School of Veterinary Medicine and Science
   
   
  
 

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Richard Ewers

Clinical Associate Professor in Small Animal Practice and Diagnostic Imaging, Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences

Contact

  • workRoom A11b School of Veterinary Medicine and Science
    Sutton Bonington Campus
    Sutton Bonington
    Leicestershire
    LE12 5RD
    UK
  • work0115 951 6641
  • fax0115 951 6440

Biography

After three years in mixed, mostly cattle practice, I joined PDSA to concentrate on small animal work. In 1991, I became a Senior Veterinary Surgeon and have been responsible for all aspects of running and developing a successful hospital. This has included team leadership, mentoring and coaching, health and safety, HR including recruitment, selection and appraisals, financial management, quality assurance and managing clinic performance. During this time, I had the opportunity to contribute to the development of aspects of PDSA's national veterinary service, including hospital management groups, scope of service and clinical governance.

I have a special interest in diagnostic imaging, and am an RCVS Advanced Practitioner in Veterinary Diagnostic Imaging. In particular, I am committed to furthering diagnostic imaging from a first opinion perspective. This has involved active participation in the European Association of Veterinary Diagnostic Imaging, including regular presentations to British and International audiences, and I received the Roentgen award for the best congress presentation in 1996. For four years, I served as secretary to the group, which involved communicating and working with professional colleagues and organising scientific meetings. I have conducted research based in first opinion practice and published peer-reviewed material. From 2002 - 2006, I served as the imaging examiner for the RCVS Diploma in Advanced Veterinary Nursing.

As part of my role in PDSA, I was instrumental in the development of diagnostic imaging, especially radiography and radiology, including accepting internal referrals and training. I possess the City and Guilds 7307 Post School Education Certificate (Part 1) and have provided CPD outside PDSA, including local BSAVA and BVA groups.

I have undertaken further management roles within PDSA. This has included establishing a new service model at the Northampton PDSA VetSavers hospital and successfully managing the introduction of preventive treatments in all PDSA clinics. The latter was a complex task, involving cross-departmental collaboration and managing considerable change throughout the organisation, especially in the hospitals. For my part in the project, I was awarded PDSA's Edward Bridges Webb award in 2007.

My most recent role with PDSA was Head of Pet Health, which involved me in the development and promotion of PDSA's pet health initiatives. This included strategic planning, managing PDSA's veterinary media campaigns, co-ordinating activity across all departments, team leadership and being responsible for a large budget. I also represented PDSA to external bodies, such as professional and government organisations. This involved me in the development of companion animal welfare within the veterinary profession, including sitting on the BVA Animal Welfare Foundation Dog Breeding Stakeholders Group. In 2009, I received a Postgraduate Diploma in Management Studies.

In 2009, I joined the School of Veterinary Medicine and Science. I have been involved in the development and delivery of teaching of small animal clinical practice through the PDSA/Dogs Trust rotation, and teaching of diagnostic imaging throughout the BVMBVS course. In 2012, I was awarded the PGCHE and am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Expertise Summary

I am the rotation leader for the PDSA/Dogs Trust final year clinical rotation in the BVMBVS course. As part of my final year teaching, I perform small animal diagnostic imaging examinations (radiography and ultrasonography) at Clinical Associate practices. I also have responsibilities for diagnostic imaging teaching throughout the course, and deliver lectures, practicals and small group sessions as well as being involved in assessment.

Teaching Summary

In my clinical practice, I teach aspects of first opinion, small animal practice to final year veterinary students on clinical rotations, particularly diagnostic imaging. I also have responsibility… read more

Recent Publications

  • DEAN R, BRENNAN M, EWERS R, HUDSON C, DALY J, BAILLIE S, EISLER M, PLACE E, BREARLEY J, HOLMES M, HANDEL I, SHAW D, MCLAUCHLAN G, MCBREARTY A, CRIPPS P, CRIPPS P, JONES P, SMITH R and VERHEYEN K, 2017. The Challenge of teaching undergraduates evidence-based veterinary medicine Veterinary Record. 181(11), 298-299
  • S MORLEY, N BOOTH and R EWERS, 2014. Use of radiography in small animal practice in the UK and Ireland In: European Association of Veterinary Diagnostic Imaging/Veterinary Cardiovascular Society Autumn Meeting 2014.
  • RICHARD EWERS and RACHEL DEAN, 2014. Antibiotics in dogs with kennel cough: BestBETs for Vets Available at: <https://bestbetsforvets.org/bet/166>
  • RICHARD EWERS, 2013. Getting the best results from urinary tract radiography in small animal practice: avoiding radiographic and radiological pitfalls. In: EAVDI Yearbook 2013: Reviews in Veterinary Diagnostic Imaging European Association of Veterinary Diagnostic Imaging Ltd. 1-22

In my clinical practice, I teach aspects of first opinion, small animal practice to final year veterinary students on clinical rotations, particularly diagnostic imaging. I also have responsibility for teaching diagnostic imaging (radiography and ultrasound) in all years of the veterinary course.

