We recently caught up with Zoe Lord, who is Head Veterinary Nurse at Ash Tree Vets in Market Harborough, Leicestershire. The Buddies team came up with questions to find out more about Zoe’s role at the practice.
What does a normal day entail for you?
‘The morning begins by looking after the inpatients who have been in with us overnight. We will walk them, clean them out, feed them, perform vital checks and medicate them. We then start admitting patients for operations that day.
The day will then vary from nurse to nurse.
As a nurse, we can take blood samples and place intravenous catheters for the vet to administer the anaesthetic. Once the patient is asleep, we then monitor the anaesthetic to make sure the animal stays asleep and alive. We then clip and clean the area where the procedure will take place. Once the procedure is finished the nurse will recover the patient until they are awake enough to go home.
Some nurses spend their day in the laboratory testing blood and urine, and also looking for creepy crawley’s under the microscope, such as mites and ticks. This is the area where personally I feel the nurse can excel, as the veterinary surgeons don’t spend any of their time in the lab, so the nurses can really do investigations into potential diseases under the vet’s instruction.
Nurses can also do other investigations such as x-rays and can perform minor operations.
We train students within my practice, so I have done numerous courses after qualifying to enable me to train new nurses.
Some nurses spend their day consulting, which involves clipping nails, doing health checks, placing microchips, doing puppy parties and giving vaccinations etc.
Once patients are ready to go home, the nurse will discharge them, giving vital information and instruction to the owners.
For the animals which are too sick to go home, a nurse who looks after the inpatients will make sure the owner is updated on how their pet is.’
What’s the best bit about the job?
‘For me, the best bit of the job is making the patients better and caring for them. As a nurse we go into the job for the patient care. Veterinary surgeons are more clinical and diagnose diseases rather than deal with the inpatient care.’
What is the worst bit about the job?
‘Most people would think it would be putting animals to sleep (euthanasia), but for me it’s not. Most of the time it is the kindest thing we can do for our pets and it’s a selfless act too. The worst part of the job is watching animals suffer for many reasons…when people are not educated and let their animals decline, when people can’t put their animals to sleep as they feel they will just die in their sleep (which they don’t), or due to people not having insurance or the money and can’t afford treatment.’
A huge thank you to Zoe and the wider team at Ash Tree Vets for taking the time to talk to us and also send over these fab images.