You may think that Vet Nurses have it easy, they get to cuddle animals whilst the vets 'fix' them... right? Wrong! Being a Veterinary Nurse is like juggling 8 spinning plates (at the same time as holding a wriggly kitten).
There are many different parts to being a good veterinary nurse. You must love animals (that should be obvious), you must enjoy working as part of a team (you can end up pretty close to your colleagues whilst restraining a large dog) and you have got to be passionate about your work.
The day begins with a hand-over from the Out of Hours team working for Vets Now, they have been on-site overnight taking care of animals who become ill when we are closed, the nurse needs to know how her inpatients in the hospital are doing, and if any other patients have been admitted into our care during the night. Once she is happy, it's on to the present day...
Our nurse is working in the hospital today, it's an early 7:45 am start for her; so breakfast was probably a cup of coffee and cerial bar in the car... makeup? Ha! no time for that.
She greets the animals in the hospital, making sure to give them all a cuddle. She gets to the energetic Labrador at the end and he's pulled out his catheter (for the third time in 24 hours), now she is left with the difficult task of holding him still whilst the vet inserts another catheter; Did we mention this Labrador weighs 35kg!
After wrestling a bouncy Labrador, it's time to start the admit appointments for the animals undergoing surgery today, so it's through to reception to greet their owners and completing the necessary paperwork, when did he last eat... check! Is he on any medication.... check!
Once everyone is settled into their kennels for the day, it's time to start the morning's surgery. First on the list, a 13 year old cat with a heart problem, she's come in for a dental today, no problem - she looks sweet and innocent. But wait, there's a note on her file 'THIS ANIMAL BITES', it can't be that bad the nurse thinks as she takes her out of her carrier; as she does the claws come out and the hissing begins. She doesn't move her hand out of the way quick enough and OUCH, a nasty scratch right along her forearm (that's going to leave a scar). She's learnt her lesson now, so the cat is wrapped in a towel and everyone avoids another injury.
Dental complete it's time move onto operation number two, an anal gland abcess that needs flushing - all vet nurses shudder at the thought of the foul smelling liquid that comes from an infected anal gland abcess... it's enough to put you off your dinner.
What's next? Oh, Lunchtime... great.
It's been a busy morning of surgery and she's feeling re-fuelled after a lunch, which probably came out of a packet, because who has time to prepair fresh lunch when you finished at 9:30pm last night at started at 7:45 this morning. The afternoon involves cleaning up all the mess the vets made during the morning of surgery. Furr floats accross the floor like a tumble weed and there are empty bottles and packets littering the prep room floor, this is going to need teamwork; so the nurses work together to return the hospital once again to a clean and shiny space.
It will take the vets about 15 minutes to undo all of their hard-work, but we can always do it all over again tomorrow.