Radio Vet Nurse

The podcast for vet nurses where we tell our story.

Cat Robinson, veterinary nurse and co-owner of Ready Vet, brings you Radio Vet Nurse. Each episode you’ll hear from a different vet nurse about their personal experiences in life and in vet nursing. Vet nursing is definitely not an easy job. It can be physically, mentally and emotionally demanding. And yet, for most of us, we absolutely love it. We’re passionate about what we do. So, when it comes to vet nurses, who are we? How do we achieve greatness in our work? What brings us together as a group, and what sets us apart from other people? Radio Vet Nurse is our way to start a dialogue around these questions and to create a space where we can tell our story.

In this episode you’ll hear from Janet, the President of the Vet Nurse Council of Australia (VNCA). Janet is from New Zealand, currently living in Perth, and is a lecturer in vet nursing at South Metropolitan TAFE. Janet has been nursing for 20+ years and has multiple qualifications including a Bachelor in Veterinary Nursing and an Associate Degree in Adult and Vocational Education.

Janet’s career has taken her all over the world including specialising in Emergency and Critical Care at the Royal Veterinary College in London. Janet recently travelled to the VMX conference in Orlando Florida as the only international recipient of the Dr Earl Rippie Veterinary Nurse Leadership Scholarship. This scholarship recognizes veterinary technicians and nurses who demonstrate leadership abilities and make a positive impact on the growth of the profession.

When you hear about Janet’s involvement with the VNCA and the upcoming launch of the AVNAT scheme it will be obvious why she received this scholarship and was then treated like vet nursing royalty at VMX. Janet has had a massive year at the helm of the VNCA and I can’t wait to see what she does next.

We discussed:
· A podcast called Coffee Pods with Holly Ransom
· RECOVER basic life support and advanced life support workshop. Online RECOVER course available through the VNCA as a membership opportunity.
· The April 2019 VNCA conference
· The launch of the AVNAT Scheme

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In this episode you’ll hear from Natalie, the Academic Director of the Australian College of Vet Nursing. Natalie has Certificate IV qualifications in veterinary nursing, canine behaviour, training and assessment, and Diplomas in vocational education and training, surgical nursing, and emergency and critical care.

When I listened back to this interview it occurred to me that Natalie is an extremely empathetic person. So much of what she has to say comes from a place of sensitivity towards how another person, or animal, is feeling. This natural proclivity towards empathy is a perfect fit for Natalie’s passion for canine and (more recently) feline behaviour. Behaviour is also one of my favourite areas so I loved geeking out with Natalie on this topic.

Natalie’s career moved from clinical nursing to academia following the loss of a very special dog and the cascade of events that followed. I’m really grateful to Natalie for talking about this and other topics with a level of honesty and vulnerability that I know was not easy. These experiences underpin Natalie’s drive to empower other nurses to recognise and manage stress and compassion fatigue; which is of course an essential part of our story.

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In this episode you’ll get to know Hayley from Animal Emergency Services (AES) in Brisbane. I’ve been wanting to get the emergency nursing angle for a while now because I think it’s a really exciting part of our story. I reached out to Dr Alex Hynes who is a senior vet at AES and one of the new faces on the iconic Bondi Vet TV show (side note: it’s back, channel Nine, this year. You’re welcome!). Dr Alex recommended Hayley as one of AES’s most senior emergency and intensive care nurses.

As a veterinary technician and nurse in the Pet Intensive Care Unit Hayley helps treat the most critical of patients. If you do watch Bondi Vet this year you’ll probably see Hayley, doing what she loves, caring for patients in the ICU. Which also makes her a reality TV vet nurse!

Hayley’s been in the industry for over 20 years but is absolutely brimming with enthusiasm. Particularly about nurse empowerment, team work with our vets, and utilizing nurses to the best of our ability. Hayley and I are both talkers, and we also just clicked, so this is one of my longer episodes. As always you can find links to everything we discuss in the show notes on my website –

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In this episode I catch up with a well-known vet nurse and presenter in Australia, Sue Crampton. Sue is such an accomplished person; she’s the owner and founder of Crampton Consulting Group and the Animal Industries Resource Centre and - in addition to vet nursing - has a really interesting collection of qualifications including Bachelor of Business, Diploma in Company Directorship, and Masters in Neuro Linguistic Programming. As one of Australia's leading veterinary educators she’s on the go both in Australia and overseas 2 to 3 weeks of every month. It’s highly likely you’ve seen her present.

I first saw Sue at a conference in 2014 and, for me, it was an absolute game-changer. I was almost a year into owning and operating Ready Vet and studying my cert IV, but telling myself I was just doing the study to better manage my business. As someone who had been to uni for almost a decade for a different career, I was trying to suppress the growing suspicion that I actually loved vet nursing. But when I watched Sue present, it really sealed the deal for me. She was speaking my language 100%, motivating and inspiring me, and I had this light bulb moment; yep, I am a vet nurse, and I love it.

It’s hard to say what it is about Sue that enables her to connect with people and inspire in this way, but I think it’s this: she has this ability to identify and articulate the fundamentals of our industry, chunk them down, and present them within this framework of the veterinary health care team, rather this unhelpful binary of vets and nurses. It’s been four years since I first enjoyed Sue’s presentation at that conference, and I really enjoyed catching up again.

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In this episode you’ll hear from Tiffany - a nurse at Boongarry Veterinary Services in Cairns. She works with the legendary Dr Annabelle Olsson a consulting vet for wildlife, zoos, and the various government agencies that manage endangered animals. As well as being a busy general practice Boongarry also treats thousands of wildlife cases a year, pro bono.

Wildlife cases in Far North QLD are different to wildlife anywhere in Australia. The wet tropics region (which is two million hectares between Townsville in the south and Cooktown in the north) is just 0.26% of Australia’s landmass but the highest combined biodiversity of plants and animals in the country. We’re so lucky to have this amazing variety of animals up here, many of which are rare or threatened and found literally nowhere else on the planet.

Tiffany does some crazy exciting nursing at Boongarry Vet which is purpose built to treat a huge variety of patients including big crocs – how big? Up to 4.5m. Yep, it takes a pretty unique skill set to be a vet nurse in a practice like this. Tiffany started working at Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures when she was 14. She’s been looking after wildlife since she was 10, and caring for macropods for 17 years. It’s easy to be impressed by Tiffany, not just as a vet nurse. She recently bought her own house, which as a young, single mum on a vet nurse wage is something to be really proud of. I’m proud of her for sure, and the part of our story that she represents.

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