March 27, 2023

Pet Daily Nursing

Healthy Pet Lovers

Head veterinary nurse: ‘There is more respect now’

Head veterinary nurse: ‘There is more respect now’

In this week’s Job Emphasis phase, Clodagh Hughes, freelance writer at That’s Farming, speaks to veterinary nurse, Fionnuala Ann Byrne.

Fionnuala Ann Byrne is the head veterinary nurse in a bustling veterinary clinic, The Avenue Vets, in Dundalk, Co Louth.

She arrives from the drumlin-dotted countryside just exterior Carrickmacross in south Co. Monaghan.

She describes how she learned her love for animals. “From a actually youthful age, I utilised to assist my aunty on her sheep farm. I assisted her with shearing, foot care and lambing.”

“And it is from here that my curiosity in seeking to operate with animals developed.”


Even though she realized that she needed a job doing the job with animals, Fionnuala Ann did not go straight into veterinary nursing.

Right after finishing her Leaving Qualified, she researched art for two many years and then worked in an electronics manufacturing unit in Carrickmacross for a stint ahead of she secured a job at The Avenue Vets in Dundalk.

“It was in the course of my time listed here that I obtained acknowledged on to a pre-veterinary nursing training course in Greenmount, Co. Antrim in 2002-2003.”

And this is actually wherever her vocation in veterinary nursing began.

Just after finishing the first level of her training, Fionnuala Ann continued to examine, alongside performing full-time in the sector right up until she completed her skills as a veterinary nurse.

Commenting on the dissimilarities in how she obtained her qualifications and the choices available now, Fionnuala Ann claims,

“When I was researching, there ended up only two courses accessible if you desired to develop into a veterinary nurse.”

“There was Greenmount in Co. Antrim or College Faculty Dublin. Nowadays, there are lots of much more courses obtainable in schools close to the nation.”

Yet another fascinating point Fionnuala Ann highlights is how “when I was going through my nursing training, I was also functioning comprehensive-time in a veterinary clinic in Newry in Co. Down”.

“I favored this training course because it was extremely focussed on the practical application of animal nursing.”

“Once a thirty day period, we had a week dedicated to the tutorial aspect of the training course.”

She goes on to say, “in my view this was a better way to study simply because, as a university student nurse, you observed so much of true, daily practice and obtained a appropriate experience for the realities of the profession”.

Following acquiring her qualifications, she stayed with the similar apply for 9 years till she and her associate took off to pursue their dream of travelling in their beloved Landrover.

They frequented Portugal, Spain, Morocco, and Western Sahara and then, returned residence.

Soon after returning from her travels, she resumed her position in the observe in Newry for a period of time.

She then secured a occupation at The Avenue Veterinary Medical center in Co. Louth. And it is below that she is continue to working currently, heading up a staff of veterinary nurses and doing work closely alongside the vets.

“It is like I have come comprehensive circle, back again to the very first follow I worked in,” she observes.

The Avenue Veterinary Hospital

The Avenue Veterinary Medical center was a blended apply, managing modest animals, livestock and equine individuals.

But, as lots of businesses do, it adjusted to maintain up with the worries and ups and downs that the marketplace encountered more than the yrs.

Its target on tiny animal exercise has paid out off thanks to its urban locale and the developments in smaller animal medicines and processes.

And, as Fionnuala Ann explains, “There are more men and women with animals nowadays, and a large amount of these pet proprietors genuinely consider treatment of their pets, occasionally greater than them selves,” she provides.

Affect of Covid-19

She commented that the Covid-19 pandemic introduced “a pretty bizarre and tough time”.

The follow was “busier than at any time, and at the top of the limits, it was exceptionally challenging on everyone”.

“We ended up open up and seeing clients as regular the entire way through the pandemic.”

“We carried out a technique that labored for us, and most of our consumers were being incredibly comprehension, but it was challenging at instances.”

Requested about the increase in pet possession in excess of the pandemic period of time, Fionnuala Ann confirms that it was a correct assertion, “which only made us busier,” she provides.

She also would make a quite interesting observation about Covid-19, as she professional it 1st-hand in her place of work.

