I felt that veterinary nursing needed a bit more of an explanation, in general, and on a daily basis than is available. It is neither all cute animals nor all horror stories. To be a qualified VN needs a dedication to a lifestyle that you will become disillusioned with yet addicted to.
I generally work with small animals, not large although l have worked with horses. So my ravings will mainly be based on the small animal sector, unless l am locuming at a large animal practice and get to do any work with said beasts.
The wages go from bad to acceptable and usually sit in the not great bracket. Training if done via NVQ is a minimum of 2 years and it is not easy to get. It has become complicated and training practices are closing their doors or already have full quotas, usually 1 or 2 trainees at a time. You can go the diploma route but that is just as hard finding placements.
You will get bitten, scratched, spat at and compare scars with other veterinary staff. Unlike your human counterparts, where abuse from patients is not tolerated, our job accepts abuse from patients, although it would be nice if owners warned us that "mummys snookums" is really a tiger in disguise.
There is no blocks on mobile phones so expect them to go off when you get to the most important part of the discharge, or just as you have finally got a grip on the rabbit, that the vet is trying to examine which is so spooked it keeps trying to leap over your head and splat against the wall. ... this leads to the splat that you were trying to avoid and the owner glaring at you for failing to protect their precious pet.
The hamster that is so sweet to the 6 year old child attached to the vet's finger with the tenacity of a limpet, you place mental odds if the vet will swear in front of mother and child, or manage to just stay red faced while making whimpering noises trying to remove the deadly creature.
You need to harden your emotions or it will tear you apart. This does not mean loose them it means sitting hard on them when you need to.
Putting down an old ill animal that has reached the end of a quality life, or a patient young or old that is dying from injuries or illness is l will use the term easy.
The young patient that the owner can not afford vet's fees for as they do not have insurance, or the animal is peeing on the carpet and to modify the behaviour is too much trouble. Now is the time you need to accept that this job is from hell but the patient is what counts and helping make their last moments less stressful no matter what you would like to do to humans in general or their owner in particular.
The good times roll around daily though and the animal in for a routine operation that bounces out with it's happy family.
The dying patient that was pulled round with intensive nursing and veterinary work, that everyone gave no odds of survival on, goes out with one last snarl at you for putting all those needles in to the ailing body and a silent wish in your mind that you do not need to do the post op checks, you just know that the former patient when fit, is going to try and eat you.
The owners that want to do the best for their pet and not only listen to your advice but follow it.
Anal glands and blow back from blocked cats can sometimes be aimed with deadly accuracy at a vet or other member of staff. This is great but bear in mind that they have the same "tools" at their disposal and will generally get you back when you least expect it.
Going out for a meal with work friends can cause green looks from tables around you when you discuss cases without thinking.
These and other goings on in life at a veterinary practice make the job worthwhile.
There is 101 tasks to do when you are a qualified veterinary nurse here is some of them.
You will find that you can eat a curry smothered in tomato sauce minutes after cleaning a kennel full of Parvo bloody, stinking diarrhoea and vomit.
Place iv catheters in puppies, kittens, adult animals or bunny ears.
Place urine catheters.
Run lab tests.
Carry out schedule 3 procedures.
Hold animals while they are examined or put down.
Deal with dangerous dogs or feral cats, young children abusive or stupid owners.
Run nursing clinics include the following - post op checks, geriatric, worms/parasites, dental, firework fear, animal keeping, nutrition, weight clinics, nail clipping, anal gland emptying, behaviour (basic only for more intense problems find a COAPE or APBT member)
Set up and take x-rays.
Face abuse from vets and/or nurses.
Work nights checking inpatients, alone in a high risk job with no security or back up, that costs money.
Depression is rife.
I have not yet decided if l love my job or hate it, but l have yet to find one that can compare with it for variety and interest.