One thing that often puts candidates off applying for a job at Vets Now is the thought of working out of hours.
It’s no secret that pet emergencies happen at all times of the day — not just between 9 am and 5 pm — which means our clinical staff work regular nights and some weekends, too.
But out of hours doesn’t mean all hours. For the vast majority of vets, vet nurses and support staff, it’s about work/life balance as well as the diverse range of cases they get to see as emergency and critical care vet professionals.
To mark the final week of veterinary nurse awareness month, we asked seven vet nurses what attracted them to work out of hours in emergency and critical care, and what they enjoy most about it.
Lesley Moore, Head Nurse, Vets Now Macclesfield
In regular practice, I found I got bored with the routine cases and I think a lot of nurses feel like that, but they’re often put off by out-of-hours shifts. Ironically though, this is when we tend to see the most interesting and challenging cases. There is also a fear they won’t have the necessary skills but at Vets Now there is plenty training in place to ensure everyone is well equipped.
Sarah McLean, Head Nurse, Vets Now Liverpool
Most of the emergency and critical care vet nurses I know thrive on the unexpected, the adrenaline buzz of not knowing what’s going to come through the door next and that feeling of being pushed out of your comfort zone. They enjoy using their skills and practising hands-on nursing — that’s what keeps me doing it. I was attracted to the hours initially more than the actual job because when I started with Vets Now I had just returned from maternity leave. I quickly realised that I found ECC work much more interesting than day practice and now I think I would struggle to return.
Gisele Gomes Rodrigues, Veterinary Nurse, Vets Now High Wycombe
Emergency and critical care is a completely different world. It’s a lot more hands on and I’ve done so much more actual ‘nursing’ in the past six months than I had done in years. Now I don’t think I could go back to general practice.
Alison Conn Vets Now Sutton Veterinary Nurse
"For me, the work we do is more interesting"
Amanda-Jane Rogers, Head Nurse, Vets Now Coventry
Being sole charge nurse can seem daunting, but once you take the plunge you learn so much and really use the nursing skills you may have forgotten you had in a general practice.
I love the not knowing what each shift will bring, it’s always unchartered territory. I have four children and there is no way I could work in general practice due to the daytime hours…and not forgetting the boredom factor! I don’t think most people appreciate how great the work/life balance is when working nights and how it fits really well when you have a family.
Alison Conn, Veterinary Nurse, Vets Now Sutton
I came back to Vets Now four months ago after a two year break. It was mainly for the convenience the hours give me, especially during school holidays. For me, the work we do is more interesting, the pay is so much better and the working patterns give you more freedom.
Emma Roberts, Head Nurse, Vets Now Hemel Hempstead
I was attracted by the flexibility of the rota and that I’m not in work every day, giving me more time at home. Weekends off are precious, but on the plus side, my eight-year-old rarely sees the inside of a breakfast or after school club and I’m able to do the majority of the school runs.
Paige Ratcliffe, Veterinary Nurse, Vets Now Manchester
Routine practice just wasn’t for me. It was just the same thing day after day. I’d never go back now, I love emergency and critical care too much!