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A Day in the Shoes of Student Vet Nurses, Abbie + Ella!

Abbie and Ella trimming Rhubarb’s nails

There are two ways of becoming a Registered Veterinary Nurse (RVN): by undertaking a vocational qualification (working in a training-approved veterinary practice while studying for a diploma) or through a higher education (degree) course involving clinical placements.

Abbie and Ella joined Team Ralph as part of our Patient Care Assistant team, and last year progressed to Student Veterinary Nurse (SVN) positions as they both work towards their Level 3 Diploma in Veterinary Nursing.

Without further ado, Abbie and Ella, it’s over to you…

What does your day as an SVN look like?

Ella: Working as Student Vet Nurses (SVNs), the shift timings we do are either 8am-4pm or 12.30-8.30pm. On the 8-4 shift I spend the day with our Diagnostic Imaging team (including radiography nurses). This gives us hands-on experience with positioning patients for and taking X-rays. We are involved with setting up the imaging machines in the morning, taking CT and MRI scans and interpreting the images afterwards. It’s a really great opportunity to learn new skills and test my knowledge on radiography from lessons at college!

Abbie: During the 12.30-8.30 shift, we tend to be based in one of the Dog Wards but sometimes Cat Ward too. We work alongside the ward nurses, who just like the nadiography nurses have taught us so much! I give medications and help look after the patients. Feeding and cleaning is a part of the role too, and we give out loads of cuddles which is a very rewarding part of the job.

What do you most enjoy about the role?

Abbie: Being an SVN is hugely enjoyable and I love the job. It’s so rewarding and I get to work with a wide range of patients with different medical needs. You can learn something new every day. I enjoy working in such a positive environment, with a lot of people with a huge range of experience. The Ralph stands out from the rest: the team encourages you to learn and wants you to be the best person you can be.

Abbie positioning Nova for her X-ray

Ella: Spending time with the patients and watching them progress each day is so rewarding. At The Ralph I really feel able to care for the patients in such a kind and compassionate way, and knowing that you helped in the recovery of a patient and gave them the best care that you could is the best part of the job. I’m surrounded by amazing and inspiring people. Everyone is always willing to share their knowledge and help me develop my skills. The nurses on the team have been amazing and continue to support, teach and guide us as students. I’m so grateful to work in such a positive and friendly environment.

Ella preparing medication

… and the least?

Abbie + Ella: Diarrhoea, especially before lunchtime!

What motivates and inspires you in life?

Abbie: Being where I am now inspires me to carry on, because I know I have come so far. I am close to completing my course and becoming an RVN, which is something I have always wanted to do. My family and boyfriend also inspire me to achieve my goal and be confident in myself to complete this.

Ella: I am inspired every day by the nurses I work with and I hope to continue to learn from them and become a great RVN. I’ve always been passionate about helping animals, and that still motivates me today to qualify as an RVN. My family and friends are my biggest supporters and they inspire me to reach my goals and be the best version of myself.

What advice would you give to someone wanting to qualify as a Veterinary Nurse?

Abbie: Make sure you are definitely ready to be a SVN, it isn’t easy and there is a lot of work you have to do. This sometimes means saying no to plans, which can be hard but you just have to remember you are doing this for yourself and those that truly want that for you will be by your side throughout your journey. It is all going to be worth it in the end when you are qualified and can call yourself a Registered Veterinary Nurse!

Ella: Being an SVN isn’t easy as there is the constant juggling of work and study and it can be difficult at times to keep the balance right and make time for yourself. However, having support from everyone around you is a huge confidence boost and a great motivator.

That’s all for now, but this certainly won’t be the last you hear from Abbie and Ella. We’re all behind them as they continue their training, and have every faith that very soon they will be caring for patients as Registered Veterinary Nurses. 

Take care,

Team Ralph 🐾



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