Can you tell us about what led you to the role that you're working in now?
I started nursing when I was 18 and I qualified in 2003. I worked at a couple of quite large hospitals down near London, and a small practice, and then moved up to Derbyshire in 2006.
I always knew I wanted to work at a larger hospital, and what attracted me to this role were the high standards and general attitude to care, which I felt fit well with my own approach.
I worked as a general nurse for many years, had two kids and when I came back from maternity leave I moved into a consulting-specific role at Pride. My interest lies in consulting, and preventative healthcare and I really enjoy talking to clients and passing on my knowledge, I really enjoy it. I first moved into a Head Nurse role temporarily to cover a vacancy, because I wanted to make sure that as a team we still had a support network, and I enjoyed it so much that I stayed, and so I've been doing that for sort of the last five years or so. My team started as quite a small team of nurses; some were based at Pride and some were at our different practice sites.
We’ve grown into a bigger group of nurses, and my team also now includes student nurses and veterinary care assistants. My role has expanded and my responsibilities have developed, which is great! I’m generally based at Pride but I do travel around the practices to be with my team.
What is it that motivates you in your work?
My main thing is the client education. I want people to know how to look after their animals in the best way they can. Growing up, we always had animals in the house.
When I did my training I realised how little knowledge there was out there, and I love being able to pass on the correct advice and guidance. We know that the puppies and kittens are coming in the door, we're giving their owners the best advice we can. The pet has the best experience they can, and the clients get the best experience out of owning a pet. After all these years my main focus is that I want clients to be educated. I want them to be able to know and be comfortable in what they're doing with their animals, and doing the right things.
Can you tell us more about Pride and the other practices?
Pride is our main hospital, focusing on the referral side. It’s a busy hospital and there is a lot going on, lots of people and lots of amazing things going on every day. Our other sites then feed into the hospital with referrals, but they also have their own identities.
All the practices are really lovely and have much more of a local, family feel. They have the additional support of Pride behind them as well, they know we're always here, so animals will come here to Pride if they're hospitalised. Our clients really like that because they know where their pets are going, and they know the people are all connected. It’s a nice mix of having the local practices, and the hospital. It’s very supportive.
As a veterinary clinic, the standard is very high here. I think we're very fortunate to have that gold standard care and everybody is striving to provide that.
How would you describe the culture of your nursing team?
I've got a really lovely team. We are very much like-minded people, my nurses have a lot of opportunities for independence and development in their work. We’ve got a really good team of nurses looking after our patients, looking after our clients, and building those bonds.
We’re always there to support each other. We have regular catch-up meetings and engagement events, so we get everybody across the sites together. It’s a great team to manage, and now having veterinary care assistants and student nurses has been a good addition, so we’re bringing on the next generation of nurses and we’re able to share our knowledge with each other too.
How are people supported in their own career development?
There’s a focus on CPD opportunities, and for people to do certificates. If you have a specific interest everyone is supportive of that. We’re always helping to develop our people, and there is always movement to support internal progression. For example, if someone says suddenly go ‘you know I'd really like to do some neurology work’, then we have the pathways for them to go through and explore that interest.
What would you say to someone who was looking at joining the team?
We feel very supported as nurses, we are looked after here and trusted by our vets to do what we've been trained to do. I think that’s a really big thing and it's very important to us as nurses that we are respected in our own right. Our leadership teams are very willing to look at what the nurses can do and how we can support our teams in their interests. We've got nurses doing behavioural learning, we've got nurses doing anaesthesia certificates and fear-free work. If someone comes up with an idea, we give them that support to follow through. As a nurse myself, I know that’s really important.
How do you like to unwind after work?
I’m very lucky as we’re on the edge of the Peak District which is really beautiful. I’ve got a motorhome so we quite often go away locally, and it feels like you're miles away. I think that's a big draw to this area, having that beauty and peace on the doorstep. It’s a really lovely part of the country, especially if you like walking. I love spending time with my two boys, the dog, and my husband, we can just chuck everybody in the motorhome and drive off somewhere.