10 Reasons Why Vet Nurses Are Awesome!
1) They are brave
I mean like seriously brave.
Have you ever seen a frightened cat do the wall of death in a confined space, all 18 claws and a mouthful of razor sharp teeth aimed at your head? I have, and I have watched (from afar), as the RVN just rolled her eyes and caught the miscreant with nothing more than a towel and some quick reactions.
They are equally calm and confident with hysterical dogs, even the really big ones, and who was it I watched clamber onto a client’s house roof in order to rescue their injured cat?!
Not all superheroes wear capes – some dress in bottle green!
2) They are kind
Veterinary nurses treat every patient with affection and love, from cute fluffy kittens, where it isn’t that hard, to the halitosis ridden geriatrics, where it is slightly more challenging! They have a kind word and a gentle touch for all their charges. They can also, on occasion, when required, be pretty to nice to their veterinary surgeons!
3) They are skilled
Veterinary nurses don’t just take amazing care of your pets when they stay in the practice, they are usually actively involved in their treatment as well. They can collect blood samples, place catheters, take x-rays, assist in surgeries, do physiotherapy and monitor drip lines. They are there when patients go under the anaesthetic, monitor them while they are asleep to ensure a smooth surgery and then stay with them until they have fully recovered.
In some practices they even perform minor operations.
4) They are knowledgable
The training a veterinary nurse undertakes lasts at least two years, often longer, and covers all aspects of veterinary care and medicine and all species as well.
The level of detail they learn is seriously impressive. So when the vet says ‘could you pass me the clamps, you know the ones shaped like a duck’, a nurse will roll her eyes and dig out, what she knows are called, the Doyen Bowel Clamps.
They are also mines of information when it comes to behaviour and diet and dental care and parasite control and, of course, the mysterious inner workings of the veterinary practice itself!
5 ) They can work ALL the machines!
It’s not just the pets and the vets nurses look after, they are usually also the guardians of all the complex bits of kit in the clinic.
I have never met a vet who knows how to work an autoclave and very few know one end of the in-house blood machine from the other. Not to mention the dental equipment, which has at least 5 different hand pieces, an (unnecessarily complex) water supply and a temperamental air pressure system. Also the computers and their mercurial software packages, the cautery equipment, the blood pressure monitor, the endoscope, the ultrasound, the x-ray. A list which, thanks to bosses who love ‘toys’, is endless!
The nurses not only can get all of these machines to work, they can usually perform running repairs when they go wrong (often because a vet tried to be ‘helpful’!).
Heck, even replacing the battery in an otoscope is beyond some vets (often because they have no idea where the batteries live!).
6) They have the strongest of stomachs
All of us in the veterinary world have cast iron constitutions. The amount of bodily fluids and odours we deal with on a daily basis soon sorts out the more sensitive souls but it is the RVNs which are in the front line when it comes to s**t shovelling.
Imagine, for example, a small, self contained isolation ward containing an entire litter of St Bernard puppies with parvo virus. This, for the uninitiated, causes affected animals to produce large volumes of bloody, foul smelling, watery diarrhoea. Which they will then often lie in, because they feel so poorly they don’t have the strength to move around much. Whose going to be keeping these patients and their kennels clean? Clue – it ain’t the vets!
7) They keep the shelves stocked
Every veterinary practice carries a huge amount of stock; medications, food, bandages, specialist bits of equipment, and although the vets will use it up, they won’t be the ones to replace it. Trust me – it’s hard enough to get vets trained up to tell someone when they have taken the last thing off the shelf, let alone re-order it from the supplier!
It’s the RVNs that ensure we always have the drugs and kit we need, that the tablets your pet is on are ready for collection and that their prescription diet is available when you run out.
8) They are animal lovers
It may seem obvious but I really think few people understand the depth to which RVNs care about animals. The ones in the practice, the ones they have at home and the ones in the wider world.
I have never worked with a nurse who didn’t own pets herself and most of these will have been acquired though the clinics. You know those mangey strays that often pitch up on the practice Facebook pages? Or the ones who have been in accidents and no owners can be found? Once they have been patched up and nursed back to health, they often find themselves living in the lap of luxury with a veterinary nurse.
They are also notorious for taking their work home with them. The local charities know who to call if they have a litter of kittens that need to be hand-reared or wildlife that needs to be rehabilitated!
9) They look after everyone
Yes, they care brilliantly for the animals in the practice but they also look after the people too.
For vets they are a shoulder to cry on after a bad day, a cheerleader when we need a pick-me-up, a massive support during stressful surgeries and general all-round brilliant work buddies.
For clients they will take the time to ensure you understand your pet’s problem and the care they need. They will be on hand to answer questions, support you throughout your pet’s life and be with you at the end, with cups of tea and tissues for the tears.
10) They are in charge!
Look around your veterinary practice, it may seem like the vets are in charge. They, after all, are the ones giving the orders, deciding the care plans, performing the surgeries but look closer and you will see it is the RVNs that keep the show afloat!
We couldn’t do our jobs without them – and we know it!