About the Australian College of Veterinary Nursing

WARNING: Our passion for best practice veterinary nursing is highly infectious!

It’s quickly transferred to our students and the clinics they work in. That’s what makes our graduates so sought after.

ACVN Nurses receive the industry’s best possible education, and their hard work and enthusiasm is rewarded with extremely high employment rates post-training.

Veterinary Nurse

Harrie Phillips
Managing Director

PGCertClinED, BAdVocEd (VocEd&Trng), RVN, DipVN (Surgical, ECC), DipTAE (Development & Design), DipBus, TAA, MACE


Harrie Phillips is one of Australia’s most highly qualified veterinary nurses and vet nurse educator. Harrie qualified here in Australia but is also a UK registered veterinary nurse. She has completed two Diplomas of Veterinary Nursing (Surgical and Emergency & Critical Care) and has worked in a variety of clinics from general practice, ECC, specialist centres and in universities. Her passion lies in surgical nursing, and in particular neurosurgery and orthopaedics. She regularly publishes articles in veterinary nursing publications and you’ll see her at various conferences lecturing on foundation skills and surgical nursing. She has also volunteered as a veterinary nurse for Vets Beyond Borders in India.


Harrie’s passion lays in education and she founded the Australian College of Veterinary Nursing in 2010. She completed her Bachelor of Adult and Vocational Education and her Post Graduate Certificate in Clinical Education focusing on simulation.


Harrie not only runs the college, she is our lead course developer & instructional designer and has authored many of our subjects. She also has qualifications in management, human resources and small business. In addition, she is trained in human hospital level sterilisation and infection control, applying this knowledge to improving procedures in veterinary clinics.

veterinary nursing

Natalie Woolley
Academic Director

DipVN (Surgical, ECC), DipVET, DeltaCGC, TAA


Natalie has been veterinary nursing for over 15 years, with the last 5 of these working as a senior nurse in a large and busy general practice in Adelaide’s southern suburbs. Her interest lie in surgical nursing (particularly orthopaedics), medical management of disease, behaviour and reproduction. Natalie has a range of qualifications to match her experience including a Certificate IV in Canine Behaviour, Certificate IV in Veterinary Nursing, Diploma of Vocational Education & Training, Cert IV in Training and Assessment and both her surgical and emergency and critical care Diploma’s of Veterinary Nursing.


Prior to veterinary nursing, Natalie worked for ten years in private research companies looking into diseases such as hypertension and Parkinson’s disease. During this time she gained valuable skills in surgery, laboratory work and animal handling. She also spent time in America teaching the surgical techniques used for Parkinson’s disease research to postgraduate researchers, setting up an animal program with strict values in animal welfare and ethics.

veterinary nursing

Shoned Hawksworth
Nurse Educator - Clinical Skills

Dip AVN (small animal) Dip CVN RVN Cert IV (QVN) Cert VNES (exotics) Cert Nut QCF (nutrition) Cert IV TAE MBVNA


Shoned is a very experienced UK qualified veterinary nurse and has been working with animals since 2002. She qualified as a Veterinary Nurse 2005 and went on to gain her Certificate in Exotics in 2012. She also completed her Certificate IV in Veterinary Nursing in 2015.


Shoned loves education, and completed her Diploma in Advanced Veterinary Nursing (Small Animals) in 2016 and her Canine and Feline Veterinary Nutrition in 2017. As a qualified Nurse Educator, she also holds the Certificate IV in Training and Assessment and recently became an accredited mental health first aider.


Before Shoned came over to work for ACVN, she spent several years working in an exotics clinic in Hong Kong working with various species and training Veterinary Nurses. She brings a wealth of veterinary nursing and exotics knowledge to our team. Shoned is our main Clinical Skills Educator.

veterinary nursing

Tabatha Whitehead
Nurse Educator


Tabatha is an Australian qualified Veterinary Nurse and has been nursing since 1998. Having worked in several different style clinics in Brisbane including general practice (small and large), specialist practice, emergency practice and avian practice; she brings a diverse range of veterinary nursing skills and knowledge.


For the past 10 years Tabatha’s career has steered towards the management spectrum of the veterinary industry and in that time she has managed both a large specialist centre and a medium inner city general practice. In early 2015 Tabatha joined the team at ACVN shortly after starting her own consultancy business which focuses on the veterinary industry and specializes in recruitment/job hunting and an online pet store. She now divides her time between her two businesses, working as a casual vet nurse and of course, with the team here at ACVN.


Tabatha loves teaching others to be amazing, no matter what role they take in the veterinary industry, from trainee up to management level. You can frequently find her lecturing at conferences Australia-wide and even overseas. Her passion for motivating others is strong she is our resident go-to person if you need a hand with your studies, with motivation or with finding placement. 

veterinary nursing

Nurse Educator



Nicola is a UK qualified and RCVS Registered Veterinary Nurse. Her passion for working with sick and injured animals started at a very early age and once she finished school she started training as a Veterinary Nurse and qualified in 2005. Nicola has worked in both small and large animal clinics throughout the UK and Australia.


Nicola’s passion for Vet Nurse education grew through training students in practices around Australia and in 2016 she joined ACVN to assist students in fulfilling their dreams of becoming a qualified Veterinary Nurse.


Nicola now works part time from home in the UK as our UK Correspondent assessing student work and providing after hours student assist 1 evening a week. She also works for a local Veterinary Nursing College in Manchester as the Placement Coordinator.

veterinary nursing

Jess Male
Nurse Educator



Jess is a qualified Veterinary Nurse and Registered Nurse (human) in orthopaedics and plastics. She holds Bachelor degrees in Biological and Biomedical Science from Murdoch University, WA. Jess has worked in a variety of busy veterinary practices over her vet nursing career (commencing in 2001) and has maintained special interests in wound care, the pre and post-op care of critical and trauma patients, and animal behaviour. Currently, she is studying her Diploma of Veterinary Nursing (ECC) and works in a large veterinary clinic in Adelaide.


