Part Three – The Head Consulting Nurse.
A Veterinary Nurse’s role in practice is very diverse and as Head Nurse at our Hinckley surgery this is very true for me. Many nurses enjoy being “all-rounders”, enjoying every aspect of their job from the buzz of a busy operating theatre, to patient monitoring and intensive nursing of critical patients and interacting with the public.
Some of us particularly enjoy certain aspects of Veterinary nursing; my own passion is working alongside a local dog rescue centre and providing preventative health care advice to our clients to help their pets to stay fit and healthy.
A typical (or not so typical) day in my life at work can run as follows…
An early morning made up of admit appointments where we discuss procedures with pet owners. Many pet owners are understandably worried whenever their pet requires a general anaesthetic. Helping owners to understand what will happen to their pet during their stay with us and being able to answer any questions helps owners to feel more at ease. I am a pet owner myself and can empathise with those standing “on the other side of the table”
Morning consultations can bring a mixed bag of experiences. Yesterday began with a follow-up weight check on a cat that has regularly been attending one of our nurse-led weight clinics. Cats are not the easiest of patients to diet but following a carefully made plan and by using the appropriate diet, the good news is that we are now at our target weight! This fabulous feline is so relaxed at her visits, she hops straight out of her basket and immediately sits on the scales.
Next up, a post-operative check up on a mischievous puppy who swallowed something he shouldn’t which caused him to become obstructed. It’s hard to believe how quickly the little chap has bounced back from major surgery.
After a busy morning surgery it’s time to tackle every nurse’s nemesis – admin. We work closely with a local rescue centre, East Midlands Dog Rescue, a charity very close to my heart. I volunteer once a week at the rescue, putting my nursing experience to good use and I also fundraise for them in my spare time. I help to coordinate the veterinary treatments that many of the dogs in the rescue require.
Some dogs entering the rescue are in a neglected state and require treatments to be administered in stages; it is my job to ensure that we work with the rescue to facilitate a programme whereby every dog completes each stage of treatment. Some treatment plans can be very complex requiring the skills of different vets within the practice, whether that be Hugh and Simon Howarth with their laparoscopic skills, Viv with his excellent clinical knowledge, Simon Want with his legendary dermatology skills or Mark Taylor with his orthopaedic skills.
Admin as it may be, I really enjoy planning and helping these dogs on their journeys to their new lives. Owning two rescue dogs myself I have nothing but admiration for those people who work in rescue and make such a difference to so many lives.
And so we reach evening consults and like the morning session this can bring a whole host of interesting cases. One of the regular tasks we have is to discharge day patient cases. There is nothing more satisfying than reuniting a pet with their owner. At these appointments we talk owners through their pet’s procedure, demonstrate how to administer medications and helping them to understand how to look after their pet during their recovery.
The evening consults run as follows…
Firstly, a lovely Cockerpoo in for her check-up as part of our popular Pet Health Plan. This lovely lady is about four years old now and I first met her as an eight week old puppy. She loves coming to see me as she knows she will get a tasty treat. A full check-up reveals that she is in excellent health but has started to build up a little bit of tartar on her teeth. After a chat about how to look after her teeth in the long term, we agree to book her in for a descale and polish which will be followed up by a good home care plan.
A golden oldie in next, a very regal senior cat who is also a member of our Pet Health Plan. As part of our Pet Health Plan we offer discounted blood screens to our senior pets. Cats, being the master of all disguise that they are, are very good at hiding illness and an annual blood screen can pick up some conditions early which enables us to begin treatments earlier leading to a longer and better quality of life. Blood pressure is also checked during these assessments. High blood pressure in elderly cats can be quite common and if left untreated can cause sudden blindness amongst other things.
My final appointment of the night is a little puppy (what a way to end your day). The puppy has been seen by one of our vets for a full health check and first vaccination and then it’s the nurses’ turn to chat about preventative health care and to provide advice on correct diet, toilet training, pet insurance and general husbandry. I love to be part of the journeys that our clients embark upon when they have a new puppy or kitten. It can sometimes be a little daunting for people knowing where to source the best advice for their new addition, we are on hand to help and provide support wherever we can.
During and in between consulting sessions, I will help the vets both in consultations and in our patient preparation area, restraining patients for blood sampling (many of these blood samples are run by the nursing team in-house), helping the vet to perform pre-anaesthetic checks – temperature, pulse and respirations, assisting in setting patients up on intravenous fluids, cleaning instruments and packaging them ready for sterilisation, cleaning kennels, sweeping and mopping floors.
Never a dull moment!
Friendly, Dedicated and Compassionate