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Congratulations Gary Fitzgerald, 2020 Vet Nurse of the Year

Thursday 08, Oct 2020

The VNCA Board is delighted to announce that Gary Fitzgerald has been awarded the prestigious 2020 Vet Nurse of the Year. 

As Nurse Manager at UQ Vets, Gary oversees several sites and supervises, mentors, trains and supports approximately 50 FTE veterinary nurses and technicians. Gary has consistently performed above and beyond the standards expected of him. He never asks his nursing staff to do anything that he would not do himself, resulting in frequently checking in on staff on weekends and at night, and filling shifts when no one else is available. His calm and considered personality is always at the fore and he brings out the best in his colleagues.

Gary works tirelessly to maintain and the monitor processes to ensure a high level of nursing support is provided to clinicians, students and hospital services across the Equine Specialist and Small Animals Hospitals and Production Animal Service. He mentors and heavily contributes to staff development across the three hospitals and ensures there is an environment that supports the nursing staff. He is responsible for nurse staff planning, recruitment, inductions and performance management, and always endeavours to set new staff up to succeed and thrive. Gary juggles staffing schedules to ensure there is optimal use of staff and resources across all hospitals, maintains and improves nursing guidelines continuously through training and formulation of SOPs to help staff achieve their best potential and excels at collaborating with veterinarians and multidisciplinary professional staffs.

Gary works effectively on the management of cultural and process change in the Hospitals and plays a large role in supporting all staff with disorders including mental health issues. He maintains his personal professional and technical knowledge by attending educational workshops; reviewing professional publications; establishing personal networks; and participating in professional societies including on the VNCA’s AVNAT Regulatory Council since 2019.  Gary personally participates in formal, tutorials and clinical teaching of paraprofessional staff within the hospital. In 2019 it is estimated he undertook over one hundred hours of formal and tutorial sessions, while supervising both undergraduate veterinary students and veterinary technology students. Gary is also increasingly being invited to present at international conferences in recognition of his expertise and special interest in Exotics. In 2019 Gary was invited to present and subsequently did so at the Veterinary Meeting and Expo in Orlando, Florida which is the largest veterinary conference in the world with over 17,000 delegates.

Gary has an incredible work ethic and his ability to envisage a change and bring it to fruition (whilst navigating obstacles) is remarkable. Gary has the attributes of a great leader. He is honest, has integrity, is a good communicator and decision maker, inspires, and empowers those around him.

We warmly congratulate Gary on his award, and congratulate the more than 80 other high quality nominees - we are proud of each one of you and congratulate you on being recognised by your peers, employers and clients.