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Veterinary Nurse Profile – Vicky Lewis

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.

Vicky, one of our Rotation Nurses here at Abbey House Veterinary Hospital in Morley, kindly took time out to tell us about life as a vet nurse.

How long have you been a Vet Nurse and what route did you follow to qualify?
I have been a qualified Registered Veterinary Nurse (RVN) for 2 years now after completing my Foundation and Bachelor degree in Veterinary Nursing at Nottingham Trent University.

What attracted you to a career as a Veterinary Nurse?
I was interested in biology at school, and as a result, wanted to follow a medical path; but I soon discovered that humans aren’t as fun to treat as animals!

What does your job as Registered Veterinary Nurse entail?
What doesn’t it entail! We do everything from Inpatient care, taking blood samples, taking radiographers, monitoring anaesthesia, placing IV catheters, supporting veterinary surgeons, dispensing medications, performing lab work, scrubbing into surgeries, triage emergencies, bandaging wounds, being an animal welfare ambassador, dental nurse, nurse clinics and everything in-between.

What is the most rewarding thing about being a Vet Nurse?
Seeing a critical patient you’ve spent hours/days/weeks working with go home with a happy family.

What kind of attributes do you need to be a good Vet Nurse?
A stiff upper lip, strong heart, brave nature and a loving and caring soul, whilst not being afraid to get your hands messy.

What advice would you give someone thinking about a career as a Vet Nurse?
It is a lot of hard work, its a messy job, its not glamorous and you often get overlooked as a nurse. But all of the hard work that goes into becoming an RVN and treating animals is so gratifying. You’re changing and saving lives and it is so rewarding.

What are the best things about working at Abbey House Veterinary Hospital?
The nurses here are great; professional but know how to have fun! The Vets are always ready to educate and allow nurses to grow to their full potential.

What would be your career highlight so far?
Completing my Bachelor top up degree in Vet nursing whilst working full time and gaining my dream job at Abbey House Veterinary Hospital. Other highlights that come to mind are gaining my AFHEA qualification and being nominated for Vet nurse of the year 2019 – SO many happy times!

Have you completed any additional training to support you in your role?
I became a clinical coach (CC) to train student nurses training in veterinary practice. I also became a practical examiner for Veterinary nursing students performing OSCE practical exams and have also obtained my Associate Fellow into Higher Education Academy (AFHEA).

What’s the next step in your career pathway?
I plan to start my Emergency and Critical care certificate so I can advance my knowledge in this area. I also have a keen interest in diagnostic imaging so will look into certificates for nurses within this area too.

Thank you Vicky 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