Veterinary nursing: a job that makes a difference

I started my veterinary nursing career at a relatively late when compared with most nurses. In 2006 at 31 years of age, I decided that I wanted a career that would make a difference. I thought being a human nurse would be the way to go. My partner said, “Don’t be a nurse, be a vet nurse.” This was a career that, until then, I had not even thought about. This was the turning point.

I engaged in a part-time course and while I didn’t quite mesh with my tutors, I excelled in my theoretical studies. Unbeknown to me, my tutors were, quite simply, worried about my practical success. Until I began workplace training. I arrived for my lesson for the evening and came out of my silent shell as I explained the joy of being a part of my first caesarean. My tutors later explained their concerns and that those concerns were put into the past when they saw my passion after this experience. I then launched into being the best nurse I could be.

Six years on, I cannot look back. Every single day is a learning experience and no day is the same. Needless to say my own pets were my guinea pigs during my training and they deserve a medal for the rigours I put them through. They were very tolerant and forgiving, with the help of numerous treats.

My passion for animal care is non-negotiable. This goes without saying, but along with the ups there are the downs and there certainly is a skill to managing the emotional roller coaster that comes with vet nursing. There’s the absolute joy of running puppy pre-school and seeing the uncoordinated fumbling chaos and incompliant cuteness of the first week become the semi-controlled pups showing off their new skills, even if a food lure is needed, in the last week. Then there’s the worry of seeing a pet struggle through illness and the relief when it comes out on the other side, ferociously happy and with an appetite for destruction. There’s also the unfortunate task of euthanasia. Although humane it does hurt to take away a life that has brought so many delightful memories and provided such companionship. My very first euthanasia was more than heart-wrenching, and although I did not know the owners personally, the desperate anguish in their tears drove me home to cry myself to sleep that night. Although now my emotions are contained at these times, my thoughts always draw back to the owners and their feelings of loss. Continue reading Veterinary nursing: a job that makes a difference

AVBA essay: Managing stress

It’s been one of those days… a morning filled with surgical cases then an afternoon crammed with consultations and as the day draws to a close there’s that difficult client who has you cornered. Over 20 years working in practice I witnessed many instances of stressed out vets and nurses, physically tired and emotionally overdrawn, leaving work for the day with nothing “left in the tank”.

Sound familiar? A high level of stress within caring professions almost appears to have become the norm. Study after study has shown that stress raises our risk of cancer, heart disease, allergies and susceptibility to colds and flu. New research has revealed that when our systems are constantly bathed in cortisol the body loses its ability to regulate inflammation.

Take charge! Stress management begins with identifying the sources of stress in your life. I agree, it isn’t as easy as it sounds but look closely at your habits and attitudes. Try to identify the regular stressors in your life and the way you deal with them. Take the same approach you would with a patient – detail the symptoms and construct a treatment plan. Consider how you cope with stress in your life. Are your coping strategies healthy or unhealthy? You could be unknowingly sabotaging yourself and compounding the problem. Continue reading AVBA essay: Managing stress

Vet editor on winning taiko team

Taiko no Wa.

A team of 12 Sydneysiders – including The Veterinarian editor Luke Martin – have beaten nine competing finalists to earn first place at a Japanese drumming contest in Tokyo, Japan.

The team, a group of students of Sydney professional taiko performers TaikOz, appeared under the name Taiko no Wa at the 10th Tokyo International Taiko Contest in the group performance section.

The contest took place in late August at Tokyo’s Aoyama Theatre. Continue reading Vet editor on winning taiko team

Wildlife photography competition a hit

Joe Hong an Anatomy Laboratory Assistant at Murdoch University has won the Murdoch University Wildlife Association’s 2011 Wildlife Photography Competition held recently in Perth.

The competition, open to staff and students at Murdoch University, drew more than one hundred photo entries featuring an array of wildlife from African carnivores, to marine mammals, birds, insects and zoo animals.
Hong won the competition with his image of a family of primates walking across a fallen log in the jungle.

Second year Biomedical Science student Samuel Montgomery was awarded second prize with his evocative image of a Tasmanian Devil and first year animal science student Ian Barron took out third prize with a cleverly composed image of two birds. Sen Hon Won’s stunning underwater image of a fish under a jetty on Mabul Island in Malaysia won the People’s Choice Award voted by those who had viewed the exhibition of photographs. The winners received a gift voucher to The Finishing Touch Gallery in Fremantle.

Veterinarian and photographer Phil Tucak judged the photography competition and gave students a presentation about his photography including some tips and advice on taking photos. Tucak said the photographic entries in the competition were of a very high standard which made judging difficult.
“There were so many interesting and captivating shots, which highlighted the quality of the photography, making it hard to choose the winners,” he said.
“Many of the African photos are taken on the annual Veterinary Conservation Biology trip organised by the vet school, whilst other students travel to Africa and other Continue reading Wildlife photography competition a hit