Head nurse Lesley reflects on how our Macclesfield clinic is benefiting from her change of career

As a City banker, Lesley Moore enjoyed many of the trappings of a high-roller lifestyle.

But she gave it up for a far more rewarding career — as a veterinary nurse.

Since making the decision nine years ago Lesley, 45, hasn’t looked back and is now head nurse in our Macclesfield clinic, where she has received praise for her organisational skills, attention to detail and mentoring abilities.

“I came to vet nursing later in life,” she said. “I started my degree just after my 36th birthday and qualified when I was 39. Prior to this, I worked in the City as a corporate banking manager lending to the healthcare sector so it was a bit of a career change, to say the least.”

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Lesley’s career change journey began when she volunteered at a cat rescue centre, and then at a charity veterinary hospital, while still working as a banker — and it carried on when she gave up her job to embark on a vet nursing degree at Middlesex University.

It eventually reached fruition when she started her first permanent vet nursing role in a general practice.

“I’ve always loved animals so when I decided to change career, vet nursing seemed a very natural thing to do,” explained Lesley, who lives just outside Buxton in the Peak District. “Quite a few people thought I might not be bad at it which gave me the confidence to apply.

“I did my placement at a large hospital in London, with orthopaedic and cardiology referral. It was a great experience and when I qualified, I quite quickly became head nurse and clinical coach at a general practice.”

After moving to the Peak District in 2014, Lesley worked in a mixed practice for a year before taking on a job as a roving nurse at Vets Now. She became PNM in Macclesfield in 2016, passing her Cert VN ECC certificate the same year.

In the two years since, Lesley’s had a hugely positive impact. Staff turnover has gone down, average clinic review scores have gone up, as have pet owner calls, and there’s a really positive feeling within the team.

The clinic has also been rated as “outstanding” in the delivery of emergency and critical care by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons.

Image of senior nurse Lesley Moore
Lesley Moore began life as a city banker but gave it up to embark on a career as a veterinary nurse

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Asked what steps she’d taken to achieve all of this, Lesley responded: “Quite a lot in two years. Everything for me is about providing excellent patient care so I’ve introduced a quarterly nurse club where we reflect on cases and I present on a topic chosen by my nurses.

“I’m also told I’m renowned for running a super-organised clinic, which is nice. I like the responsibility the PNM role brings. I feel I’ve really been able to make a difference in terms of staff, patient and client care.

“We’ve had some excellent feedback from clients about how caring and dedicated we are and this culminated in us getting the ‘outstanding’ rating in our Practice Standards award, which was a special moment as well.

“I take great pride in seeing how hard our team of vets, vet nurses and support staff work to help our patients. But the biggest compliment I’ve received is when people have said they really like coming to work here.”

It’s reasonable to assume one of the reasons for this is Lesley’s ongoing commitment to mentoring. This is a big part of her role and one she particularly enjoys.

“I’m lucky to have a great team who all help and support each other,” added Lesley, who has a 13-year-old sprocker called Bertie and spends her spare time walking him in the countryside, running, going to music gigs and visiting friends.

“Both of my nurses started on Nursing Edge and I can see how their confidence has grown and their ECC skills have developed from when they first started. It’s great when they teach me something.

“There are opportunities for everyone to progress at Vets Now, particularly vet nurses. Nursing Edge, for example, provides a fantastic platform for those who need further ECC experience before going into a clinic.

“There are part-time and full-time openings within our clinics and hospitals, and there are management opportunities, too, including the PNM role I perform as well as more senior roles such as district manager, which involve fewer clinical shifts.

“All RVNs are encouraged to complete the Cert VN ECC and, unlike many employers, you are rewarded for obtaining these extra skills once you have passed the qualification. But best of all there is the chance to make a real difference.”

Image of a vet nurse working in Vets Now Manchester hospital
Vets Now has a high number of people in senior roles who come from a veterinary nurse background

There are opportunities for everyone to progress at Vets Now, particularly vet nurses. Nursing Edge, for example, provides a fantastic platform for those who need further ECC experience before going into a clinic.

Lesley Moore Head Nurse

Lesley’s advice to those considering following in her footsteps can be summed up in three words: “Go for it,” she says: “It’s a fantastic career with many varied opportunities. At Vets Now, you’ll get a proper induction programme that involves mentored shifts.

“You’ll also be able to take advantage of a flexible rota that takes into account your lifestyle and gives you plenty of opportunity for time off, including your birthday as a bonus extra day.

“Yes, it can be a hard career at times and I don’t always think prospective students realise what’s involved in order to qualify but if you put the effort in you’ll be rewarded. There is nothing as special as seeing a critical patient reunited with its mum and dad after you have played a major part in its recovery.

“One of the other reasons I love the job is I can make important decisions about my team at a local level,” Lesley added. “I have support where I need it and a variety of people I can pick up the phone to.

“On top of that, RVNs are well respected within Vets Now. We are acknowledged as key members of the clinical team and we get to use our nursing skills to their fullest. Where else does that happen?”