Iona Birschel signed up as a VN Futures and STEM ambassador in June 2022, and in this blog offers us an account of her first experience in providing a careers activity at her local high school.

Why I wanted to be an ambassador

I’ve always wanted to give back and inform the younger generation about veterinary nursing, as I first learnt about it at a careers event in high school when I was 13. Our role still isn’t that well known, and a lot of people still don’t know what the job fully entails, so I was keen to inform pupils and parents about it to inspire the younger generation. I have been a STEM ambassador since June of this year through the VN Futures School Ambassadors Scheme.

Careers event

I went to a careers event on 2 November at Eastwood High School which was aimed at pupils of all ages. My younger sister, who attends the school, made me aware that it was taking place. Whilst I was the only vet nursing representative in attendance, there was also a vet, GP, medical student and a locum GP, so all our roles came into the medical field. This has been my first and only careers event so far.

Lots of interest in veterinary nursing

I wasn’t expecting many people to be interested but I had lots of interest in the end and it was a very successful evening. I felt like I had really achieved success in teaching a variety of people about the role and informing them about vet nursing, especially as there were some students that didn’t know it existed!

Careers materials

I found that providing materials for people to take home was really useful, so people could read more about it in their own time. I even got a boy interested, which doesn’t happen very often! The careers officer seemed impressed and has kept my number to hopefully get back in touch with me again.

The ambassador resources provided through the ambassador scheme were very useful. I had made up approximately ten information packs to give to pupils who wanted further information about the role/courses. I included the ’10 Great Reasons to Become a Veterinary Nurse’ poster, the ‘VN roadmap’ and the veterinary nursing word cloud. I also included some materials that my former college kindly supplied me with about the VN course. The materials were easy to use and simple to read. In the future, I think it would be useful to have a supply of materials sent to ambassadors already printed, just to save some time. However, overall they were very useful. I guided pupils to the VN Futures website so they could still read up on vet nursing at home if they didn’t get a pack as these ran out very quickly!

My next event?

I don’t currently have any further sessions planned but would like to do another one soon. As I’ve now completed my first activity, I can now better gauge how many materials to supply in the future. I would like to stick to career events in high schools for now. My vet practice has been very supportive about giving me time to prepare for these events.

If you are interested in becoming a VN ambassador then please visit our School Ambassadors Scheme page where you will find a link to register for the scheme. We look forward to welcoming you!

Iona Birschel RVN