Have you ever wondered what it would be like to step into the shoes (or crocs) of a veterinary nurse for the day? Now you can …our blog follows Head Nurse Kelly during a typical day at SimplyCats
5:30 am Get up and get ready for the day ahead (dressed, prep lunch, sort family life, Wordle so we can check at work who got the best score!)
7.15 am Leave for work after eating breakfast with my daughter Matilda, and squeezing in some morning cuddles (we shared a Weetabix and a cup of tea - doesn't every 3-year-old?!)
8 am Arrive at SimplyCats and prep the clinic for the day (including making up beds in the cattery for incoming patients and op theatre set up including instruments)
8.30 am Our doors open and our patients due for admission start to arrive. I sign everyone in for their procedure, talk through any concerns, carry out pre-op checks, update weight records and settle the cats in for the day. I transfer them to a bigger enclosure, take pre-operative blood samples and place catheters for intravenous fluids where appropriate. I then prepare their anaesthetic drugs and any medication.
9.30 am Once our in-patients are in and settled, my nurse consultations begin. These can be nurse checks as part of a pet plan, blood pressure monitoring, nail clips, weight checks, flea and worm treatment, post-op checks, 2nd vaccinations, microchip checks etc. Our nurse team also runs bespoke clinics for behaviour, geriatric and weight management.
After Morning Consults Outside of consulting times, I assist in theatre procedures. I can be found preparing patients for surgery via pre-medication, surgically prepping the op site and placing a catheter for induction of anaesthetic. Once anaesthetised I can place an endotracheal tube to maintain the patient's airways and monitor their parameters (vital statistics such as heart rate, respiration, temperature, blood pressure, and blood oxygenation) throughout the procedure.
As a trained anaesthesiologist I am able to maintain an appropriate plane of anaesthesia. Once the procedure is completed I reverse the premedication drugs and clean the patient's procedure site. It is also important to monitor the patient during recovery and remove their endotracheal tube as they begin to wake. While all the time monitoring their heart rate rising to a normal conscious level, along with their respiration rate, mucous membrane colour and temperature.
Once satisfied with their recovery I will hand them over to our patient recovery area where our Animal Care Assistants will continue to monitor them. They will offer some food and water and their owner with an update as well as arrange a discharge appointment.
Afternoon I see some nurse appointments, similar to the morning clinic. I then hand out our day patients and go through post-operative care instructions with their owners. I can honestly say that I truly love my job...I’ve been in the industry for over 15 years now and I still get a warm, fuzzy feeling when I get in my car going to work. For me, the most rewarding thing about my job is treating a patient until they are feeling better and receiving the unconditional gratitude that comes with it.
6 pm Our doors close, but our work is still not done. This is the time we deep clean the clinic and sterilize any instruments from the day's activities. We also face a pile of laundry from the cats (you would not believe how many towels and blankets we use on a daily basis!) We also prepare for the next day.
7 pm I head home to see Matilda. It’s time for her bedtime routine; bath, story, a chat about her day, and a cuddle before bed. Once Matilda is asleep, my partner James and I catch up on each other's day, have a meal, put our feet up and watch about an hour of TV (Peaky Blinders always goes down well) then get ready for the next day to do it all again tomorrow!
I adore my regular clients who specifically ask for their cat to see me, it makes me feel so special and valued. Like any job it has its dark moments, but, what I’ve learned from being in the role is that you start each day with a clean slate and strive to provide the best care possible...treat the patients as if they were your own is my unbroken philosophy.
If you are interested in becoming a registered veterinary nurse the BVNA (British Veterinary Nursing Association) has some great career advice online.