Lauren says she can do the kind of nursing she’s always wanted to do at Vets Now

“I’ve known I wanted to be a vet nurse since I was little. Never a vet, always a vet nurse.”

Those are the words of Lauren McLeary, veterinary nurse at our Stoke clinic.

Having spent five years in day practice, she joined Vets Now after deciding it was time for a new challenge. Six months later and she says it’s the best decision she’s ever made.

Lauren’s experience perfectly demonstrates how a vet nurse role in emergency and critical care can lead to a more rewarding and fulfiling career.

In this Q&A Lauren, 24 from Stoke explains why a career in ECC was definitely the right move for her.

Image of a vet nurse and animal care assistant for Vets Now article on vet nurses

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Can you briefly describe your career?

I worked in one general practice for five years. I volunteered, did my training and qualified there. I wasn’t unhappy and I wasn’t looking to move, but when the job at Vets Now came up I decided to take the jump as I knew I couldn’t stay in the same place forever. It was the best decision I’ve ever made as I’m much happier where I am now. The team is lovely and I’ve got a better work-life balance with more time to myself.

What does your job involve?

I do everything from reception to basic nursing to theatre. I feel like I get to do more of the kind of nursing that attracted me to the job now than I did in general practice. We do more intense nursing at Vets Now because we need to when a patient is critical. In general practice, it’s much more routine whereas at Vets Now the work we do is much more hands-on. I feel I do a lot more now than I did before.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

Being able to help patients and see the outcome. When a patient has been in for a few days and finally gets to go home, you know that you’ve succeeded in what you wanted to do.

Image of Lauren McLeary for Vets Now article
Lauren spent five years in day practice before making the move into ECC

What’s the culture like at Vets Now?

Everyone is really supportive, whether in the clinic or in the support centre. If you’ve got a question nothing’s ever too much trouble. If you need extra help with anything everyone is happy to explain things. There’s really great morale.

What do you enjoy about ECC in general?

You never know what’s going to come through the door. Every shift is different. I’ve seen more in the last six months working at Vets Now than I saw in five years in general practice. I’ve also done so much more. ECC lets you expand on your skills and push yourself and you benefit from it so much.

How would you describe your job?

It’s definitely not mundane. Vet nurses have much more involvement with the patients and the clients than vets do. Once the vet says what’s wrong and what should happen it’s the vet nurse who follows things through. So I think it’s more hands-on and it’s more about patient care on the nurses’ side.

What’s a typical shift like?

There’s never a typical shift. It’s either one extreme or the other. You either have nothing coming through the door or it’s a Saturday night and non-stop. You can never describe a typical night because they’re never the same.

What has been your favourite moment in ECC?

We had a dog come in recently that had been exported to China from Ireland and a charity managed to get her back to the UK. She’d had some care that had gone a bit wrong. This dog had obviously been put through so much and you’d think she’d have lost all her faith in humans but she hadn’t. She was always wagging her tail. She needed intensive nursing and I think she must have been with us for 12 to 14 days. Then I came in one day and I was told that she’d gone home. She’d come to us in such a poor condition and we got her to the stage where she was eating on her own and then she was able to go. I felt so proud because I knew that I’d helped her make it.

What advice would you give to anyone following in your footsteps?

If it’s something that you want to do then pursue it. Obviously, it’s hard work to get to where you want to be but once you get there it’s so rewarding. So I’d say stick at it and you’ll get there eventually.

Image of Vets Now nurses
Lauren recently attended a clinical training course at our support centre in Dunfermline

Everyone is really supportive, whether in the clinic or in the support centre. If you’ve got a question nothing's ever too much trouble.

Lauren McLeary Vet nurse Stoke

What makes Vets Now a unique employer within the veterinary industry?

I’ve never received as much support as I do at Vets Now and I know that if I have an issue it’ll get sorted. Someone is always at the end of the phone if you need help and you never feel like you’re on your own. There will always be someone to help so you never feel like you’re sinking.

How has Vets Now supported you to achieve your goals?

Vets now really try to encourage you to better yourself. There’s always CPD on offer and they set targets with moodle and clinical forums. Continual professional development benefits staff and Vets Now in general so it’s a win-win.

What are your ambitions for the future?

Hopefully doing the Cert VN ECC but I know it’s hard work, so I’m plucking up the courage to do it.

Would you ever return to first opinion practice?

I don’t think so. The nursing in general practice is so different to what we do in ECC. I think in day practice things can get a bit repetitive and you turn into a bit of a machine whereas you don’t get that in emergency. I never thought I’d leave day practice but now that I have and I’m settled in ECC I think it’s the best thing I ever did.