#BestForPets Magazine Edition #3 (Spring 2022)

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A day in the life of... a consulting vet nurse Holly East gives us a behind-the-scenes peek at what really goes on during a typical day in the life of a vet nurse.

rate of knots, leaving them ready to be attached to the correct products. It’s all in the teamwork and we always get it done. Occasionally I even get to the end of the list before lunch, but it’s unlikely, and even if I do, it’ll probably be just as long as it was when I come back to check it again! Once I’ve finished with a block of consults, I’ll head back into prep to help where I can. This might be cleaning down theatre, running some bloods up to the lab for testing or taking over from someone so that they can go for lunch. The afternoon consults might begin with another nail clip, or there might be an emergency that rushes through the door and needs our full attention. We grab stethoscopes and oxygen, catheters and equipment to place them so that we have access to veins, pain relief at the vet’s request and we all work together to stabilise the patient, talk to the client, find out what happened and go from there.

One appointment down, about twenty more to go…

A vet nurse’s day starts with putting the kettle on. Mostly because we need the caffeine but also it’s the only hot cuppa we’re guaranteed to drink that day!

waiting patiently while I gently snip their nails to the correct length and solemnly listening to my profuse compliments and thanks while I tell them that they are “the best and most wonderful, brave good-boy”. Other times, the patient is having none of it. I call it the “alligator death roll” when the (usually small) patient is so determined not to have their nails clipped that they begin doing 360-degree spins in their owner’s arms in an attempt to evade me and my trusty nail clippers. Sweating profusely and using every yoga position ever invented to reach these evasive poddle-paws, nine times out of ten I wave goodbye to the patient and their freshly pedicured feet with a sense of achievement and still proclaiming that they are the “best, brave good-boy”. The one time out of ten we do what we can, wave them goodbye and go in search of a lint roller, some deodorant and the kettle.

The consults fly by in a whirlwind of second vaccines, health checks, anal gland expressions, weight checks, injections, blood tests, post- operative checks, more nails clips, ear checks, treatment applications and so much more. It’s so rewarding when the cat whose spay you monitored the anaesthetic for a few days ago comes back with a beautifully healing wound and sits purring in your arms while you check them over and congratulate their owners on their excellent post-op care. Or when the elderly dog who was struggling with arthritis comes bounding in for their monthly injection and you barely even need to ask how they’re getting on at home because they’re standing on their back legs covering you in kisses. In the meantime, fifty or so people (ok, I may be exaggerating a little bit) have called in to request flea and worm products. I make a start working through the list, much to the delight of reception who get the fright of their lives when the label machine starts spitting out labels at a

Once that important bit is completed, it’s time to enter into the fray and get stuck in wherever I’m needed the most. This might be holding a patient for a blood sample, taking a temperature, pulse and respiration (TPR) reading for an in-patient, helping to place a catheter in preparation for an operation or simply popping a load of washing in.

Once my appointments start, I’ll find myself a consult room, check it has everything I need for the day and read through my cases so that I’m prepared for my patients. Nurses see a huge variety of appointments so no two days are ever the same.

Today, my first appointment is a nail clip. Now, these can go one of two ways. They can either go really well or really… not so well! Sometimes the patient is wonderfully genial; politely offering me their paw,




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