Veterinary Nurses

Karen Hawkins RVN, GPCert(B&PS) K-SQP, Practice Manager


After seriving 17 years in the Royal Navy and Police Service of Northern Ireland, Karen embarked on a life changing move to West Dorset where she escaped the Rat Race! Karen immediately coerced Matthew and Terry into employing her as the oldest student in veterinary nursing history, Karen says this is “definitely a change for the better, although it’s the hardest I have ever worked!”

Karen completed her training as a Veterinary Nurse at the practice and qualified in 2008. She has now deviated from nursing, and become our Practice Manager.  Keeping us all under control, she possibly now has the toughest job in the practice! She has three dogs, Rufus, Melba, and Bustle, one cat, Doris, lots of chickens and sheep.

When not at work Karen likes to keep fit by running, cycling and during the shooting season, working the dogs.


KirstyKirsty Padden-Barr RVN D32/33

Originally from Nottinghamshire Kirsty trained at a small animal practice and qualified as a Veterinary Nurse in 2001. In 2002 she moved to a larger practice providing a variety of nursing clinics. Here she passed her D32/33 Assessor exams and began teaching and assessing student Veterinary Nurses. She then began working as an Emergency VN for Vets Now Ltd based at the PDSA centre in Nottingham caring for critical patients. In 2003 Kirsty met her future husband Rob and moved to Somerset with her piebald horse ‘Badger’, working at a mixed practice as their Head nurse and student assessor.

Kirsty began working for the practice in October 2007, her main interests being student training, wound management, dental surgery (especially dental radiography), minor surgery, raising money for Greyhound charities, and looking after our website and facebook pages! Kirsty has recently completed her BVNA/Lantra certificate in Wound Management.

In her spare time Kirsty enjoys walking her whippet ‘Mac Taylor’, reading, travelling, Formula1, listening to music and attending concerts/theatre productions.


Emma Hughes RVN A1

Emma joined the practice in 1995 having studied Animal Care at Kingston Maurward EmmaCollege. She qualified as a Veterinary Nurse in 2000 and subsequently became an A1 assessor. Emma shares her time between nursing duties and working in the hydrotherapy pool as part of the Honeysuckle Rehabilitation Centre team.

Formerly an active member of the local Young Farmers Club and stalwart of the ladies tug of war team, her energies are now directed towards her young family, Ellie and Harry, and looking after husband Gary.

In her spare time Emma enjoys baking, cooking and running.


Alex Desmond RVN


Alex joined the practice in August 2007 having been in a practice in Bournemouth for two years. She qualified as a Veterinary Nurse at our practice in 2008 and is particularly keen on laboratory work, radiography, and in-patient care.

In her spare time Alex enjoys horse riding, watching live bands and shopping. At home she has two cats, Bailey and Caffrey and Jarvis the crazy cocker spaniel!

Alex and her husband Jon are proud parents to their two children, son Elliott and daughter Eliza.


Stephanie Davis RVN, C & G Cert. VNES


Steff joined the practice in July 2007 and qualified in 2011. She has a keen interest in orthopaedic surgery and exotic species, she has recently gained her certificate in nursing exotic species.

At home she and fiance Steve share their home with ‘Alistair-Eugene’ the tortoise, otherwise known as ‘Mr T’ and their young Labrador Retriever ‘Austin’. In her spare time Steff enjoys walking her dog, Moto GP, plays bass guitar and is a grade 8 Saxophonist.


Kelly Sweatman RVN


Kelly qualified as a Registered Veterinary Nurse in 2014 and has a particular interest in orthopaedics; she regularly assists Terry during these procedures.

She and husband Stu share their home with two cats ‘Zulu’ and ‘Will’ and ‘Lola’ and ‘Olive’ the cocker spaniels!  When not working Kelly enjoys socializing with friends, traveling, dog walking, music and eating out.

She has a long-term ambition to go to Borneo and volunteer at an orangutan conservation project.


Ellie Stevens RVNellie 1

Ellie has been training with us for three years and has recently passed her veterinary nursing exams. She can now sit back a leave the studying alone and concentrate on enjoying her newly qualified status!

In her spare time Ellie enjoys doing hunter trials with her pony ‘Blue’ and walking with her dog ‘Moon’.




Ellis Dearnley SVNellis-pic-2

Ellis joined has started his first year of veterinary nurse training and has a particular interest in exotic animals. In his spare time he enjoys music, going to the cinema and good food!


Eliza Ashworth SVN

Eliza is undertaking a degree in veterinary nursing and is now on a placement with us for the next year whilst she learns the practical side of nursing life!




Lauren Morris-Bracey SVN

Lauren joined the practice in 2017 and has started her first year of veterinary nurse training. She has a Springer Spaniel ‘Kurby’ and a cat called ‘Chloe’.

In her spare time Lauren enjoys shopping, eating out, walking and going to the cinema.