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A day in the life of a Veterinary Nurse

Veterinary Nurse Awareness Month takes place in May each year. It first started back in 2005, by the British Veterinary Nurse Association (BVNA), to raise awareness and celebrate the vital role vet nurses carry out in practice. While no two days are generally actually the same, we thought we’d give you an insight into what happens on a typical day for our vet nurses.

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7.30am:

Arrive at the Hospital for a hand over with the night nurse about the inpatients.

8.00am:

Start to take the patients (dogs) for their morning walk on the grass. This lets them stretch their legs and get fresh air/do their business! Following their walk, they will have their temperature, heart rate, respiratory rate and weight checked (all of which is recorded on their patient’s hospital sheet).  If allowed, the patients will then be given a carefully formulated meal to aid recovery.

9.00am:

Day patients will start to arrive at the hospital for surgery or other procedures.  They will be admitted by the vet and the theatre nurse.  We will then prepare the patient for their procedure that day.  This will involve taking blood samples, inserting IV catheters and administering their pre-medication.  Once all the day-patients are admitted the theatre vet and nurse make a surgical plan for the order in which the procedures will be completed.

img_1919.jpg9.30am:

A key part of the Veterinary Nurse’s role is to then assist the vet during surgery.  The theatre nurse will help the vet anaesthetise the patient and then monitor the patient throughout the procedure.  They will be using a wide range of monitoring equipment, plus their own senses, to observe the heart rate, the respiratory rate, mucus membrane colour and temperature of the patient and will adjust  the anaesthetic levels accordingly.

11.30am:

Once the patient is out of theatre the kennel nurse will then look after them in recovery area on a nice warm bed.  Once they’re awake enough the nurse will offer them food and water and take them out for a walk.

1.00pm:

After all the morning procedures are complete it is time to clean and prepare the surgical instruments and theatres for the afternoon procedures – plus of course, any emergencies that might come in.

3.30pm:

When it is time for a morning patient to go home the nurse meet the owner for a discharge appointment and discuss their pet's aftercare. Good care at home is essential for a good recovery!

They will also dispense and explain any medication that needs be given and how long for.

4.30pm:

Once all day patients have gone, the kennels and cat enclosures will all be cleaned and made ready for patients arriving the next day.

Looking after sick patients that are in the Hospital is a 24hr job – inpatients are monitored frequently throughout the day by the kennels nurse and their progress recorded on their hospital sheet.  The night nurse will arrive at 5.30pm and take over from the day nurse; they will of course make sure they know all the detailsabout the inpatients.  The night nurse will then take over the care of the patients until 8.00am the next morning.

As a Veterinary Nurse we have to carry out many duties within the practice, including theatre work, kennel duties looking after the sick inpatients and those day patients in for surgery.  We also carry out nurse consultations which run all day at the practice and assist the vets sometimes if they need us in one of their consults.

If you want to know more about how important veterinary nurses are to the care we give your pet, please feel free to talk to one of us! 

If you are interested in a career in Veterinary Nursing, please take a look at the BVNA website by clicking here: https://www.bvna.org.uk/

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