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I enjoy teaching in a variety of formats - lecturing, practicals, small group teaching and personal tuition. In all of these, I aim to be very interactive, to try to engage with my audience as much as possible. I always assess prior learning to make sure this provides a firm base for our activities. As my subject is very practical within a clinical environment, I encourage experiential learning. This allows students to become familiar with working in their future workplace and maximises the relevance of their learning. Practical and small group teaching is based around problem/patient-based scenarios, again making the learning relevant to their future needs and helping to develop clinical skills. The clinical relevance of the activities should motivate the students to make good use of the learning resource. All my material is derived using an outcomes-planning approach, ensuring a good fit with module and curriculum learning objectives.

Past Research

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A study to assess the suitability of the customer perspective of the Balanced Scorecard (Kaplan and Norton 1996) to assess client attitudes in small animal, general practice showed this appeared appropriate to measure, attempt to improve and monitor client satisfaction. Improved client satisfaction should result in benefits in terms of treatment effectiveness, reduced staff effort and improved staff motivation.

An evaluation of the radiographic quality of images produced in small animal, general practice used a test phantom and step wedge to provide an objective assessment of radiographic density and contrast, and also assessed the adequacy of radiographic processing. There was a general tendency of radiographers to prefer films that were too dark for good evaluation, and a significant number of automatic processing units were under-developing (Ewers and Hofmann-Parisot 2000).

References:

Ewers, R.S. and Hofmann-Parisot (2000) Assessment of the quality of radiographs in 44 veterinary clinics in Great Britain. Veterinary Record, 147 (1), pp.7-11.

Kaplan, R.S. and Norton, D.P (1996) The balanced scorecard: translating strategy into action. Boston, Mass.: Harvard Business School Press.

Future Research

My current research interests are in two main areas: small animal, general practice (especially evidence-based veterinary medicine, pet health and welfare, and client attitudes and satisfaction) and diagnostic imaging (especially radiographic quality).

Many treatment and diagnostic regimes used in small animal clinical practice are traditionally carried out without a well recognised evidence base. The BestBETs model of evidence-based medicine provides an opportunity to evaluate these practices against the available literature. This can lead to increased effectiveness in clinical practice and help engage general practitioners with evidence-based veterinary medicine.

Veterinary surgeons have an important role in promoting pet health and ensuring welfare. Effective owner education and communication is essential to improve these areas. It is important to be aware of owner attitudes to important pet health and welfare issues, such as preventive health care and obesity. Also, barriers to owner action in the face of relevant information must be assessed and ways to overcome them developed.

Owner compliance, and so effective treatment outcomes, are likely to depend on the owner's attitude to the clinician and the veterinary practice. The customer perspective of the Balanced Scorecard (Kaplan and Norton 1996) can be used to measure, attempt to improve and monitor owner satisfaction in small animal veterinary practice. Improved client satisfaction should result in benefits in terms of treatment effectiveness, reduced staff effort and improved staff motivation.

The usefulness for diagnosis of diagnostic radiographs is directly related to their radiographic quality. The rapid introduction of digital radiography into veterinary practice provides many opportunities to improve efficiency and quality. However, it is important to appreciate the differences from conventional film radiography and its limitations to avoid poor diagnostic results. There is a need to understand the issues faced by practitioners switching to digital radiographic systems, including the resulting quality of their images. This should allow appropriate advice to be provided to achieve the best results from the investment.

Techniques for diagnostic imaging in veterinary practice are rapidly developing, e.g. the widespread, rapid introduction of digital radiography and increased used of ultrasonography, CT and MRI. These changes provide many opportunities to improve efficiency and diagnostic quality. However, it is important to recognise the strengths and limitations of these techniques to avoid inappropriate use and poor diagnostic results. For example, there is a need to understand the issues faced by practitioners switching to digital radiographic systems, including the resulting quality of their images. This should allow appropriate advice to be provided to achieve the best results from the investment.

The busy, first opinion small animal environment in which I work provides a good opportunity to characterise disease conditions encountered in general practice using imaging.

Reference:

Kaplan, R.S. and Norton, D.P (1996) The balanced scorecard: translating strategy into action. Boston, Mass.: Harvard Business School Press.

School of Veterinary Medicine and Science

University of Nottingham
Sutton Bonington Campus
Leicestershire, LE12 5RD

telephone: +44 (0)115 951 6116
fax: +44 (0)115 951 6415
email: veterinary-enquiries@nottingham.ac.uk