Who is your current employer and what do they do
Warwickshire College, Further Education college. Animal Welfare and Veterinary Nursing.

What is your job title and what does the job entail?
I am the veterinary nursing course manager. This means that I manage most aspects of the college part of the student learning. My responsibilities include planning of exams. Tracking of lesson delivery to the required syllabus content and planning the delivery of the program. I also have a role as internal quality assurance which involves ensuring that the assessors are working to the required lead standards and that the students are being supported appropriately. I also have to communicate with the external quality assurance team to assist with maintaining the standards that are awarding body lead.

I am the external examiner for Vetskill awarding organisation for the level 3 diploma companion animal in veterinary nursing. With this role I look at various aspects of the program to included assessment, quality assurance and delivery which is reported to Vetskill then shared with the regulatory body.

I am also the external examiner for Wrexham Glyndwr university for the Foundation degree in veterinary nursing.

How did you achieve your current position?
I started as an hourly paid lecturer and worked my way via title changes and progression to the veterinary nursing course manager.

What do you enjoy about your job?
I enjoy being able to support the students through their journey in veterinary nursing. I like to ensure the students are grounded and open minded and non-judgemental with clients when they leave the course. My passion is ensuring animals have all their needs met and that the standards of nursing that the students give are what they would expect for their own animals. My passion for holistic patient care and evidence-based nursing is one of the key things I hope that the students gain from their time with me.

What are the challenging aspects about your job?
I have multiple health conditions that affect my day-to-day living. In 2012 I was diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer, at this time I was the veterinary nursing course manager at Warwickshire college and a locum emergency nurse for vetsnow. Due to the effects of my treatment and the trial drug program I was put on I had to take 12 months away from my jobs. My employer was supportive and I had a phased return to work. Due to the effects of the chemotherapy and other treatment I have been left with long term health problems. I have interstitial lung disease from bilateral PE during my chemotherapy. I have been left with post cancer fatigue problems with my immune system and kidneys. These can affect my day to day role. I am lucky to have a very supportive partner and family and friends and my work team have been so supportive to me. My journey with cancer has not finished as I take daily medication and have a monthly implant to reduce the risk of reoccurrence.

I also have significant mobility problems with my right knee, hip, ankle and shoulder due to a serious accident when many of the ligaments and cartilage were damaged. This has required me to have multiple surgeries prior to my cancer and since. I am required to wear a knee brace in the day to reduce the risk of it giving away and provide support. The pain in my knee is continuous as well but due to my health the required knee replacement can not be completed. I have osteoarthritis which is aggravated from the chemotherapy. I take various medications and have joint injections to reduce the day to day pain. I have accepted the modifications that I have had to include in my life and day to day living. I am no longer able to attend as a locum at the emergency clinic but I can attend to gain valuable experience every couple of months. During my veterinary nurse training it was identified that I have dyslexia I have gained and learnt various strategies to support my various roles over the years.

What are your plans for the future?
I would like to support people in the profession who are experiencing health conditions that may impact their day to day living including possible career changing impacts. I would also like to support people living with cancer and continuing in the profession. It is great to be with people who understand and appreciate how this can affect day to day living.

What other qualifications do you hold?
I have assessor qualifications, teaching diploma (FENTO), TAQA update, V1(Internal quality assurance), QTLS, Diploma of Higher Education in veterinary nursing with business management.

What key piece of advice would you give to anyone wishing to follow a similar career path?
When considering a career in veterinary nursing one must realise that it is not about money and status. Veterinary nursing is about the love and care that we want to provide to animals and their caregivers. Find the practice that works for you to start your training. Experience as much as you can from a variety of different sources so that you can choose which if any area you would like to specialise in. Ensure you treat every animal and client as an individual and give them the care that they deserve and what you would expect on your own animal. If you have health conditions find the right practice or employment that can provide the support for you to have a fulfilling career in veterinary nursing.

Career Case Studies
Victoria Bowes