May is Veterinary Nursing Awareness Month, a whole month dedicated to raising awareness of the veterinary nursing profession and the vital role they play in animal care and treatment.
Anne is one of our Student Nurses here at Eastcott Vets and she kindly took time out to tell us about life as a vet nurse.
Q: What route are you taking to qualify as a Vet Nurse?
A: I started as an administrator and then applied to be a PCA (patient care assistant) in 2017 at Eastcott. I was in my PCA role for a little over a year until I got my place at Abbeydale Veterinary College to continue in my career and become a Student Veterinary Nurse
Q: What attracted you to a career as a Veterinary Nurse?
A: I always wanted to work with animals. I am from Germany and used to spend a lot of my summer holidays volunteering at the local zoo. Working as a referrals administrator at Eastcott, I found out how I would be able to pursue my dream in becoming a vet nurse. I had to do some additional qualifications in preparation for the course but I was incredibly happy when I was accepted.
Q: What does your job as a Student Nurse entail?
A: A lot of learning! Every day I learn something new. And this is not me exaggerating. I learn the basic tools that every vet nurse needs which includes patient care, nutrition, pharmacology, anaesthesia, bandaging, blood sampling and IV placement and so much more. I also go to college one day a week to learn the theory that is necessary to be the best nurse I can be. I also get to spend time with the greatest nurses in the country and am honoured to be able to learn from them.
Q: What is the most rewarding thing about being a Vet Nurse?
A: The incredible team that I work with, to be able to relieve pain and suffering of animals, the amazing feeling of sending a patient home after they have been poorly for a long time, educating and helping clients as well as forming relationships with them, the adorable patients that make up for a hard day, the sense of humour only a team of veterinary professionals has…
Q: What kind of attributes do you need to be a good Vet Nurse?
You need to be caring – and that means caring for everything (the cute puppy but also the aggressive Jack Russell that is simply terrified of being at the vets, the cute kitten but also the grumpy hyperthyroid cat). You need to also care about the patient's owners and try to understand their circumstances - be empathetic and treat every patient like they are your own. You need to care about your colleagues and be supportive because this profession can be incredibly hard sometimes – but having colleagues and people that truly care make this a lot easier. You need a good sense of humour because some things are so strange that they have to be funny. You need to have a good sense of cleaning - because there is clean and there is vet nurse clean! Most of all: a big heart, a good work ethic and a well-trained bladder that can do an 8 hour shift without being able to pee.
Q: What advice would you give someone thinking about a career as a Vet Nurse?
A: This is not a job you do for the money! This is a hard, exhausting, learning intensive career path. But it is so rewarding! The team work, the patients, the clients – it makes it all worth it. But if you think you will get to play with puppies and kittens all day - this job is not for you. You need to be able to care for all your patients, even if this means holding their head when they take their last breath. You need to realise that you can’t save every patient. You need to understand that during your career you will certainly bring more than one stray home with you (and keep it there) and you will learn that your colleagues will become your family and your closest friends because they are the only people who will truly understand what an incredible job you do on a daily basis.
Q:What are the best things about working at Eastcott Vets?
A: We are a combined primary care and referral hospital. We have a very modern practice and I work with an incredible team of specialist vets and nurses. We see so many interesting cases and every day is different. I also absolutely ADORE the team I work with. I learn so much every day and feel incredibly supported.
Q: What would be your career highlight so far?
A: That is very difficult to single out. Every time I place an IV is currently a highlight as I’m in the middle of my diploma.
Q: Have you completed any additional training to support you in your role?
A: Not yet but I would like to get an advanced degree once I am qualified.
Q: What's the next step in your career pathway?
A: I would like to qualify and then get an additional degree after that. I would also like to spend some time in farm and equine to broaden my horizon.
Thank you Anne for that great insight!
We're also sharing videos created by some of our nurses over on our Facebook page.