She suggests they witnessed a authentic increase in the number of pet proprietors attending the healthcare facility and the frequency of these visits.

Some of this she places down to the truth that, for the reason that men and women had been paying far more time at house in the course of lockdowns, “they have been noticing every single sneeze and sniffle that a pet cat or puppy may well have”.

But, also, on a sadder observe, she demonstrates on how some shoppers would “simply need to have an justification to have a chat or get out of the house for an hour”.

Unbeknownst to sure enterprises all over the country, they presented an outlet to lots of folks through a quite complicated time.


As head veterinary nurse Fionnuala Ann has, as she claims herself, “a good bit of accountability.”

Together with her day-to-working day nursing duties, she has to organise the everyday agenda.

From allocating responsibilities to her nursing workforce and guaranteeing the vets know what surgical procedures are having spot, “it is all go”.

“There are no two times the exact your day could be all established out when instantly, in arrives an emergency situation this kind of as a pet obtaining strike by a automobile or a poisoning situation and straightaway, any strategies are established aside.”

Furthering studies

Veterinary nursing, like any job, is constantly evolving. Due to the fact of this, she made the decision to consider on more research, while also performing complete-time.

Detailing her explanations, Fionnuala Ann suggests, “In 2019, I did my degree by way of Napier University in Edinburgh, Scotland.”

“My qualification from yrs again was not recognised the very same as the levels that veterinary nurses had been coming out of college with now. I necessary to move with the periods,” she provides.

A constructive stage

In her 18 years as a practising veterinary nurse, she agrees that she has witnessed several alterations in the career.

Most notably, she states, “Nurses are becoming recognised for their expertise, and it is also getting reflected in their shell out.”

She claims. “I can see that there is a lot more respect for veterinary nurses now.”

“When I was training, we had been envisioned to do a large amount of menial do the job even although we experienced a long time of practical experience and a qualification driving us.”

“But luckily, moments and attitudes have adjusted.” She notes.


Fionnuala Ann is now studying an on-line training course in anaesthetics, an spot of veterinary medication that she is passionate about.

“You have to hold upskilling. Animal drugs is as quick-transferring, if not a lot quicker at instances, than human medicine.”

“We are frequently discovering new strategies and becoming launched to new medicines.”

To continue on to follow legally and inside the regulations established out by the Veterinary Council of Ireland (VCI), veterinary nurses and vets need to total a set total of Continuing Veterinary Instruction (CVE) courses.

These courses are operate on the internet, in-household and on school campuses all around the nation.


Among some of the most substantial modifications Fionnuala Ann has noticed throughout her occupation, are the breakthroughs in technological know-how.

She discusses some of them in this article, “When I started practising, we utilized to acquire our very own x-rays in our in-household laboratory.”

“I really appreciated the act of viewing the impression come out and owning to imagine about what you were being doing to make certain you received a fantastic impression.”

“I have to admit that the digital variations are incredibly quick and really superior excellent. Also, you can email them to another follow or specialist with simplicity.”

She proceeds, “Also out there to us in the medical center labs are diagnostic equipment ranging from blood tests machines and centrifuges to microscopes for investigating the presence of any parasites.”

She is swift to incorporate that “no device or know-how can entirely acquire the area of the skilled vet or vet nurse.”

“Using your eyes, ears and hands even though monitoring an animal under anaesthetic can under no circumstances be replaced.”

“And you have to be in a position to browse and interpret the benefits from any of the machines.”

When she will get any free time, Fionnuala Ann claims she enjoys to, “chill out in her polytunnel”, exactly where she grows a wide range of organic and natural vegetables and plants.

She enjoys heading for state walks and requires portion in the occasional meet up with-ups with fellow Landrover fanatics.

Advice for anyone contemplating veterinary nursing as a vocation

Commenting on any suggestions she would have for long term veterinary nurses, she states, “She would strongly recommend paying time in a veterinary clinic and maybe carrying out an animal care system if you were being not certain.”

As a final term on what it requires to be a thriving veterinary nurse, she replied with one term, “patience”.

To share your story, email – [email protected]