This week’s Sector Spotlight is on Land-based industries. This includes those who work in farming and the various industries and businesses that support it.
Today, we hear from Lindsay Grant who is a Registered Veterinary Nurse with Northvet. Lindsay always knew she wanted to work with animals and started with Northvet on a work placement while still at school. This led to a Saturday job and, after leaving school, training to be a Vet Nurse and a full-time job with the business. In addition to this, Lindsay runs dog grooming business Hair Off The Dog from home.
Can you describe a typical day in your job?
My job is very varied. I admit animals for operations, prepare them for surgery and monitor their anaesthetics. I take care of them following their procedures, eventually discharging them and giving post-operative instructions and going over any medication with their owner. I also clean the theatre, sterilise instruments and clean kennels.
Along with the vets I check and prepare repeat prescriptions.
Some days I run nurse clinics where clients can bring their animals in for nail clips, weight checks, administering flea and wormers, etc.
I also do a fair bit of admin work including filling in insurance claims and running our Best of Health Club.
Alongside this, I also do dog grooming at home.
How did you end up in your current role as a Vet Nurse?
I always wanted to work with animals. I was very pro-active and got my own work placement at Northvet while I was still at school. This lead to a Saturday job and when I left school I went to do veterinary nurse training and got a full-time job at Northvet. Thirty years later I’m still here!
Dog grooming was something I did for my own dogs, then a few friends, then a few more and so on. I’m self-taught and did offer it as a service at Northvet before finally setting up my own little part-time business at home.
What is the best thing about your job?
It sounds corny but I do love animals! Surgery is great and some of the things we do are amazing but I really enjoy the simpler things nurses can do to make an animal feel better. There’s no better feeling than having a patient who hasn’t been eating take that first mouthful of food from you and you know they’re really on the road to recovery.
I love the variety of animals we see and the challenges some of them bring, either with their treatment or their temperament. Plus, puppies and kittens NEVER get boring!
What is the worst thing about your job?
Everyone thinks that the worst thing would be putting an animal to sleep. It is very sad but I feel very strongly that this is the last, least selfish thing an owner can do for their pet – giving them a dignified end.
The worst thing for me is seeing an animal suffer. It can be especially hard if this suffering has been caused by a human. Also, losing a patient that you have tried your best to save. These cases can really affect you.
What skills do you need to undertake your role?
Communication is very important. When we have a patient in our care we have to be aware that this is a member of someone’s family. This person may be worried or upset and we have to be able to communicate effectively with them as passing on information about treatment and medication is very important.
As a nurse I work closely with other nurses and vets to give the best care to our patients. Our other staff are involved too, taking phone calls, greeting clients and passing information between us and them. It’s a real team effort.
Attention to detail is a must – making up medications must be exact. Also recording information on a patients file or hospitalisation chart must be done correctly.
You also need to be able to be professional at some difficult times and not allow your feelings to show. This is when it’s important to be able to talk to other members of the team.
What qualifications do you have?
As I’m so old I have ‘O’ levels! I then did a YTS (Youth Training Scheme) on Animal Care before eventually completing my college course and becoming an RVN.
I do Continual Professional Development which is required by my governing body, The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons. I must complete at least 45 hours over a three year period.
Would you recommend this job to young people, if so why?
Veterinary nursing is not just a job it is a career. You can’t just go home and forget about your day. Yes, you get to see puppies and kittens but more often than that you are cleaning up whatever comes out of either end of a patient, getting scratched or bitten, dealing with animals who may be in pain and clients who may be upset.
It’s not something everyone can handle but if you can it is hugely rewarding. You can develop real bonds with your patients and play a very important role in their and their owners’ lives.
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