Many of you recognise our senior Vet Nurse TJ from our Hokitika clinic. Her role is an essential part of our small animals operations and our staff and clients alike benefit from her vast expertise and knowledge. We took five to catch up with TJ and find out a little more about the lady in scrubs!
Why did you choose the Vet Nurse career?
The day I knew I was going to be a Vet Nurse was the first day I worked with a Zoo Vet as his assistant. At the time I was a Zookeeper, caring for Australian natives including reptiles, marsupials, mammals and birds. But I worked particularly close with reptiles - feeding, cleaning and performing keeper talks, and marsupials – hand-rearing kangaroos, wallabies, wombats and possums. This became a huge part of my role. It was extremely rewarding and I enjoyed every minute of it, however, I wanted to learn more about the medical side and how to care for animals from that perspective. The zoo veterinarian was extremely supportive and encouraging. If it wasn't for him, I'm not sure I would've taken the leap. So, my career path took a curve and I became a vet nurse. That was 20 odd years ago.
What’s your favourite part of the job?
What I love most about my job ... is a difficult statement to finish. I really enjoy the fast pace and variety of the small animal clinic. I appreciate being able to help my team and assist the vets doing what they do best, easing their load as much as I can. Whether it's surgery preparation and anaesthetics, nurse consults and client liaison, monitoring and medicating hospital cases, creating and refining SOPs or supporting and guiding an orthopedic patient with a post-op therapy plan with their owner, I love it. If I can finish each day knowing I did the best I could do, I'm happy. In this industry, it can be challenging to find yourself a part of a well-oiled team of professionals who not only work well together but get along and have a laugh. For as long as I can continue to exercise my vet nursing skills, I will endeavour to keep learning and stretching myself within my role as senior vet nurse.
Tell us about the West Coast!
The West Coast of New Zealand is one of the most beautiful regions I've lived in. Where in the world can you see the sea, the southern alps and a stunning braided river in one shot? It's eye candy and when I'm out amongst it, my soul is cleansed. I spend as much of my downtime exploring the trails and the hills with a pack on my back, a dog at my heels, my husband by my side and a hut or campsite up ahead. It's cruisey and laid back here on the coast and on a good day, it's a great day. I'm not a fan of the cold, or the level of rainfall, haha, but when the sun comes out, it makes me smile.
Vet Nurses have the best pets, tell us about yours.
Maverick is my canine sidekick. Together almost all the time, there is a spot in my heart reserved just for him. I adopted him almost 2 years ago and as with many rescue dogs, he seems to just 'know'. Although Maverick is loved by all and has weaved his way into the hearts of all who know him, he and I have a special bond even my close family and husband can recognise, and respect, lol.