RVN says it takes time to adjust to shift work but it’s worth it in the end

Victoria Camburn followed a well-trodden path when she swapped her daytime role for a position working out of hours.

It’s a move hundreds of vets and vet nurses have made over the past few years.

But while Victoria, 23, readily admits the transition to working nights wasn’t straightforward, she has urged anyone considering following in her footsteps to persevere.

“Most people who start working nights feel really tired to begin with,” she said. “In those first few weeks, when you’re heading home at 9.30am, you do ask yourself what you’re doing.

“But you eventually get into a rhythm and, suddenly, it all clicks into place. It can take six months so my message to anyone wondering if nights are for them is to stick at it for six months at least.

“If you reach the six-month stage, you’ll change your mind. Yes, there will be highs and lows along the way but, at Vets Now, if you have a drop you will get plenty of support.”

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Victoria says it takes a while to fully transition to working nights, but it's worth persevering

Victoria’s vet nursing career began when she secured a trainee job at a small practice in Herne Bay, Kent. She worked there for two years before moving to a corporate in her home town of Canterbury for another two years.

She recalled: “I finished my diploma while in my second job but, in all honesty, I was a bit lost. I didn’t know where to go with my career. I knew I wanted to progress so I made the decision to apply for the Nursing Edge programme with Vets Now.”

Nursing Edge is an eight-week induction programme, overseen by Vets Now’s head of clinical nursing Racheal Marshall, that’s designed for vet nurses who want to work in emergency but would like some extra training first.

Victoria added: “The programme really helped me make the transition to both working out of hours and to emergency because I knew what to expect and Racheal actually warned me that it might take a while to get used to it.

“For some people, ECC can be a little bit scary and you worry you’ll be thrown in at the deep end with loads of difficult emergencies. But that’s not the case. The support is there to give you confidence to deal with those situations.”

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Image of vet nurse Victoria Mansfield for Vets Now article on vet nurses
Victoria joined Vets Now's Nursing Edge programme after to gain more experience and progress in her career

Victoria, who works in our Gillingham clinic and is currently doing a certificate in ECC nursing, insists vet nurses who aspire to a more exciting work life will enjoy the cut and thrust of emergency. She also has positive words for those with ambitions to progress.

“There’s real variety in this job,” she enthused. “Daytime practice can sometimes be a bit routine and structural but in ECC you get random cases coming in and there’s always something exciting happening.

“There’s also opportunities to progress. In some other companies there’s a ceiling for nurses but at Vets Now there are roles like head nurse and district manager that you can progress into.

“The CPD is fantastic as well. As well as Nursing Edge, I’ve completed the emergency patient course, which is online and takes 12 weeks, and they’ve paid for me to do the Cert VN ECC. If you work for Vets Now you’re never down on your CPD hours.

“It can be hard work but the learning is all relevant to the job. I might be doing an assignment on acute pancreatitis in dogs and then, lo and behold, a patient walks in with acute pancreatitis.“

Victoria does, however, have some words of advice for anyone considering moving to an out-of-hours role.

She added: “Working out of hours is a balancing act. In between shifts, you need to catch up on your sleep and you’ve got to put your health and wellbeing at the top of your priority list. There’s a lot of trial and error to start off with.

“But if you get it right you can do so much more with your free time. You sometimes get several days off between shifts. My dad’s in Portugal so I go out and see him if I can without needing to take time off of work.”

For further information about vet nurse opportunities at Vets Now and how our CPD package can advance your career, please contact our Talent team on 01383 841 181.