Part Four: A Specialist Service Role.
I am Laura, the consulting nurse at our Kenilworth surgery where our Dermatology Referral Service is based. We operate this clinic every other Thursday and we are generally very busy so my job becomes mostly about assisting the specialist, Steve Shaw, in his consults.
This can be anything from restraining patients for their clinical exam, taking, running and processing lab samples, dispensing medication, assisting with procedures such as skin scrapes, Intradermal Allergy Testing and ear flushes. Working with Steve has recently given me the opportunity to compete a Certificate in Dermatology, which is something I never would have been able to do without his help and knowledge.
On the Thursdays that Steve is not in the practice we try to have a regular day, although this never quite goes to plan! The day can vary massively.
Generally I start at 8.30am with a morning of consulting which includes post op checks, admits, health checks and weight clinics. Being the only nurse on site the majority of the time I also need to assist the vet in taking blood samples, blood pressures and also admitting patients for the day’s procedures.
After consulting has finished I spend my time with the day patients, making sure they have everything they need and doing a health check to make sure they are fit enough for the general anaesthetic. I also need to set up for the procedures and run blood samples.
Normally, this all happens before 11am. We then get on with procedures. I normally have control of the anaesthetic while the vet performs dentistry, mass removals, castrates and neuters. Sometimes, if I am lucky enough to have another nurse assisting me that day, I am able to perform the dental scale and polishes under vet supervision.
Once procedures are finished I concentrate on recovering the patient and cleaning up the mess the vet has made! The afternoon then consists of further consults, assisting the vet, cleaning, processing lab samples, completing insurance forms, sorting stock levels, updating rotas and speaking to clients. Sometimes we have the odd house visit thrown in too.
The Kenilworth branch is a lovely little clinic and we are a great team. Quite often I end up running behind on jobs I need to do because I am nattering to regular clients that pop in to collect food or weigh their pets. I love that, being the only nurse on site, I really get to know my clients.
I actually finished for maternity leave recently and found it quite hard to say goodbye to my regulars and hand them over to my maternity cover (although I am sure she’ll do an amazing job). Weight clinics and diet chats seem to be my main area at the moment.
I feel proud that vets are confident in my abilities and that they often refer their clients to me for weight clinics or to discuss a suitable diet. This can be incredibly challenging, but the buzz you get when your patients have hit their optimum weight and the clients notice a massive change in their pets activity levels, and even improvements in their mobility and pain levels if they have conditions such as arthritis, is truly incredible and gives you the most rewarding feeling.
Friendly, Dedicated and Compassionate