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Being a veterinary nurse is a really good career. It can open so many doors.

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Melissa, Veterinary Nurse Apprentice

I started my veterinary nurse apprenticeship in 2017 after working at Vets4Pets Andover for four years. I first started in reception, and after my maternity leave, I came back as an animal nurse assistant. In that role, I did a lot of cleaning and feedings, took temperatures, read pulse rates and had reception duties.

I started working with animals when I was 22 years old as a Cat Care Assistant with Cats Protection in Birmingham. I’ve always been interested in animal welfare, and unfortunately, I’ve seen animals who have been mistreated and in a terrible state. It’s really rewarding to help animals and to make sure they’re well looked after and well cared for.

I’ve always wanted to be a vet nurse. I’ve been inspired by the work of the vet nurses in my practice, and my veterinary surgeon colleagues have really encouraged me to pursue my career dreams. My managers were very helpful with putting my apprenticeship into place and liaising with Sparsholt College in Winchester where I do my studies on day release. Before I started though, I did need to go back to complete my GCSEs in Biology and Maths. I’m thankful my colleagues saw the potential in me and continue to be willing to help me reach my goals.

My colleagues are actually brilliant. If I need time off to study, they give me time off, and they help me to revise. They talk things through with me, and when they have an interesting case, they make sure to involve me as much as they can. They are really supportive.  

Apprenticeships can be difficult because you’re juggling your job with studies and everything else in your life that requires your attention. I don’t have a lot of time to myself, but I wouldn’t be able to pursue this career if it wasn’t for an apprenticeship. I’m not in a position to go to university to pursue a vet nursing degree.

What I like the most about my apprenticeship is just learning and becoming smarter. You get to learn about anatomy and physiology and everything about the body and how it works and how you can make pets better. That’s what I love. I’m most proud of passing my anatomy and physiology exams because I never thought I would have been able to do that. A lot of students fail these two courses and then drop out of the programme. I’m also impressed that I can now place a catheter into a vein. Also, I’m quite reserved as a person so doing consultations and dealing with people in sometimes difficult situations has been a big step for me, and now, it’s something I really enjoy.

I always wondered if I was good enough to be a vet nurse, so it’s great to know that I am. It’s been a pleasant surprise for me to learn what I’m capable of doing. Eventually, I’d like to become a head nurse or specialise in a particular area. I’m quite interested in laboratory work and anaesthesia.

Being a vet nurse is hard work, and it’s not all puppies and kittens. You deal with a lot of bodily fluids and mess, but it’s really worth it and super rewarding, and you learn so much that you can take into many areas. It’s a really good career, and it can open so many doors. I would encourage anyone to go for it. 

To find out about available apprenticeship training with Vets4Pets, please email apprenticeships@vets4pets.com. 

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