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When I was young I dreamed of working with animals: Reflections from a Veterinary Nurse

Posted in Guest Blogger @ Oct 16th 2014 - By Amy Hope, VN, TAA Open Colleges
Amy Hope 1

When I was young I used to dream of working with animals. Every day, being known for it amongst my friends and family, being at one with all my furry little followers (whom all of course adored me, co-operated, bonded with me, oh and of course thanked me). I indeed went on to work with them every day as a Veterinary Nurse, and then went on to train and assess other young eager animal lovers after my own heart.

I have however learnt some very valuable lessons on my young starry-eyed ideals.

For example, let’s say what “co-operation” can mean to say a 14-year-old Chihuahua in need of a nail trim. Let’s not forget how a stressed feline in need of a catheter change “thanked me”. Nevertheless, a career as an animal carer is something we all seem to have had born in us, drawing us in. "A calling. A vocation" as a lecturer at a nursing conference once told me, and boy it has stuck.

It is not easy to endure the trials, the heartache, the hours and stress that come with our territory. Not to mention swiftly becoming connoisseurs in all bodily fluids, our hands and forearms turning into pincushions while earning black belts as kennel cage door ninjas.

The emotion of a day can range from wonderful highs to heartbreaking lows.

I remember these days well, seeing a beautiful Kelpie just adopted from a shelter at the ripe old (not to mention arthritic and grey) age of 14. His charming little personality won him some very comfortable twilight years with an equally charming little family, then merely hours later, those lows. The 'I wish I just stayed in bed' kind of lows. A good Samaritan brought us a small emaciated Staffy that they had just witnessed being dumped out of a hatchback car on the edge of town, whilst the car simply drove off leaving him on the side of the road.  Yet he was somehow still one of the happiest little guys I had ever seen. I'm quietly confident I can actually hear you all agreeing, all having experienced a variety of emotional stories and states in one day, or in mere hours, and sometimes having to remind yourself to be that little kid you used to be who dreamed of working with animals.

The stories we will hear are never ending, and no matter how many years pass, there will always be something to continually surprise, shock and yes, test us in this world of Vet Nursing.

So my fellow 'rank fluid connoisseurs', pin cushions and door ninjas, I do want to leave you with something.  Something else that happens a little too regularly in clinics, something small that always amuses me greatly (and yes, yes I know what they say).  Something we do in the Veterinary industry is to use a lot of shorthand and abbreviations, always trying to fit as much in as possible, and usually in a non-technical rush. So I wanted to share some appointment notes I have come across, the importance of punctuation (come on we've all done it) and my interpretation of these appointments. Enjoy your work and keep smiling with the knowledge you all have an amazingly beautiful career.

“Vomiting diarrhoea” – Aw man really? It’s gross enough when it comes from the “expected” end

“New pup - seeing worms” – Can anyone else see these worms? Or is this puppy hallucinating?

“Wee problem” – As opposed to a big problem.

“Fatty Lump” – The already diagnosed appointment..... it’s a fatty lump... NEXT

“Gone in back end” – Where has he gone?

“Falling down no reason” – No, I'm pretty sure there is a reason

“Can't stand not eating” – I hear that.... Speaking of… I'm hungry.

Enjoy your work and keep smiling with the knowledge you all have an amazingly beautiful career.

A qualified Veterinary Nurse and Trainer and Assessor for online education provider, Open Colleges. Amy has worked in busy general practices in regional Victoria. Whilst completing her Cert IV in Veterinary Nursing training, she qualified with high distinctions and received an award nomination for outstanding academic achievements. Discovering a passion for training, decided to take on a role in the vocational education sector.

Amy's passion for veterinary nursing and continuing education is huge. She has a particular interest in behaviour and client care and believes that continual education is vital to nurses and pet owners alike. 



lisa blair @ Oct 31st 2014 9:23am
My favourtie ever was from a vet who believed brevity was a virtue so the entire history sad:4 HBC (hit by car) - bit flat

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