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Our Team

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Jenny Nixey

Programme Operations Manager (Albany / Botany)

Jenny gained her Veterinary Nursing qualification in Australia in 2000. Jenny spent a number of years working in a small animal practice as Head Nurse.

In 2005 Jenny and her family moved to NZ to work at Massey University Veterinary Teaching Hospital as supervisor for the large animal department. Jenny later moved to the surgical department as surgical nurse and supervisor while completing her Diploma in Science & Technology. Jenny was part of the Veterinary Emergency Response team and trained in small and large animal rescue.

Jenny joined Vet Nurse Plus in 2016 as a Tutor and Clinic Coordinator and in 2018 became Programme Operations Manager.

Jenny completed a Certificate in Adult Education in 2017 and is passionate about teaching in all areas of Veterinary Nursing.

In Jenny’s spare time she trains in karate and takes teams to Japan for competition and gradings, her two teenagers are also karate mad!

Rachel Smith

Tutor (Albany)

Although a kiwi, Rachel qualified as a veterinary nurse in Australia in 2003, and worked in both small animal and after hour emergency vet clinics. Rachel moved back to New Zealand in 2008 and took a break from nursing to raise her two young children. In 2011 Rachel returned to veterinary nursing and was soon given an exciting opportunity to be a casual vet nurse at Auckland Zoo. This position quickly turned into a permanent role much to Rachel's delight. For seven years, Rachel worked at Auckland Zoo, nursing a large variety of exotic and native species in the field, as well as in the vet hospital, otherwise known as the New Zealand Centre for Conservation Medicine.

Rachel joined the Vet Nurse Plus team as a Tutor in March 2018 and works across both education centres.

Rachel and her partner have four children between them, their family also includes Sasha the huntaway cross, four goats and two cows

Sam Spray

Tutor (Albany)

Sam qualified as a veterinary nurse in 2001 from Hartpury College in Glos, UK and spent many years locuming in various vet clinics in the UK and Australia. Her passions are medical nursing and behaviour in cats and dogs.

Sam moved to New Zealand in 2012 with her husband and lovable black Labrador Rodney. After the birth of her two children Sam worked at Pet First Aid as a Canine Body Language Instructor. Rodney was her travelling work partner and they visited multiple kindergartens and schools teaching children about dog safety. Sam joined Vet Nurse Plus in 2017.

Sam loves to travel and spent a memorable year traveling around Asia, with Tibet and Nepal the highlights. Her wanderlust is restricted now but she feels lucky to live in such a scenic country and enjoys escaping to Muriwai or the Waitakeres for walks with Rodney.


Lara Reid

Tutor (Albany)

Lara graduated with a Diploma in Veterinary Nursing from Unitec in 2005. Her veterinary nursing career has always been entwined with education, from a senior veterinary nurse/student liaison position at Unitec’s teaching hospital to her current role as a Tutor at Vet Nurse Plus.

Lara teaches part time at Vet Nurse Plus Albany and is lead on Level 6 Anaesthesia and Analgesia module, where she shares her passion for anaesthesia, her love of the leads and beeps and some laughs with her students.

When not teaching Lara volunteers her time to a local charity running de sexing clinics for animals in foster care and lives in Dairy flat with her husband, two sons, and a menagerie of animals on 4.5 acres.

Sylvia Bell

Tutor & Clinic Coodinator (Botany)

Sylvia graduated as a veterinarian in 1993 from Massey University. After 4 years in mixed practise she moved overseas and worked in companion animal practice in London. Upon returning to NZ in 2001 she settled into companion animal practise in Auckland and has been here ever since.

In 2005 Sylvia passed Membership exams in Small Animal Medicine. She also has a particular interest in Dermatology.

And an acquired interest in behaviour after the addition of a severely anxious dog to the family

Strong advocate for low stress handling techniques and philosophy in clinic

Sylvia spends most of her spare time with her new project- a rescue dog called Eddie. She also enjoys hanging out with friends, playing board games, gardening and camping/ tramping.

Laura Roadley

Tutor & Clinic Coordinator (Albany)

Laura graduated from Vet Nurse Plus in 2015 and has spent over 4 years working as a Vet Nurse on the North Shore. Laura was the Student Coordinator at her previous clinic where she worked closely alongside students to help them gain practical skills.

