The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) has honoured a long-serving vet nurse for her 40 years’ service to the profession.
Deborah Holland, of Cave Veterinary Specialists, near Wellington, in Somerset received a commemorative certificate from the RCVS at a special ceremony in recognition of her dedication to duty.
The 58-year-old, from Yeovil, says she was surprised but delighted by the award and hopes her distinguished career can inspire young vet nurses who are just starting out.
Deborah said: “It’s a job I love and I was proud to be presented with the award. It was a lovely day out, although I was slightly embarrassed to be recognised for having been a veterinary nurse for so long!
“I really hope my career can be an example and inspire younger nurses to stay in the profession for years to come.”
Nele Van den Steen, co-clinical director at Cave Veterinary Specialists, said: “We are all delighted that Deborah has been honoured by the RCVS in this way.
“She has dedicated her working life to the care of animals and shows no intention of stopping any time soon.
“Her years of experience and the expertise she has gained over 40 years is a massive benefit to us all here at Cave. We’re pleased to have her!”
Deborah’s career started in Barnet, Hertfordshire, in 1979 when she was a bright-eyed, animal-loving teenager earning just £10 a week.
In the four decades since, she’s had some wild and exotic experiences treating a vast array of animals.
She added: “My patients have been very diverse over the years including equine and farm animals, llamas, alpacas and a scorpion!
“One special memory is anaesthetising a rattlesnake which was double the length of the operating table and had to be looped around its perimeter, so the tail ended up next to the head.
“I also recall turning up to work on one occasion to be told I needed to anaesthetise a fawn ready for leg-straightening surgery and another when I had to assist the police collecting a swan from the road.
“You are never sure what you might be doing or what sort of animal you will be treating the next day.”
Deborah’s seen many changes over the years, most satisfyingly the way vet nurses have become more integrated into practices.
She said: “There were no nurse-led clinics when I first qualified and vets used to be responsible for clipping nails, applying bandages and taking bloods themselves.
“Now nurse-led clinics are common place to give help and advice, change bandages, place IVs and take bloods, allowing the vets to focus fully on treating the animals.”
So what is Deborah’s advice for vet nurse students training for the profession today?
She replied: “Listen to the advice you are given, even if you think you already know. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, there is no such thing as a silly question.”