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May is Veterinary Nurse 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.

Vanessa is one of the head nurses at Hawick Veterinary Practice and she kindly took the time out to tell us about her life as a Veterinary Nurse.

1) How long have you been a Veterinary Nurse and what route did you follow to qualify?

I started as a Student Veterinary Nurse 17 years ago. I studied at Barony College in Dumfries (now known as SRUC) and did my practical training with the wonderful Ashlea Veterinary Centre in Carlisle.  I have worked with Hawick Vets for 15 years as a qualified Registered Veterinary Nurse (RVN). 

2) What attracted you to a career in Veterinary Nursing?

I've always absolutely adored any type of animal, so it was only fitting that I found myself a career that cares for them.

3)  What does your job entail?

My job is so varied day to day.  Veterinary nurses do consultations advising on nutrition, behaviour and life stage changes.  We also give second vaccinations to puppies and kittens, microchip pets, clip nails and administer first aid.  We monitor anaesthetics, take radiographs, scale and polish animals’ teeth under general anaesthetic, take blood samples, give medications and start intravenous fluids under the direction of the vets. We care for animals as they recover after operations and when they are poorly.  Although, we're nursing animals, we’re also working daily with the owners which I love. 

4) What is the most rewarding part about being a Veterinary Nurse?

Although there are sad moments in this career, there are so many wonderful moments.  The most rewarding part is being able to nurse an animal back to health.

5) What attributes do you need to be a good Vet Nurse?

I would say you need to like animals to start with.  Being kind, caring and compassionate is also important.

6)  What advice would you give someone thinking about a career as a vet nurse?

Firstly, work hard at school, this way many doors will open for future career choices. Work experience within different animal related industries is helpful, and also lets you see if Veterinary Nursing is something you really want to do.  Although it's a wonderful job, it's hard work and requires focus and resilience and it's good to get an insight into the profession you want to enter.   It's such a fantastic role, and if it's something you think you'd be great at then I advise you go for it. 

7)  What are the best things about working at Hawick Veterinary Practice?

I'm so lucky to work with such an amazing team. We really do have the best clients and pets a practice could ask for too.  We're more like friends, and I feel that gives clients peace of mind when having to bring their pet to us. 

8) What would be your career highlight so far?

Becoming one of the Practices' Head Nurses was definitely a highlight for me.  There have been so many highlights throughout my career though and it's hard to pick just one. Making bonds with clients and their pets is always the best thing for me. 

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

I regularly attend lectures and training on different topics and techniques.  This helps me to stay up to speed with latest changes etc. 

To summarise, I really couldn't be more grateful for this role.  Every day is different and challenging in its own way.  I love being a veterinary nurse!


Thank you Vanessa for sharing your story.

To find out more about the role of RVNs in veterinary practices, or if you are interested in finding out more about a career in veterinary nursing, visit the BVNA website

Hawick Veterinary Practice

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1 Earl StreetHawickTD9 9PZ

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