CAW Blog

The College of Animal Welfare

Clinical coach benefits

Becoming a Clinical Coach FAQs

Beside every great veterinary nurse is a great clinical coach, who supported them through their formal training and helped them develop their practical skills in practice.

If you’re passionate about veterinary nursing and keen to help others flourish in the industry, you may have considered becoming a clinical coach before and asked yourself: what are the benefits of taking on the role?

To answer that question, read more about what clinical coaches do, what you can get out of it and the training process…

What do clinical coaches do?

The main role of the clinical coach is to support an SVN in practice and provide opportunities to ensure they complete their Nursing Progress Log (NPL) or e-portfolio. The role can be summarised as follows:

Clinical Coach Job Description

Provide support and opportunities for an SVN to complete the NPL or online e-portfolio


  • Ensure personal practical skills are maintained to support the SVN
  • Make time to spend with the SVN on their practical skills
  • Ensure there is opportunity for the SVN to complete NPL/e-portfolio tasks in the rota
  • Ensure the SVN has a clear plan for their time at the practice
  • Provide opportunities for the SVN to ask questions / reflect on progress

Making the SVN a part of the team

  • Become the SVNs personal cheerleader
  • Make sure the SVN feels included in the team
  • Ensure the SVN’s training needs are reflected in team plans

Why Become a Clinical Coach?

There are a number of benefits to becoming a clinical coach.

  1. It isn’t just the student who is learning: There’s nothing like a student questioning everyday routines in practice, to help you review and improve your own clinical skills. What’s more – you can also use the student’s access to the most up-to-date academic materials to help you improve patient care across the team.
  2. Become a coaching and mentoring guru: Clinical coaching is a great avenue for Continuing Professional Development (CPD), a move from a clinical focus to coaching and mentoring skills, which may pave the way to formal qualifications.
  3. Be a cheerleader for your practice: Becoming part of a team who trains students will help contribute to good practice reputation. 81% of consumers favour employers who hire apprentices, and clients understand that training means there is supervision and this is good for patient care.
  4. Mastering reflection and organisation: As a clinical coach, you need to be organised, be able to plan your student’s time effectively and reflect upon your student’s progress so you can provide helpful support. Supervising students will help you improve your reflection and organisational skills.
  5. The feel good factor: It’s rewarding to be able to use your skills and expertise to help the next generation of nurses achieve career success.

“It is incredibly rewarding seeing new students return from college with a renewed interest in their work and I guarantee your staff will be more enthusiastic and committed once they have a goal in sight.” Read Wendy Taylor’s blog about the benefits of training student veterinary nurses

I want to become a clinical coach. What do I do next?

In order to train veterinary nurses, veterinary practices have to first be approved as either a Training and Assessment Practice (TP) or an Auxiliary Training Practice (aTP,) by an Approved Centre (Primary Centre). If your practice is not an approved TP or aTP, read more about the approval process.

If your practice is an approved TP or aTP, in order to become a clinical coach you will need to attend a one day training course which will cover the use of the NPL as well as lots of best practice information and tips on coaching/mentoring your student. You will then be required to attend a standardisation event every 12 months to maintain your currency. Both of these courses are free to our TPs or to clinical coaches who support our students.

Clinical coaches must provide evidence of clinical coach training and a copy of their CV and job description, to show their clinical experience. Evidence of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) will also be requested at regular intervals by the practice’s Quality Assurance Supervisor.

If you would like to become a Clinical Coach, please contact us for more information.

I am a clinical coach and want to develop my role. What can I do? 

We run an annual Clinical Coach Congress, which is the largest event of its kind, dedicated exclusively to supporting clinical coaches that are training student veterinary nurses in practice.

During the congress you will be able to listen to a jam packed timetable of relevant talks, as well as gain lots of best practice information and tips on coaching/mentoring students. Not only this, but attending both days of congress achieves 12 hours of CPD! 

Clinical Coach Congress may be particularly useful if you’re new to the role of a clinical coach and looking for some guidance, or if you’re more experienced and looking to develop your role further and discuss ideas with fellow clinical coaches. 

Book your place today