I qualified as a Veterinary Nurse in 2006 and began my career working in a mixed practice which meant that I would treat domestic pets but would often visit farms, dealing with livestock and horses.
After a few years I was ready to expand my nursing skills. I applied to work at a referral veterinary hospital which means it specialises in certain procedures e.g.; eye surgery/treatment, bones, soft tissue, reproduction and medicine.
I have been a locum nurse and travelled around the country working in several practices, (including with the Supervet from the TV) before settling into the very busy veterinary hospital where I work now and have done for the past seven years.
Although there are many challenges that come with the job, nothing beats that feeling you get when you nurse your patients back to health.
My current hospital is extremely busy. To stay on top of the patients and work that builds up, we have a weekly rota. Each week the nurses rota changes, which means you may be one of the three nurses working in theatre (helping with operations) or perhaps you’re the Consulting nurse (This means you carry out Nurse Appointments)
Other shifts include; dispensary nurse (dispensing medication), the inpatient nurse (looking after unwell pets and recovering pets after their general anestheics/surgery).
Upon arrival, the first duty would be admitting the patients and administering injections where they are necessary. This is called a pre-medication (sedative and strong pain killer) to help calm the patients and gives a smoother anaesthetic and recovery.
The patients that have been hospitalised overnight are handed over by the night shift team and are checked by the day shift team, then a nursing care plan is put into place.
At 9am it’s time to organise the order of procedures, set up theatres and prepare what is needed for each procedure. It may be that we are repairing a fracture or we could be carrying out a routine procedure like neutering (Spey or castrate).
Veterinary Nurses are allowed to carry out minor surgeries e.g. wound stitch ups, applying dressings, take and develop radiographs, place Intravenous lines (drips) take bloods, monitor anaesthetics, administer medications to name a few.
We would try to complete the procedures for the day and to attend to any extra admissions from the consulting vets and veterinary nurses.
We will also then discharge any patients ready to leave, taking time to explain to their owners their aftercare instructions and to book any follow up appointments deemed necessary.
Emergencies can be rushed into the hospital at anytime.
At the end of each day it is common practise to thoroughly clean the theatres, preperation area, x-ray roo, laboratory and kennels.
We would also need to clean and sterilise the surgical instruments so they are ready for the next day.