"We are all part of the local community, including the farming community, so we’re familiar faces to the clients, and there’s a real feeling of trust in us from them because we’re so linked"

- Helen Smith, vet, Hay Vets
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Can you tell us about your career path and how you came to work at Hay Vets?

I studied at Glasgow University but my family live in the Hereford area, so I made the move to be nearer them after I qualified. I initially planned to stay for a year or two and that was in 2006! A lot of the people I began working here with are also still here, so we’re a close-knit team, which is definitely one of the reasons I've chosen to stay this long. We’ve got to know each other well and developed a really strong bond which makes working together feel very easy. I did love Glasgow, but I also love how peaceful and rural it is here. There are lots of things to do but it feels very calm, you’re surrounded by natural beauty and nature.  

I grew up with lots of animals at home, dogs, cats, a few sheep, and some chickens. I really enjoyed being outside with them and caring for them so becoming a vet felt like a natural progression for me. When I was little, I wanted to be a zookeeper! Although I never went down that particular route, I really enjoy my job. I love meeting people and I find the excitement and challenges of veterinary work very rewarding because I know I’m helping people and their animals. 

A big part of what I love about my work is feeling part of the community. I’ve lived and worked in this area for a while, and because of that I’ve built up strong relationships with our clients - I know they trust me and the practice, and that they listen to my guidance.

What kinds of cases do you see at the practice?                                                                                                                                                                             

It’s a real mixture and there are a great variety of skills and special areas of interest across the team. We do routine things, including dentistry and radiography. We can do some orthopaedics in-house, although we also refer as appropriate. A lot of our clients are keen for us to do things in-house when we can, which I think does make our job more varied. 

We see plenty of interesting medicine cases as well, and my colleague Kate has a medicine certificate, so she’s always there for support and input if we ever need it. Leanne has a surgical nursing certificate and is always keen to be involved in supporting surgeries, she’s very skilled. I've got my surgery certificate so when something a bit trickier comes in I get the opportunity to use that knowledge, which I enjoy. We’re all keen to share our knowledge and support each other, as well as having opportunities to work on what we find most rewarding. 

What makes the team special?

Everyone at the practice is genuinely friendly, we care about each other and share what’s happening in our lives. Some of us have been working together for 15 years, so at this point, it almost feels like not coming to work, because you’re seeing people you know so well! 

Generally, the practice has a very relaxed and friendly atmosphere. We are all part of the local community, including the farming community, so we’re familiar faces to the clients, and there’s a real feeling of trust in us from them because we’re so linked.                                                                                                     

What does the local area have to offer?

There are lots of lovely walks available, places to go canoeing, and there’s a local climbing centre. There are loads of activities like yoga classes and other things to do, and there are also many nice pubs to go to for food or drink. We have a nice, relaxed way of life, but there are always things to be involved with if you want to. 

What are you proud of achieving in your work?

I am proud of my certificate, which I think also shows the real mix of cases we see in this practice. 
I’m proud of the fact I have stayed in one place and built my career here. I don't know if there's anyone else in my year at university that stayed in their first job beyond five or six years. I think I'm quite unusual in that, and I’m proud of it because I don't think there is necessarily a need to move on. Staying in the same practice for this long, has meant I've built up a strong relationship with the community.

How would you describe the culture at the practice? 

We are friendly and supportive, and we like to have a bit of a giggle. We’re connected to each other through the work that we do and the lasting relationships that we’ve built. We have fun together and enjoy working collaboratively. Although we do know each other well, we’re also really open to building the team with new members, and we’re very welcoming. 

We support each other in our work as well as emotionally. Whether that's sharing knowledge or supporting someone, everyone gets involved in our patients’ journeys, right down to the reception team, who will come down and see patients in the kennels and get updates. It’s a whole team effort. We are here to offer advice, discuss clinical outcomes, and share how invested we are in the animals in our care.

What's your favourite thing to do after work to unwind? 

I do a lot of gardening and I grow a lot of vegetables which I really enjoy. I take my dog for walks, and there are so many nice places in the local area to go. The small holding I grew up on isn’t far either, so we've got some sheep there and some chickens. My dog, Dora, actually came to me from a pregnant stray dog we treated at the practice, and I have a cat called Oliver. Being supported to work flexibly allows us the time to pursue our hobbies and interests and spend time with our families and our animals. Most of the staff in the practice have got at least one pet that has been rehomed via the practice! 

Opportunities at Hay Vets

Our farm work is mainly with beef cattle and sheep on small/medium family farms. Small holders provide an interesting mix of goats, alpacas and backyard poultry flocks. There is an increasing opportunity for us to provide a more proactive approach to the health and welfare of the animals in our care.

Find out more & apply today
You will be working with a dedicated, loyal and kind crew, and we’re excited about expanding it as the practice grows. We are a family-oriented business with strong ties to our local community, and we’re striving to be a centre of clinical and people excellence for our staff and for our clients. 

Find out more & apply today

Get in touch

If you are interested in finding out more about our exciting job opportunities, our talent team will be happy to talk in confidence about the different options available to you.

Contact Nicola Grant: nicola.grant@ivcevidensia.com