Tuesday 13th Feb, 2018
Ceri Boyd RVN on working with New Graduate Vets and how nurses can help!
I have no doubt that coming into practice as a fresh-out-the-packet vet is absolutely terrifying - a few days ago you were a student, always under the guidance of a senior qualified vet with oodles of experience, and after taking your oath and securing that first job you find yourself in a new, unfamiliar environment with a bunch of strangers who are watching your every move. You are now left alone to consult, make decisions about a patients treatment regime, and actually perform acts of veterinary surgery!
Any decent practice will have a support system in place where you are guided and mentored by more qualified veterinary surgeons whilst you build up confidence and experience. However, the staff you will work most closely with on a daily basis are the veterinary nurses.
"Nurses are your friends!"
As I understand, EMS for vet students can be gained in any practice and so the experience one student gets could be entirely different from the next student, meaning that one new grad vet may be competent and confident at performing said tasks but others may have only done this once or twice.
This is where your RVNs come in! - we are here to help and guide you just as much as your fellow vets. In my 8 years in practice I have come across countless new grad vets and I have found that the best ones are the vets who realise that they can't do everything themselves, and respect and value their nursing team.
Although nurses can't make clinical decisions, most of us have been in practice a while and have seen cases which new grads may not have come across. I personally enjoy clinical discussions with vets, and feel that I have learnt enough to be able to provide help and guidance when new vets aren't sure which direction to go in.
Vets and nurses work very closely alongside each other - it seems that we spend more time together than we do with our partners at home! Our jobs are also physically demanding, and if anything a nurse can pin a feisty cat and save the vet from being mauled!
"we spend more time together than we do with our partners"
There will be times where the vet has a few tries at hitting a vein and the nurse gets it first time, and there may even be times when the vet feels overwhelmed to the point where they can't cope. Your nurse may well be just the person to step in with a hug, moral support and encouragement or just some soothing tea and chocolate.
We don't expect newly graduated vets to come straight out of vet school able to do everything! New grads need to come in to practice realising that everyone, including the nurses, wants them to succeed! Be humble and realise that you don't know everything, and ask for help from another vet or nurse when you are unsure. You will gain a lot more respect by admitting that you need assistance than you would if you let pride get in the way.
"Be humble and ask for help!"
To everyone graduating this year, I wish you the best of luck with whichever path you take, and remember that your nurses are your friends. We are there to help, support and lean on when needed, and we want you to reach your potential and become the best veterinary surgeon that you can be.