8.45am: I arrive at work ready to start my shift at 9am. As part of my veterinary nurse duties, I am required to work weekends. On Sundays, we open at our Carlton Colville branch between 9am – 12pm, and mainly see emergency appointments on this day. It has only been the last couple of years that we have opened on a Sunday morning, because we wanted to expand our services and also save some worried owners with some very poorly pets, an out of hours emergency fee. We can book the first three appointments on a Sunday as non-emergent appointments, for those who find it difficult to come to the surgery any other day.
8.50am: Early for work, I decide to put the washing machine on and fill the autoclave machine with instruments and equipment for sterilisation ready for Monday. I also check the fridge and room thermometers to ensure that medications and vaccinations are being kept at the correct temperatures. I turn on all computers, ready to start the day.
9am: Sarah the receptionist has arrived, and she changes the phone system over from the emergency cover, to allow clients to phone us directly between 9am – 11.45am. The phone starts ringing straight away, and our appointments start to fill up.
9.10am: The vet working today is Charlotte, and her first appointment is a routine first vaccination with an eight week old Labrador puppy called Tilly. Charlotte loves dogs and gives Tilly lots of cuddles during her first visit. The vet gives Tilly a full health check, and starts the primary course with the first injection. After a further two more injections, two weeks apart, Tilly will be fully protected against distemper, parvo-virus, infectious canine hepatitis and four strains of leptospirosis. To help build a positive association with the vets, it is always a good idea to bring your pets’ favourite toys or treats along, to help them feel more comfortable and surrounded by more familiar smells.
9.30am: Our next appointment is an emergency. Molly is a 12-year old crossbreed dog who has not been eating for two days and is now lethargic. Charlotte examines Molly and admits her for a blood test. Results show that Molly is dehydrated and has a systemic infection, and will therefore need to be hospitalised for intra-venous fluid therapy and antibiotics. Charlotte prepares a treatment plan for overnight care and I complete the relevant paperwork.
9.45am – 11.45am: Charlotte sees the rest of the morning’s appointments that have been filling up since the phones went over at 9am. No further patients need admitting. I float between looking after Molly, and helping Charlotte in consults with patient handling for examination, and prepare medications for the patients. I am also on hand to help Sarah on reception to take phone calls and generally assist with booking appointments and taking payments when reception gets busy.
11.45am: The phones are changed back to the emergency messaging service while we are closed. There is a recorded message containing another number to use in case of emergency.
11.45am – 12pm: I help Sarah to clean the surgery. We empty bins, hoover and mop the floors for the next day.
12pm: Sarah and Charlotte are now in a position to head home. With a plan for Molly and the practice now closed, I can now transport her to our out-of-hours service in Gorleston, via the practice ambulance. Here, The Veterinary Hospital in Gorleston will continue to care for Molly overnight, and then she will be collected by us in the morning to continue her treatment.
1.15pm: I arrive back to the Coastline Surgery, and disinfect the ambulance ready for the morning. My shift was due to end at 12pm, but being a veterinary nurse, it does often require lots of overtime to ensure that our patients receive the best possible care.