The Head of Nursing Services at one of the UK’s top animal hospitals has told how a visit to the vets with her pet dog as a 12-year-old helped inspire a lifetime’s career caring for sick and injured animals. Vicky Maund, from Bromsgrove, qualified as a Registered Vet Nurse (RVN) in 1996 and is now in charge of Nursing Services at the award-winning Willows Veterinary Centre and Referral Service in Solihull, West Midlands.
Vicky Maund says she fondly remembers the childhood moment that led to her embarking on her dream career and has chosen Vet Nurse Awareness Month (VNAM) to tell her remarkable story of life with Linnaeus-owned Willows.
She recalled: “When I was 12, I took my dog to the local vets and on the notice board they had a poster which read, ‘why be a veterinary nurse?’. It really captured my imagination as it had so many great things on there and I thought ‘what a cool job that must be’. I applied for an evening role at the vets when I was 14, doing things such as helping hold patients during consultations and dispensing medications, and I fell in love with it all.
“I absolutely love being a vet nurse. It’s my dream job and I wouldn’t change a moment of my career. It has shaped me as a person as well as a professional. The most rewarding thing is that I get to make a difference, especially supporting patients and their owners in the happiest or saddest times and knowing I have done my very best.”
Vicky Maund says she never ceases to be amazed by the incredible operations and procedures she is involved in and the positive impact that can be made in so many pets’ lives. She explained: “I remember not long after starting at Willows in 2011, I went down to endoscopy with one of the medics. There was a patient who had been running in a field of barley and had inhaled an ear of barley into its lung.
“The patient had gone for a CT and bronchoscopy retrieval of the offending item. I remember looking at the monitor as the vet navigated their way to the obstruction, seeing inside the dog’s lungs, the bronchi and it was amazing when the ear of barley was visualised and removed.
“I also love nursing patients who need blood transfusions and seeing how the gums pink up, and you feel a change in the patient’s pulse. It’s such a fulfilling feeling that you are supporting a patient and making a difference.”
Vicky Maund took a break from nursing pets for six years to raise her two children but returned in 2007 and has since forged her way to the top of her profession.
Vicky added: “It was important to me to show my children that learning should not stop when you leave school and that your career is what you make of it. Nursing has changed so much over the years and I am sure it will change even more in the years to come, so every day is like a school day at Willows and even at my age I learn something new every day!
“We also wear so many different hats as vet nurses, so every day is very different and exciting.”
It’s Vicky Maund ’s experience, energy and passion that has landed her the senior nursing position at Willows and she’s keen to lead by example, as well as inspire the new vet nurses of the future. She said: “I have been given an amazing opportunity to help drive things forward and make a difference at Willows by developing new ways of nursing and supporting our patients.
“I know vet nurses have so much to offer and can make such a difference to a patient. I would thoroughly recommend it as a career.
“The three key qualities for the job are to be caring, compassionate and want to make a difference. There will be many highs and positive outcomes, but there will also be lows. It’s about the support and care we give each and every patient and client we meet,” said Vicky Maund. “Put it this way, my older self would say to my younger student self: ‘Enjoy the happy times and the shared moments you get with patients you have nursed and cherish the difference you have made.’ That’s the key.”
Willows offers specialist services in anaesthesia and analgesia, cardiology, clinical nutrition, dermatology, diagnostic imaging, emergency and critical care, internal medicine, neurology, oncology, ophthalmology, orthopaedics, soft tissue surgery and spinal surgery. To find out more about Willows’ wide range of specialist services, visit their website or Facebook page.