May is VN Awareness month, an awareness campaign run by the British Veterinary Nurses Association to help the general public learn more about what your veterinary practice nurses can do to help you! We spoke with Megan, one of our ‘nearly’ qualified veterinary nurses to chat about what a veterinary nurse does in their working day!
“A day in the life of a veterinary nurse is a busy and varied one. Our standard working day is up to ten hours long and our rota is generally split into one of four roles; the inpatient, theatre, pharmacy and consult nurse. Most of our team can work any role and as nurses within the practice we cycle through these roles throughout our working week. All of them involve caring for your pet in different ways, so I’ll talk you through what each role brings to the practice team!
“The inpatient nurse is responsible for ensuring that all of our inpatients who are staying with us are fed, watered and have their medication requirements throughout the day. We will also make sure they are well looked after, working with our animal nursing assistants and student nurses to ensure they are taken out to the toilet regularly, have their vital signs monitored when necessary and ensure that their required veterinary health check ups happen during the day with the veterinary surgeon on duty. We also ensure that clinical records are kept up to date and ensure the general hygiene and environment is suitable for your pet.
“The operating theatre nurse role is a very large one with lots of responsibility. Once patients have been checked by the vet, the nurse will often be in charge of taking blood samples as required and placing intravenous catheters. We also calculate and draw up pre-anaesthetic medications under the veterinary surgeons guidance and prepare our patients for theatre. Once in the operating theatre, we will assist in monitoring the patients anaesthetic an recover the patient after the operation. Nurses who are registered with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RVN’s) are also allowed to perform minor surgical procedures such as stitching up a wound, removing small skin lumps or dental descaling and polishing. If a patient is admitted for x-rays, we will often position the patient and take the x-rays for the veterinary surgeon to interpret.
“Nurse clinics are another area where a nurse is actively hands on, and often very busy. We run nurse clinics at both of our branches daily, and appointments can vary to include; Post-Operative check ups, Weight check clinics, stitch removals, nail clipping, puppy and kitten check ups, bandage check and changes, K-Laser therapy sessions, second vaccinations and blood testing.
“Our pharmacy nurse role carries various tasks and roles throughout the day, from sorting and checking off our daily drugs and materials order through to assisting veterinary surgeons in consults and preparing client prescriptions, Another aspect of our pharmacy nurse role is to carry out in house laboratory tests and prepare samples for our external laboratory. Amongst all of this when we can, we help our reception and admin team to answer the telephones and ensure that clients visiting the surgery are assisted.
As you can see our nurses carry out a very valued and varied role in our practice and we wouldn’t be without them! In addition to having qualified and registered veterinary nurses within the practice we are also a training practice for student nurses. This means that we have registered nurses who are clinical coaches within the team who take the role of a mentor for student veterinary nurses and sign off a wide variety of training elements required by the course. Later this month we talk to Beth Newby, one of our student nurses, about her training, so don’t miss this if you are considering becoming a veterinary nurse!