Becoming a veterinary nurse

By Donna Hall

From an early age, I had a love of animals. I grew up with Siberian Huskies and horses, with a particular interest in thoroughbreds, and enjoyed racing. When nearing the end of school, I was researching jobs to best suit my interests and skill set, and it became clear that vet nursing was the role for me. I applied to SRUC college, where I studied hard for 2 years to gain my qualification as a veterinary nurse.

After 5 years as a veterinary nurse, I noticed I thrived on doing nurse clinics, particularly mobility and physiotherapy. I researched courses and started my training as a veterinary rehabilitation therapist, qualifying in August last year. I now have my dream job as a veterinary nurse and veterinary rehabilitation therapist at Paragon, and am completing further qualifications within this field. My role includes mobility assessments, physiotherapy and laser therapy - doing everything possible to assist with pet mobility, whether it’s osteoarthritis or an injury. 

My favourite part of the job is seeing dogs recover from orthopaedic surgery and return to normal life through my mobility plans. I take great pleasure in making the older dog's who suffer from arthritis more comfortable and more mobile - something as simple as being able to run again or jump on the sofa can really improve their quality of life.

I’m a people person too, and being a vet nurse means I get to build a relationship with both the dogs and their owners. I get to know people really well and I thrive on making a difference to their pet's health. 

The more difficult part of the job is when we have to say goodbye to our friends; even though we know we did our best, it’s heartbreaking for everyone. 

My advice to those wanting to become a veterinary nurse would be to get as much work experience as possible. Work in a variety of places, such as catteries/kennels, stables, vets, etc. This will help you learn about animals and experience all aspects of what this job can involve. Every day is different as a veterinary nurse - it keeps you on your toes, so you’ll never get bored. If you’re hard working and passionate about animals, then it’s all worthwhile.