Wanna be a Vet Nurse?

Published on August 25th, 2011
Wanna be a Vet Nurse?

What exactly does a vet nurse do?
A vet nurse basically does what a normal human nurse does, the only difference is that we work with animals.

We prepare the animals for operations, administer and monitor anesthesia during operations, assist with operations, do the post-operative care, take radiographs, give injections, draw blood for blood tests, do other necessary laboratory tests, place animals on drips, change bandages, do physiotherapy, dental work, nursing of critical intensive care patients and newborn/young animals and a lot more!

How I got here
I studied a two year Diploma in Veterinary nursing at Onderstepoort, Veterinary faculty. After I graduated, I worked at a small animal referral practice in Pretoria. I have always wanted to work with wildlife and so I did a wildlife nursing course at a game reserve in the Eastern cape where I met the head vet from Shamwari, Dr Johan Joubert. Last year February, on my birthday, I received an email informing me of a vet nurse position opening at Shamwari and I immediately sent through my CV.

Subjects I needed to pursue a career as a vet nurse:
The most important subjects that I needed were maths and either science or biology.

The most challenging part of my job is…
With wildlife, every animal gives you a different challenge, but the biggest challenge is when a sick, injured or orphaned animal comes in. It takes a lot of hard work and patience to nurse the animal back to health and if it’s an orphaned or abandoned animal, getting the right milk formula and getting it to feed takes even more patience!

I love my job because…
I love working with animals, every day I learn something knew and each different animal teaches you something. Caring and successfully rehabilitating and releasing an animal is very rewarding!

If I could be doing anything else, what would it be and why?
I probably won’t do anything else, because caring for animals is all I have ever wanted to do. If I am forced to do something else, I would love to be a professional show jumper! (Hehe!)

Did you enjoy Maths and Science at school?
They were not my favourite subjects initially, but I knew in order for me to study what I love, I had to learn to enjoy it and I eventually did.

Things that are still baffling your mind?
Some animals do really strange and unexplainably things!

Top three gadgets?
I only really have one and that is my cellphone.

Words of wisdom to aspiring vet nurses…
If you love animals and want to help and care for them, vet nurse is definitely the way to go! It is hard work, but lots of fun and very rewarding! I love every moment of what I do and have not one day regretted being a vet nurse, especially when it comes to caring for baby wildlife!

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