How long have you been an RVN and where did you qualify?
I have been a veterinary nurse for 5 years. I became a RVN here in the UK this year after completing my overseas qualified pre-registration OSCEs.

I qualified as a veterinary nurse after graduating from the University of Queensland, in Gatton, Australia in 2014. I studied a Bachelor of Applied Science Majoring in Veterinary Technology. I took my first full time position at Sydney Animals Hospitals, where I had completed some of my training, in New South Wales at the end of 2014.

After working in veterinary practice, I knew that I wanted to further my career in the veterinary industry but I wasn’t exactly sure what is it I wanted to do. I decided to further my studies and completed a Masters in Animal Science (Major in Reproduction). My research project focused on the production of canine induced pluripotent stem cells from adult fibroblasts.

Upon completed of my studies I travelled and then begin to live and work overseas.

Where do you work and what does your job entail?
I am currently working in London where I started at a veterinary nursing college in May 2019. Before working in London, I worked as a nurse in a practice in Dublin, Ireland for one year.

I am now a training coordinator at a veterinary nursing college which is part of a large veterinary group spread across London.

My role within the group various but primarily consists of coordinating a level 2 Diploma in Veterinary Nursing Assistance course. This includes recruiting students, planning and organising the course and lessons along with teaching. I also teach on the level 3 Diploma in Veterinary Nursing.

Aside from the college I aid with in-house training in the group, including induction of new staff through correspondence courses and occasionally assist with workshops and CPD programs within the group.

I really enjoy the satisfaction I get from teaching and getting to pass on the knowledge and experience I have gained in my career and studies throughout the world.

Why did you move to the UK to work as an RVN?
One of the things I always found appealing about being a veterinary nurse is that it is something you can do all over the world and there are opportunities everywhere you go.

I have always enjoyed experiencing and living in other cultures, having travelled with my family, and then on my own from a young age as well as participating in an exchange program while I was studying.

In addition to this I had visited London first when I was twelve and then again when I was seventeen and I always said I would live in London one day as I loved the city!

Have you come across any difficulties working as an RVN overseas? If so, how have you addressed these? 
There are always some difficulties. When I was first working in the Dublin, I found that some protocols and practices were quite different compared to what I was used to back in Australia.

As more time passed, I learnt to adapt my nursing skills to meet the needs of my patients in different circumstances. I understood there is not only one correct way to do things and the importance of being adaptable and flexible.

What are your plans for the future?
At the moment I am happy where I am. I don’t have any plans but to keep living in London and enjoying my work.

What other qualifications do you hold?
Bachelor in Applied Science in Veterinary Technology and Master of Animal Science in Reproduction.

I am currently enrolled in my Level 4 certificate in Education and aim to be qualified by early next year.

What key piece of advice would you give to anyone wishing to follow a similar career path overseas?
There is no reason not to give it a go! You never know what opportunities are around the corner or what you might fall in love with. It may be something you never thought of before!

And at the end of the day home is always there waiting for you… if you ever decide to go back that is!

Overseas Case Studies
Alix Whittington