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.
Julie is our registered veterinary nurse here at Calder Vets at our Dewsbury Hospital and she kindly took time out to tell us about life as a vet nurse.
How long have you been a Vet Nurse and what route did you follow to qualify?
In total I have been nursing for 6 years, two of those involved my training, qualifying in 2016. My training practice took me on as an apprentice, going to college one day a week and the rest of the time gaining hands-on experience in practice. The course I took was the Level 3 Diploma in Veterinary Nursing, studying at the College of Animal Welfare.
What attracted you to a career as a Veterinary Nurse?
I always knew I wanted to be a veterinary nurse from a very young age, due to my love of and caring for animals. Throughout my working life, I have always worked in a job which involved caring and looking after animals.
What does your job as a veterinary nurse entail?
My role is very varied and involves a variety of skills. This could involve being an anaesthetist during surgery, ensuring patients get their medications and care that they need whilst in hospital, performing blood samples and running them in the lab, performing radiographs, educating clients on care at home for their pets, being there for our clients when they make that hard decision and these are just some of the skills involved in my role, there are many more. Even though all these skills are needed the main role involves caring and looking after every single animal that enters our practice, like our own, until they are well enough to be reunited with their owner.
What is the most rewarding thing about being a Vet Nurse?
The most rewarding thing about being a vet nurse would be that of when a critically ill patient comes through our doors and was able to nurse them back to health and reunite them with their owner. Also being able to educate owners and know that you have passed your knowledge on in which they will use that information in the care of their pet.
What kind of attributes do you need to be a good Vet Nurse?
I feel you need to have patience, obviously caring, understanding towards clients. You need to be able to work independently as well as work within a team. Be flexible and open to criticism, as we learn something new every day.
What advice would you give someone thinking about a career as a Vet Nurse?
It’s a hard, stressful journey but if you keep your head down and work hard it will all be worth it at the end. Also, never give up.
What are the best things about working at Calder Vets practice?
There is always something different every day, therefore you are always learning and developing. I also work with a fantastic team, who all support one another, are great to work with and know to have a giggle in between the hard work.
What would be your career highlight so far?
The highlight of my career would have to be when I achieved my city and guilds certificate in veterinary nursing of exotic species. This was such a difficult exam and honestly, one I didn’t think I would pass. However, to my surprise, I did.
Have you completed any additional training to support you in your role?
I achieved my exotic nursing certificate a couple of years ago. I have always had an interest in small furries and wanted to be able to nurse them better, this certificate allowed me to gain some additional knowledge to do that. I have also received training in becoming a clinical coach, this allows me to mentor Student Veterinary Nurses.
What’s the next step in your career pathway?
As I am quite new to the role of clinical coaching, I am hoping to be able to stay and develop in this role for a little while longer and pass my skills and knowledge onto the next generation of nurses.
Thank you, Julie, for sharing your story.
To find out more about the role of RVNs in veterinary practice, or if you are interested in finding out more about a career in veterinary nursing, visit the BVNA website at www.bvna.org.uk/a-career-in-veterinary-nursing/a-career-in-veterinary-nursing.