What Do Veterinary Nurses Do?

May is Veterinary Nursing Awareness Month, where the veterinary profession celebrates it’s nurses and everything they do, but what actually is that?

Well, let me tell you…….

They can work, in no particular order; the drip pumps (and stop them making that hideous beeping noise every couple of minutes), the anaesthetic machines, the blood pressure monitors, the x-ray machine and processor, the card machine, the blood machine, the autoclave (a source of mystery to all vets), the computers and when the system crashes, it is more often than not the nurses who know how to access the server and reboot the system.

They are the ones who answer the phone, book your appointments, greet you in the surgery, spoil your pets with treats, then after your consultation, count out your tablets, check your prescriptions and take your payment.

They are the people who settle your pets into their kennels when they come in for a procedure, they will hold them gently and talk to them while they go to sleep and they are the ones who will sit with them while they wake up.

They will prepare them for surgery; clipping their fur and making sure their skin is sterile. They will also ensure the vet has all the equipment they need and sometimes they might even assist with the operation itself. Not to mention that they will be monitoring your pet throughout the procedure (probably not at the same time as scrubbing in!) and they will have been trained to recognise when there is a problem and what to do in an emergency.

Veterinary nurses will not only monitor your pet's anaesthetic, they often scrub up and assist the vet as well!

Veterinary nurses will not only monitor your pet’s anaesthetic, they often scrub up and assist the vet as well!

They will care for them while they are in the hospital, recording what they eat and drink, clearing away their urine and faeces and keeping them clean, taking regular TPRs, being generous with cuddles and working with vets to ensure they are comfortable and pain free.

They will be there when you pick them up, talk you through their aftercare, check their wounds, change their bandages and, quite possibly, remove their stitches when they have healed.

Behind the scenes they will also be taking radiographs, blood and urine samples. They will be inserting catheters, setting up drips, performing scales and polishes and, in some clinics, minor surgeries as well.

They run the puppy classes and will also be on hand as your pet grows up, there to answer any questions you might have, help you through the sometimes challenging adolescent stages and as they reach their senior years.

They will be able to advise you on feeding, parasite control, vaccinations, behaviour, grooming and training. They can clip your pet’s nails, assess their dental health, give them medications, microchip them and help you with weight management.

This is all while running around after the vets, clearing up their messes, making sure they get their messages, assisting them with their patients and chasing them up to report results.

And when it comes to the end of your pet’s life; they will be the ones who book you in at a quiet time, who give your pet a comfy bed to lie on, who counsel you on what will happen, who will talk to you about cremation options, who will hold your hand, provide the tissues and may even shed some tears with you.

So now you know what Very Necessary, Veterinary Nurses do! Everything!

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