Whether you’re a student or a qualified veterinary nurse, these tips apply, and I use most of them every day!
If you missed tips 1 to 10, you can click here to read 20 Survival Tips for Every Veterinary Nurse and Tech: Part 1
11. Complete CPD
There are going to be areas of nursing that you find more difficult to grasp or understand than others. Don’t forget that CPD is not just for qualified vet nurses and there is no harm in completing extra learning activities even while you’re training as a vet nurse.
12. Ask for help when you need it
There is absolutely no shame in asking for help and no one should make you feel too afraid or embarrassed to ask for it. We all need help, guidance and mentoring and your team is there to ensure you get it.
13. Find a support person
This industry is HARD! Having someone in your life you can vent to or simply talk about your day with is incredibly important for your emotional well-being, which is just as important as your physical well-being.
14. Do research
Every day is an opportunity to learn something new. If you discover a procedure, drug or disease that interests you, go and do some research on your own. Once you’ve explored some of the information available, take it to one of your vets and ask more questions. Ask about their opinions and experiences with it and add that to your own knowledge. Doing this will not only increase your own understanding but also show a willingness to learn.
15. It’s ok to talk about your feelings.
Sometimes we have cases, clients or patients that affect us significantly – in a positive or negative way. Always remember that your feelings and emotions are valid and it’s ok to share them with someone. We cannot always voice our opinions (especially to clients), but our feelings still matter. If you are struggling emotionally with a certain case or patient, please talk to someone as chances are they’ve been through it before too.
16. Yes, you do have to clean that!
Unfortunately, cleaning is a large part of most of our jobs. Sometimes it feels as though all we do is clean! As a trainer, I would never make a student clean or do something that I don’t do myself. So, even though you may feel like you’re being made to do all the worst jobs, remember that we all have to do them … and yes, we hate them too.
17. It’s ok to be private
We spend most of our time at work and this allows us to get close with the people we work with, but it is totally ok to want to separate your work life from your personal life. We don’t always have to be friends with our co-workers, and this doesn’t mean that you’re any less involved or appreciated as a person and colleagues. Whatever your reason for wanting to be private, you are entitled to have your privacy respected.
18. Works on your confidence with talking about death
This, along with money, is arguably one of the most difficult conversations to have with a client. There often isn’t a better way to prepare for them than getting yourself into a position where you are forced to discuss it with an owner. You might not be great at it right away but the more you’re exposed to the different emotional reactions of owners, the more you are able to build up your own responses and use them in the appropriate situations.
19. Take that break wherever you can
Even on those crazy days where you feel bad just going to the loo, take that break! Even if it’s just 5 minutes where you allow yourself to take a few deep breaths and regroup before getting back into it. You are entitled to a break and if you are expected to perform at your best, you need to ensure you look after yourself too!
20. Learn the difference between education and castigation
Earlier I mentioned that we all make mistakes, no matter where we are in our careers. So, it’s incredibly important to be able to recognize when a senior colleague or mentor is using those mistakes as an educational tool to improve our understanding and training, or simply pointing out your mistakes to embarrass or discredit you. It happens more often than we care to admit and if you can recognize the difference, you can take the first steps to ensure this situation changes. Ask your trainer how they would like you to approach the situation next time and encourage further discussion. Always remember that when an issue arises, instead of pointing fingers, point to solutions.