VET NURSE AWARENESS MONTH Q&A with Jamie Whitrow

May is Veterinary Nursing Awareness Month, a whole month dedicated to raising awareness of the veterinary nursing profession and the vital role they play in animal care and treatment.

What was started as an awareness day by the British Veterinary Nursing Association (BVNA) in 2005 quickly grew into a week and expanded even further to a month in 2012.

Jamie Whitrow is a veterinary nurse at Cave Veterinary Specialists and kindly took time out to tell us about life as a vet nurse.

How long have you been a vet nurse and what training did you have to do to achieve your qualifications?

I have been nursing for 14 years. I did my training at Bicton College in Devon, by the NVQ route. I am a Registered Veterinary Nurse (RVN).

What attracted you to a career as a vet nurse?

I knew I always wanted to work with animals from a very young age, but it took me until I was 23 years old to realise that vet nursing was the path for me.

What are the best things about being a vet nurse?

The best thing about being a vet nurse is seeing the pet improve from being poorly to going home, watching the interactions of the patient and owners when they are reconnected. I am very interested in the nutritional support of the patient. I like being able to do my best to help that patient get well again, the variety of cases I see and always learning from them. There is never a day that you don’t learn something new, even after all those years.

What kind of attributes do you need to be a good vet nurse?

Attributes I think you need to be a good vet nurse are being caring, compassionate, open minded to different ways of thinking, strong willed and motivated. You do develop a strange sense of humour at times, but this is what keeps you strong through some tough times. A strong stomach helps, some of the sights and smells are pretty horrific!

What advice would you give someone thinking about a career as a vet nurse?

Advice I would give to anyone wanting to become a vet nurse would be, go for it, but be prepared for it to be hard work to get there – it’s all worth it in the long run. Working with animals is a job of passion, it won’t make you rich, you will work long days and some anti-social hours. There are good days, there are bad days, but teamwork gets you through. Your team-mates will be your best friends, they will see you through every emotion, known to humans, but they will always have your back.

What are the best things about working at Cave Veterinary Specialists?

The best things about working at Cave Veterinary Specialists are the team. You spend a lot of time with them and they always have your back. I love the variety of cases we see; every day is very different and the flexibility and support received from seniors to do the subjects you would like to do – for me, that is doing my certificate in small animal nutrition. The acceptance that part time work is necessary.

At home I have my husband, daughter Kacie and two dogs, Aga the English Springer and Maizy who has joined us from local rescue, our nutty little Chihuahua cross terrier.

I also run my own part-time dog grooming business around my vet nursing, I love the combination of the two jobs. It makes for a slightly hectic life, but I wouldn’t change it. For more information on Vet Nurse Awareness Month, visit www.bvna.org.uk/about-us/veterinary-nursing-awareness-month