after 20 years of clinical work I wanted to pursue other opportunities.
“I didn’t have to look too far. NDSR’s then-hospital director Terry Emmerson said they were creating a business relationship role requiring the successful candidate to be field based and liaising with referring vets and thought it would suit me perfectly.”
But Kelly admits her promotion to business relationship manager was more a “Sliding Doors” coincidence than a carefully planned and orchestrated advancement.
She revealed: “I saw our hospital manager Josey Killner showing people around and asked her what was happening.
“She informed me they were being interviewed for the role of business relationship manager and I immediately thought, ‘I could do that job!’.
“After five years in the BRM role I wanted to further improve my knowledge within management, so last year I started studying for a post-graduate certificate in veterinary business management.”
At the end of last year, Kelly was approached by hospital director Gerry Polton and Josey, who asked if she would be interested in taking on the client care manager role, meaning she would be returning to working more closely with her colleagues, rather than being field based.
The rest is history and Kelly already has a clear view of how to begin this new chapter of her career story.
“My first move will be to have a one-to-one meeting with every member of the client care team to get to know them better and for them to get to know me better,” she added.
“I want them to be inspirational and motivational meetings where we will discuss how we can co-operate and advance together.
“I’ll also be spending time in each department across client care to observe and better understand the way the team works and interacts with our clients and referring vets, and how we can improve and enhance that experience.
“In all of this, my overall emphasis will be on the importance of clear and effective communication, not just across the client care team but across the whole hospital.
“We are a large hospital dealing with a lot of patients across a wide range of disciplines, so it’s vital we have clarity and consistency in our communications across the board.”
Gerry Polton, Hospital Director at NDSR, said he was delighted to see Kelly’s career progression since joining the hospital and is looking forward to seeing her flourish further.
He said: “I am thrilled that Kelly is now joining our senior leadership team as client care manager. Over the course of her career with NDSR, Kelly has always exceeded expectation in every role she has taken on.
“I know she is determined to embed further improvements in our customer interactions. I am excited about the improvements in service quality I believe Kelly and her team will deliver.”
Kelly Still’s career to-date:
1998 – SVN
2003 – RVN, Primary Care
2006 – Head Nurse, Primary Care
2011 – RVN, Referrals
2013 – Ward Nurse, Internal Medicine
2014 – Ward Supervisor
2018 – Business Relationship Manager
2023 – Client Care Manager
Case Advice or Arranging a Referral
If you are a veterinary professional and would like to discuss a case with one of our team, or require pre-referral advice about a patient, please call 01883 741449. Alternatively, to refer a case, please use the online referral form