Vet Nurse Awareness Month: Spotlight on the Team at WVS

Vet Nurse Awareness Month: Spotlight on the Team at WVS

This Vet Nurse Awareness Month, we are shining a spotlight on the WVS veterinary nurses and veterinary assistants at our International Training Centres (ITCs) around the world and the WVS head office. Veterinary nurses are vital in providing a professional and high standard of care at our centres and outreach projects.

In this article, hear from vet nurses and veterinary assistants at WVS global projects and all about our Veterinary Nurse Taskforce Programme. We spoke to Lija, Tang, Kwang, Courtine and Balraj, who are all dedicated members of our team, all fighting for a world where all animals receive the treatment and care they deserve.  

Please tell us about your role, and the project or ITC you work at? 

“I am employed by WVS to manage the veterinary nursing division of the WVS Veterinary Taskforce. This involves creating SOPs (standard operating procedures) and protocols to improve patient care and nursing standards across the different hospitals. I also manage the new taskforce nurses. I am based mostly at BSPCA, Malawi, helping to run the clinic here and I’m also regularly involved in various outreach work including rabies vaccination and sterilisation campaigns and sole charge TVT treatments.” Courtine, International Taskforce VN Manager, Malawi  

“My role as a veterinary nurse is to assist veterinarians in performing tasks such as treatment, care, and preparation of medication and equipment. Part of this at the ITC is to prepare the recovery room, surgery room, and prep room.” Kwang, Veterinary Nurse, Thailand  

“As a veterinary assistant I prepare animals for surgery, anaesthesia monitoring, emergency first aid, surgical instrument preparation, and animal care. Assist in clinic with animal birth control, some special cases and different emergency cases.” Lija, Veterinary Assistant, India  

What do you find the most rewarding part of being a vet nurse? 

“The most rewarding part of the job is helping and caring for animals to lead happy lives.” Kwang, Vet Nurse, Thailand  

“Being hands on with patients, knowing you are helping to improve welfare on a large scale, but also for that individual animal. I feel as a nurse I am able to assess the animal as a whole and recognise its individual personality and needs. I have seen how much this helps so much in overall treatment and outcome for that patient. I also love community work and helping to educate pet owners to improve welfare.” Courtine, International Taskforce VN Manager, Malawi

What has been the most interesting or enjoyable case or project you have worked on in your career? 

“I enjoy the household surveys and outreach programmes. Outreach programmes are tiring but very fun, I’m happy when I see people who are interested in sterilisation.” Tang, Veterinary Nurse, Thailand  

“One dog arrived for an emergency. For the first 10-days the dog had been unable to eat, drink or go to the toilet. We're giving the dog great love and attention, along with medication. We finally achieved a successful outcome. The dog recovered as a result of our action.” Balraj, Veterinary Assistant, India 

What would you say are some of the key skills that are needed for a career in the veterinary profession? 

“Veterinary assistants work on the frontline, connecting vets, pets and pet owners. Empathy skills will help you work with the many animals that you’ll meet. By understanding their stress and fear, you can use a comforting, relaxed and assuring attitude to calm them down, which puts them in a safer position to receive treatment.” Balraj, Veterinary Assistant, India 

“I think the skills needed to pursue a career in veterinary nursing are communication, expertise, decision-making, and problem-solving.” Kwang, Vet Nurse, Thailand  

Do you have any advice for people interested in becoming a vet nurse or vet assistant? 

“Veterinary assistants are required to learn all aspects of animal care, including restraint, medical conditions, diets, surgeries, parasites, vaccines and more. This requires a certain personality, patience and commitment to help pets, pet owners and veterinarians.” Balraj, Veterinary Assistant, India  

“Vet Nurses should be responsible and punctual and treat the animal with care and love.” Lija, Veterinary Assistant, India  

“If you are passionate about animals and ready to be a hard worker who puts patients' needs first then go for it!! Always do your research into what the job entails. We tend to do a bit of everything all the time, and you will have to be a good multitasker! But it is one of the most rewarding jobs there is, and I wouldn’t change my career for anything.” Courtine, International Taskforce VN Manager, Malawi 

Veterinary Nurse Taskforce Programme  

The WVS Taskforce was created to improve the lives of animals in areas that lack veterinary care. Our specialist team of vets travel around running surgical training courses, vaccination campaigns, and promoting One Health initiatives. 

