Animal Care Advice from Industry Professionals

Animal Care Advice
Animal Care Advice

Vet Nursing Student

Interview with Amanda Berkefeld, Cert IV in Vet Nursing

Amanda is a student doing her ACM40412 Certificate IV in Veterinary Nursing online with Open Colleges. She was already working part-time in a pet shop where a vet service was located. She already knew the vet staff quite well so she asked to do work placement with them, which was a requirement of her online course. This eventually led her to a fulfilling career in animal care. Here is her story.

1 What made you decide to study vet nursing? Was it the fact that you were already working in a pet shop?

Yes. I already knew I wanted to work with animals; I found that out in Year 11. I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted to do, so for work experience in Year 10, I worked with an animal ranger.

I got that position for just a few weeks and then I worked in a nearby kennel. I think that was for about two years. I still wasn’t sure if I wanted to work in the industry, so while still studying at school, I thought I would work in a pet shop. Once I knew what I wanted to do, I started looking at all my options and I decided to try vet nursing.

At first, I tried a few different animal care jobs because I definitely knew that I wanted to work with animals, but I just wasn’t sure what position I wanted.

Eventually, I saw an ad for Open Colleges and I thought that studying online would suit me. Then everything fell into place and I found it easy to study online.

2 Work placement is a component of your course – how did you go about finding work placement?

Open Colleges supplies resources on how to achieve a work placement, so I copied the format that they give to all students for writing resumes.

I wasn’t a hundred per cent sure about going further in my career with my vet in the pet shop as I knew I wasn’t going to stay at that there forever.

So I tried a few places, including about two or three vets located around my area. In the end, I had two interviews, both said I went well, but they didn’t give me the position. Then I gave my third contact a go, asking whether they would consider me for a work placement.

They said ‘yes’ because they already knew me and had seen my work. So it just went up from there.

3 What advice would you give to other students?

Keep on trying and keep on going for it!

It took until my third attempt at trying for a placement at the vet and I was pretty low. My hopes were slipping but I achieved my placement in the end. In my experience, you will definitely find a vet that will take you on.

4 What sort of traits and skills do you think you need to be good in this type of role?

It’s important to be very friendly and outgoing, that definitely helps with all the clients. Be really happy to be there and confident with the animals.

One thing my vet contact Dr Sammy told me (when I was trying to work with big animals) was to always give it a go - and don’t show that you’re scared. Always try and be as confident as possible.

5 What’s your big life dream?

I really want to do a few more courses and practise at the vet where I am currently working. I would love to do 24-hour emergency vet nursing. I’d find that really interesting.

I’d love to see how the emergency centres work and try and will try and get into that. In a few years, once I’m fully trained, and feel confident, that would be really good.

6 Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I like to foster animals and I’m currently fostering a kitten.

I’ve had this kitten from two-weeks old because I am home quite a lot studying and on the days I get off work, I like to relax. We have a few animals at home, which is good, and fostering is a really a good thing to do. I usually end up keeping them, which is not so good! But I love them!

Are you interested in getting into the animal care industry? Read more real life stories from a range of industry professionals here.