Paula Harnett – Registered Veterinary Nurse

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.

Paula Harnett is one dedicated Registered Veterinary Nurses (RVN) and she has kindly taken some time out to time to tell us about her life as an RVN at Calder.

 How long have you been a Vet Nurse and what route did you follow to qualify?

I have been in the nursing profession now for almost seven years and gained my qualification nearly two years ago. Calder Vets kindly put me through my qualification, and I attended Myerscough College for two years to gain this, whilst also working full time at the Dewsbury Hospital and learning on the job.


What attracted you to a career as a Veterinary Nurse?

Since a child, I have always had a love for animals, great and small. The thought of having a career where I could use my passion and love for animals to care for them every day was perfect for me and makes it not at all feel like ‘work’.


What is the most rewarding thing about being a Vet Nurse?

For me, the best part is watching the animals you have put all your love and care into get better and then go home to their families, it really does make all the early mornings or late-night finishes worthwhile.


What advice would you give someone thinking about a career as a Vet Nurse?

100% go for it. All you need is a passion for animals and a will to carry on for their sake and you have everything you need.  I’m sure I speak for all nurses when I say it really is the most rewarding job you can do and if that’s something your after then look no further!


What would be your career highlight so far?

The ​highlight of my career so far is definitely gaining my qualification and seeing my name on the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) register as an RVN. It really makes all the hard work, tears and tantrums worth it because you can finally say you did it!


Have you completed any additional training to support you in your role? 

Yes, I have completed lots of further training and Continuing Professional Development (CPD) to help me in my current role as a Lead Nurse, I think it’s important to continue to learn as a nurse because there are always areas you can better your knowledge. I would maybe in the future like to complete courses in Emergency and Critical Care and also Anaesthesia, as those are the area’s I feel I am the strongest.


What’s the next step in your career pathway?

I definitely want to just keep learning within my career and continuing to develop my knowledge and skills as a nurse, whether that be at a clinical level or a management level. What I love about nursing is that no matter how much you think you know there will always be more you can learn.


Thank you, Paula, 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