From this, the Veterinary Nurse Taskforce was established in 2023, with the purpose of enhancing the nursing care offered to animals. This programme offers veterinary nurses the chance to rotate between our ITCs, providing nursing support to our local teams. We identified a problem with a lack of formal nursing training in many countries and a need for improved nursing care. Our Taskforce nurses have been offering their time and experience at our clinics, while providing valuable nursing support.  

Hear from Megan, our first vet nurse to have finished the Nursing Taskforce Internship programme.  

“This Veterinary Nursing Awareness Month, I am reflecting on one of the most meaningful years of my career. Working and travelling the globe with the WVS Taskforce has been a life-changing experience."

"It has further cemented the importance of altruism and using our impressive breadth of knowledge for the greater good; helping the animals and communities who need it most."

"While working on the ground in Africa, Asia, and South America, I had the privilege of doing exactly that. Whether delivering essential care to the animals of the Galápagos Islands or contributing to the establishment of a large-scale campaign that sterilized and vaccinated over 2,000 dogs in India. From providing emergency treatment to wildlife in Malawi, to administering preventative healthcare to the temple dogs of Thailand. These experiences underscore the profound difference, we as veterinary nurses, can make in the lives of animals worldwide."

"The impact our work has doesn’t stop with our animal companions. The ripple effect into the lives of humans is also something incredible to bear witness to. Seeing the long-lasting and sustainable effect that regimented and mass vaccination can have on a community, that once greatly suffered from a deadly disease such as rabies, is truly awe inspiring. Playing even the smallest part of something so enormous is something to be immensely grateful for."

"This past year has not only reinforced my passion for veterinary nursing, but also illuminated the power of collective action in safeguarding the welfare of animals worldwide. The ability to be present for those with no one else to turn to is a feeling like no other. I would implore anyone with the skills and courage to make a difference, to get out there and do it."

Veterinary nurses at the WVS head office 

At our head office in the UK, we have registered vet nurses Lyndsey and Caroline working to improve animal welfare around the world.  

As our Charity Liaison Officer, Lyndsey heads up our parcel mission of sending medication, veterinary supplies and equipment to organisations caring for animals around the world. Every month, Lyndsey ships around 80 to 100 aid parcels with life-changing supplies to help animals in need. These are sent around the world to all types of species. Hear from Lyndsey about being a veterinary nurse and working for WVS. 

“I became a vet nurse as I have always wanted to help animals recover if they were unwell or injured. I started working for an animal charity so I could help less fortunate animals in different countries. My job at WVS is to help provide medicines and supplies to animals in charities abroad. This is very rewarding as it helps animals receive medical treatment which otherwise they would not have.” 

As International Project Manager, Caroline helps to organise our campaigns and volunteers on our projects that provide veterinary care to animals in need. One of these projects is our sterilisation and rabies vaccination project in Tanzania where we work in partnership with Mbwa Wa African Rescue and Mission Rabies. This year, 8,219 animals were vaccinated against rabies, 314 animals sterilised, and over 23,000 children educated in rabies prevention. Hear from Caroline about being a veterinary nurse and working for WVS. 

“Even when I was younger, I was fascinated by animals, so it always made sense that I would want to work with them in some way. I wanted to help take care of them when they felt unwell or worried and help them to get better. I also wanted to help be an advocate for my patients – they don’t have a voice, so I wanted to be able to be one for them and look out for their best interests."

"Since being a veterinary nurse, I have mainly worked for a charity, and have had jobs in four different organisations."

"It was important to me to help animals and people that may not otherwise have access to vet care, and that may need a bit of extra help to live their best, healthy and happy lives."

"I also wanted to work for an organisation that help improve and change animal welfare, through education and working with other sectors, to help give animals a better future."

"At WVS, I manage projects around the world that provide surgical or medical help for animals and their owners, and projects that give vaccinations to animals against rabies. I also help to organise volunteers that are travelling to different projects and charities around the world, so they can take their skills to help other people and animals in different places.” 

Thank you to all of the vet nurses at WVS who are working to create a brighter future for all animals.  

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