Animal Care Advice from Industry Professionals

Animal Care Advice from Industry Professionals
Veterinary Nurse

Skye White is an online student studying the ACM40412 Certificate IV in Veterinary Nursing. She lives in Beverly Hills in New South Wales. She says that even though she loves animals, she’s never lived on a farm, but she has had lots of dogs, including a large German Shepherd and Cavaliers.

After finding herself looking for a career change, she decided to study a course in vet nursing. She says she was “sick of the office environment and sick of the ‘anger’ on the phone from customers,” and “was always coming home from work quite stressed and upset”.

Skye wanted to get into vet nursing, because “even though it might be a bit stressful, it would be rewarding as well”. Here’s how she found it.

1 What attracted you to the area of vet nursing?

I’ve always had a passion and a love for animals. I had many animals from a very early age. I was looking for a course where I could use that passion towards a career.

2 Why do you think vet nursing is such a popular course?

I think people love vet nursing because there is a lot of media coverage in regards to animal care and veterinary shows like Bondi Vet. This could be part of the reason why the show is so popular. Also, I guess the course is so popular because a lot of people just love animals!

3 How is the vet nursing course structured?

There are six study periods, ranging between three and four units per study period. At the end of the study periods there might be quizzes or an assessment. During the study periods, there are activities and there might be a video I have to watch. For example, I recently watched one about hookworms!

I watch the video and at the end I have to answer a question about it. It’s not an “exam question”, it’s just a sample to make sure you’ve understood what was in that video.

My course also includes these things called ‘self-checks’ – I would need to read an article or go to a website and then I would need to answer certain questions. This makes sure I have a thorough understanding of the subject.

For the past nine years I have been in telecommunications, the last four years in management roles. My last role was operations and compliance manager. So, working within telecommunications for such a long time, I wanted a change. To be honest with you, I was sick of the office environment and sick of the ‘anger’ on the phone from customers. I was always coming home from work quite stressed and upset.

So, that’s one of the reasons I wanted to get into vet nursing, because even though it might be a bit stressful, it is rewarding as well.

4 Did you do a lot of research on vet nursing before deciding to take the course?

That’s one reason I made this career change. I did a lot of research on the profession. When I was young, I had a real passion for animals, so I looked at veterinary and also regular nursing as a profession. Then at school, I researched other careers as well, I was always passionate about science, so I started behavioural psychology and science, but I didn’t really get very far with my studies because I still needed to work at the time. That course was a bit “full-on”.

So, I knew I wanted to do something else and perhaps study online, so I did a lot of research into the type of job I wanted to get. I watched quite a number of videos and I called up a Course and Careers Advisor (CCA) from Open Colleges.

She asked me a number of questions prior to me enrolling into this course, and I found that very helpful. She asked me about the reasons I wanted to do vet nursing and she took me through the number of hours I felt I had available to study. She was able to advise me on the amount of study I would need to do in order to complete my course within the 24 month time frame (all Open Colleges courses have a set ‘course duration’ time frame, even though they can be completed at the student’s own pace).

The CCAs don’t just put someone in the course for the sake of it. They “weed out” the people that might struggle with getting it completed in the time frame, or who might struggle with the content and the 480 hours of practical work (Skye’s course contains a structured work placement where she is gaining on-the-job skills at a veterinary practice).

5 Have you started your work placement as yet?

I started doing some hours at a Blakehurst Veterinary Hospital. I’ve done about 30 so far and I plan to pick it back up. When I started this course I was working full-time in a management position plus studying, but then my position was made redundant. For the last four or five weeks I haven’t been working, so I pumped out 30 hours with the vet clinic down the road, which was really great.

They were also able to offer me two paid shifts within the grooming side of the clinic, which was really good.

6 Are you enjoying applying the skills you have learnt and applying them in practice? What has been a highlight?

A highlight so far for me was the day we had an animal come in that was quite ill. We had to put him on fluids for a few days and at the end of the week he was able to go home. It was rewarding to see him come in and then leave with his owners, healthier and “on the mend”.

When I finish my course I would like to go on and do a diploma and specialise in emergency and surgical, so my studying won’t stop here!

My dream job would be to work in a 24 hour animal hospital and to work within a fast-paced environment.

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