Jess is passionate about the education and development of veterinary nurses in practice, seeing this as a key aspect in achieving greater respect and recognition for the vital role that veterinary nurses contribute. With her invaluable knowledge, she currently assists in the development of our assessments and resources as well as assessing student work.

Jessie Rice
Wildlife Nurse Educator



Jessie is a qualified and very experienced zoological veterinary nurse. She started her veterinary nursing career working in a specialist veterinary clinic in both the intensive care unit and surgical department. She then transitioned to exotic and zoo nursing in various zoos around the world, including the Dubai Wildlife Park, Australia Zoo, and Perth Zoo. She currently works at the veterinary hospital at the Werribee Open Range Zoo in Melbourne.


Jessie’s role at ACVN is focused on developing and adding in information on wildlife and exotics into our resources. She also runs some of our Clinical Skills workshops in Melbourne.


veterinary nursing

Jaime Pearson
Nurse Educator



Jaime started her veterinary nursing career at one of Melbourne’s larger animal shelters 10 years ago before moving into a smaller private clinic where she was nursing in feline only specialist clinics.


Jaime qualified as a veterinary nurse 8 years ago and although she loves dogs, you can still find her nursing in a feline practice from time to time.


Wanting to experience some variety within the veterinary industry, Jaime began assessing with ACVN 4 years ago in a full-time role and really loves helping our students stay on track with their studies. Her main focus is on the entry level subjects at the start of the courses so if you need help getting on your feet or getting used to how we work at ACVN feel free to get in touch with Jaime at any time.


After having her first child in early 2016 Jaime has stayed with AVCN on a casual basis but looks forward to spending some more time with our students in the future. In her spare time, you can find Jaime at the beach or anywhere it is sunny, basking in the warmth just like a cat! 

Philippa Wilkinson
Nurse Educator



Philippa completed her Diploma in Veterinary Nursing at Unitec, New Zealand back in 2002. She then went on to work for 7 years in a referral veterinary hospital based in Auckland. She gained skills in surgical nursing then went on to do a certificate in captive wild animals again at Unitec. From there she worked at Auckland Zoo for 2 years caring for a range of mammals from meerkats to baboons to hippos and elephants. In 2011, she came to Australia and continued working at a referral hospital at UVET. She worked in the surgery and theatre position and was second in charge for the nursing team. She was also involved in teaching final year vet students. In her spare time, she works towards wildlife campaigning and Australian wildlife habitat work.

Sarah Grinter
Nurse Educator



Sarah is an Australian qualified Certificate IV Veterinary Nurse, she began nursing in small animal general practice in 2011. Sarah has a keen interest in emergency medical, surgical and trauma cases, which drew her to work in an emergency clinic to gain further emergency and critical care experience. Currently, she is continuing to work in a busy general practice clinic as a hospital and surgical nurse.


Sarah loves mentoring junior nurses in her clinical role. She has a passion for educational development and recognition of the nursing role within veterinary clinics. Sarah completed her Certificate IV in Training and Assessing when she began working with ACVN in 2018. Sarah enjoys helping new nurses to progress in their careers in her position as a nurse educator.

Veterinary Nurse

Skye Carr
Diploma Nurse Educator



Skye is an Australian qualified Veterinary Nurse who has been working as a veterinary nurse for over 12 years. She spent 6 years working in general practice before moving on to a specialist and emergency centre in Adelaide. She split her time between the emergency and medicine departments for many years before deciding to move into a full-time emergency nursing role.


In 2011, Skye completed her Diploma in Emergency and Critical care. Skye then decided she wanted to move into a teaching role so completed her TAE in 2015 to share her knowledge and skills with other veterinary nurses.

Skye has recently returned from maternity leave and is currently working part-time as a senior emergency nurse alongside her Nurse Educator at ACVN, where she assesses the Diploma ECC students assignments.

veterinary nursing

Kerin Aspinall
Diploma Nurse Educator



Kerin is a qualified veterinary nurse with over 20 years of experience. She has recently completed her Diploma of Veterinary Nursing (General Practice).


Kerin enjoys learning herself and helping others to achieve their goals. She currently works in a small animal practice as a senior nurse where she is also responsible for mentoring the junior nurses. 


Kerin is multi-talented, and is also a qualified dog groomer and owned her own successful salon for 15 years. She is also involved in assessing the grooming students at the Australian College of Animal Care.

veterinary nursing

Mahni Brooker
Internal Compliance & Student Support

BSc (Zoo), TAA


Mahni is multi-talented and ACVN students will encounter her through Student Assist when she is not in the background creating, updating (and sometimes fixing) the student portal and resources. In addition to helping students, she also assists Harrie with the e-learning components of the Learning Centre and Natalie with the ‘boring’ but essential areas of compliance.


Mahni has completed her Bachelor of Science majoring in Zoology and Reproduction & Development and her Certificate IV in Training & Assessment. Mahni is also one of our Animal Care Educators at our sister college, the Australian College of Animal Care.


Mahni has a varied animal care background including managing a large busy doggy day care centre in Melbourne, various roles in pet stores and veterinary nursing. Mahni has also worked extensively in animal welfare as an animal attendant and in the education centre at the RSPCA and then as the animal welfare liaison for one of the largest microchipping companies in Australia.

Rikki Denham

Rikki is our admin superstar! Rikki has joined our team with over 5 years experience working as an Administration Officer for Registered Training Organisations. Students will know Rikki as the go to person for all their administration and enrolment queries through Student Assist. Rikki also keeps the head office running making sure all our students get their folders and resources on time.