May is Vet Nursing Awareness Month so we thought it was a good opportunity to ask our Registered Veterinary Nurse, Amanda, some questions about her career and her first year here at St David’s!
"As a small child I always knew I wanted to work with animals and care for them to bring them back to full health if they were unwell. It has always been in my nature to give absolutely everything to each animal that I care for no matter what it takes, or how long it takes for them to recover.
The title “Veterinary Nurse” is not yet protected in law (meaning anyone can use it), but it is advised by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons that it should be taken to mean only Registered Veterinary Nurses (RVNs).
As an RVN I have undertaken a rigorous training programme, and sat numerous examinations. In total I have completed 6 years of studying which included achieving a Bachelor of Science honours degree, and a level 3 Diploma which has enabled to me gain a veterinary nursing qualification and also further my knowledge and skills within the veterinary nursing field.
As veterinary nurses, we continue to study and log professional development hours to maintain our registration throughout our careers. I am also a Suitably Qualified Person which contributes towards my professional development hours and allows me to prescribe and dispense POM-VPS products.
What has been the biggest achievement of the year for you?
•Bringing my knowledge of referral nursing by maintaining high standards of care through to the practice and implementing a new structure to the clinical aspect and also to the non-clinical side to improve standards.
•I have achieved the qualification to be a Suitably Qualified Person which allows me to prescribe and dispense POM-VPS medicines.
What do you like the most about working at St David’s?
•The team!! I am lucky to work with a really great group of people. Everyone works so hard and gets on so well, we have a lot of laughs!
•Nothing beats being able to work in such a beautiful location like Nutwell.
•Our practice is independent which for me it means there is more freedom to develop various projects and gain responsibility. I also am able to have regular meetings with the directors who own the business and be involved in the direction of the company.
What has been the highlight of your year?
• It really was ‘Magic’. Magic; a Shetland pony we had at the practice for two weeks with multiple deep laceration wounds. Magic is a beautiful show Shetland who got into a fight with some barbed wire fencing. It was uncertain whether she would be able to show again due to the potential scarring from the wounds. She made a full recovery after intensive wound care, and has been showing already this spring.
• I have been busy creating a new examination room to allow us more space for procedures (to open end of July/August). It will make a huge difference to our examinations and procedures allowing our vets to work in a spacious functional room with ample space for vet students and nurses to be involved with the procedures in a safe clinical area.
What is the most interesting part of your job?
• Assisting in theatre with our vets and also working alongside the Equine Dental Clinic and Langford referrals here at Nutwell, which is a great opportunity to develop further nursing skills.
• I really enjoy using our Karl Storz Endoscope and Telepack. It is a great way to communicate with the client and engage with them while carrying out the procedure.
• Visiting patients that have been in the practice either for surgery or from being hospitalised, and re visiting them after they have been discharged from our care and seeing them thriving at home.
What are your plans for this year?
• I will be organising a weight clinic which will involve a 30 minute consultation with one of our vets and a nutritionist.
• Developing our Vet Nurse Clinics to be able to offer clients general health checks, wound care management, administering of medication, taking radiographs as directed by the vet, blood sampling, prescribing and advising of worming treatments, use of our weigh scales, essential hoof care, teeth checks and advising on any ailments that the owner may be concerned about.
What would your advice be to people wanting to pursue a career in veterinary nursing?
• My advice would be to go for it! This isn’t a glamorous profession but the patients and people you get to work with make the profession dynamic and fulfilling. There are so many options these days to specialise, which has been fantastic for those that want to go down a specific route whether that’s with surgical nursing, medical, neurological, inpatient care, hydrotherapy or rehabilitation and there are many more.
• There are continuous ways to improve your skills, with many cpd courses available that offer a wide range of subjects to suit all, and this in turn will contribute to nurses becoming more confident and having expertise in a specific area or areas.
• I champion any nurse who has achieved a nursing qualification; it requires a lot of hard work, perseverance and dedication. This in turn will reward you with endless opportunities if you continue to drive your career further and reap the benefits learnt through meeting and working alongside fellow veterinary professionals, and other professionals in the work place that can have a big impact on your career pathway. Never turn down opportunities that could be the gateway to a prosperous nursing career."