Volunteering In The USA

Chloe, one of our Trainee Veterinary Nurses, was lucky enough to travel to the USA this year, here she talks about her time volunteering.

Being a Trainee Veterinary Nurse can sometimes be challenging; some tasks can seem emotionally overwhelming, while others are a walk in the park. The rollercoaster of emotions that we experience even as Trainees, is greater than most would imagine. From watching so many of our patients grow from bouncy puppies and kittens into distinguished seniors, and then being there when they need us most at the end of their lives is the most bittersweet feeling I know. However, it doesn’t deter me from pursuing my career as a fully qualified Veterinary Nurse in the slightest. There is no greater reward than helping those who can’t voice how they feel.

To learn any new trade, hands-on experience is a must in order to fully understand the knowledge behind it. While working predominantly at our Stirling clinic, I try to involve myself in as much as possible with our hospital patients to better my understanding of each case that comes through. With theory and practical work coupled together, I can further comprehend why we do what we do, so much more efficiently and effectively.

Earlier in the year, I had scheduled a holiday with my partner to the United States of America. As excited as I was to have a break and not worry too greatly about studying, my partner proposed an idea that was too good to dismiss. He suggested contacting the local vet in the town we were spending most of our time in, to have a tour of their hospital.

I was super lucky! The head Vet and owner of the business allowed me to spend the entire day watching over their surgeries, all the while explaining their day-to-day typical schedule and the differences that we both have in the types of cases we see. I explained that on a general day, we tend to see a lot of native wildlife as well as fitting in surgeries amongst our busy consulting schedule. To my surprise, they’re not allowed to accept wildlife at their Vet – only the Vets with specialist wildlife care are allowed to. We both also realised that there was quite a difference in surgeries performed due to legality issues; they regularly perform the de-clawing of a cat and tail or ear docking of a dog. However, in most of Australia (if not all), these procedures are generally illegal.

I was interested to learn that American Vets use the metric system unlike their usual choice of the imperial system. This meant that the nurses and vets had to continuously convert between the imperial to the metric system. For example, to determine an appropriate medication dose, the vet would firstly convert the patient’s weight from pounds to kilograms, then figure out the amount of medication needed per kilogram, and translate it back into pounds for the owner of the patient to understand.

Overall, I learnt so many new aspects of this industry – which is one that we share with countries all around the world, even with our all of our similarities and differences.

This opportunity was just another reminder to myself that I’m in the right industry for me, doing a job I absolutely love and am very passionate about.

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