Laura’s favourite part of veterinary nursing was assisting in surgical procedures such as laparoscopic spays and orthopaedic surgeries. She also enjoyed spending time on reception and gaining great relationships with clients.

Laura enjoys going to the gym regularly and has a love of baking. She lives in Albany with her partner and his many house plants.

Monique Bowers

Tutor & Programme Coordinator (Albany)

Monique has been in the Veterinary industry since 2015 and has spent two and a half years working at an out of hours emergency and critical clinic as the Head Nurse.

Originally from Palmerston North, Monique came to live in the Auckland/Waiheke Island area in 2016.

At home she has 6 cats which include a stroppy Main Coon, plus a dog (Staffy x Pitbull) who thinks she is a cat.

Monique is a bit of an adventure junkie and enjoys white water rafting and skydiving. When time allows she enjoys hiking around the Auckland and Waikato area, taking the dog when she can, also a HUGE Star Wars, MCU and Disney film fan. Monique is looking forward to enjoying dinner nights out again, she has a collection of tattoos, with plans on getting more.

Bronwyn Armstrong

Tutor (Albany / Botany)

Bronwyn graduated as a Veterinary Nurse in 1997, trained and qualified in the UK, working in general practice.

In 2000 Bronwyn moved to a large London charity – Blue Cross Animal Hospital gaining more experience and developed a love for emergency work.

In 2007 Bronwyn joined the Emergency and Critical Care team at Royal Veterinary College, the Queen Mother Hospital for animals, based in ICU. Working closely with specialists, interns and students Bronwyn saw an incredible range of cases from IMHAs to ventilator and heart patients. While working at the hospital Bronwyn found her passion for teaching in a clinical setting.

In 2010 Brownyn moved to NZ and cared for her children for a few years before returning to Veterinary Nursing in an Emergency and Referral practice.

In 2019 Bronwyn joined Vet Nurse Plus as a Tutor. Bronwyns special interests are anaesthesia, analgesia, emergency and critical care. Bronwyn feels passionate about providing the best possible patient care and sharing knowledge.

In 2021 Bronwyn gained her Certificate of Veterinary Nursing in Emergency & Critical Care.

Brownyn has 4 children, 3 cats, 1 dog, 8 chickens and 3 horses. To relax Brownyn loves nothing better than riding her horse Charlie, in Waiuku Forest.

Chloe McMenamin

Tutor (Botany)

Chloe graduated from University College Dublin (UCD) with an honors degree in Veterinary Nursing. While studying for her bachelors she worked alongside land-based and hydro based physiotherapists and undertook her certificate in canine hydrotherapy. Once graduated in Veterinary Nursing Chloe took a role as a rotating nurse in the leading referral teaching hospital, UCDVH. Where she rotated through all the multidisciplinary teams from large to small, working mostly with the surgery, anaesthesia and diagnostic imaging teams. It was at UCDVH she developed her love for teaching and empowering of people.

This wasn’t enough for Chloe, she also helped in the onsite, emergency animal centre on weekends and bank holidays. She a true glutton for punishment!

In NZ Chloe worked for Pet Doctors St. Luke’s Exotic and Wildlife centre for 2 years.Chloe has developed a wealth of knowledge on exotic species. Be careful what you ask her, cause once she gets talking about exotics it’s hard to get her stopped!

Exotics has truly been some of her career highlights. From surgeries on fish, blood transfusions on African greys, to mass removals on a 20g mouse.

Chloe’s hobbies outside work include not taking life too seriously, having more house plants stands than furniture, writing comedy uke songs, reading, writing articles and training for extreme running events.

Claire Metcalf

Tutor (Albany)

Claire has been in the veterinary industry since 2010 and graduated from Unitec in 2012. She has worked in clinics on the North Shore and was been a fosterer for Lonely Miaow.

Claire then took time off to start a family and now has two daughters plus one cat called ‘Kiki’ and looking to expand her fur family.

Her favourite part of veterinary nursing was recovery after surgery and palliative care. Originally from South Africa Claire loves big animals but has a soft spot for companion animals like guinea pigs and rats. In her down time she enjoys swimming, walking, painting and cooking.