Meet Karen, a dedicated practice manager balancing expertise with compassionate care

With a career spanning over two decades, Karen Offord shares her journey from starting as an RVN to her current role, highlighting the support and opportunities provided by IVC Evidensia along the way. Motivated by a lifelong love for animals, she discusses the unique challenges and rewards of working in the veterinary industry. Karen paints a vivid picture of the practice's warm and welcoming atmosphere, emphasising the strong team bond and commitment to team wellbeing.

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Can you tell us about yourself, your career path and how you came to work at the practice?

I began my veterinary career as an RVN in 1998, initially working in a local small animal practice before moving to a referral centre.

In 2015, I joined Mulberry Vets, an IVC Evidensia practice, where I was swiftly promoted to head veterinary nurse. This role was instrumental in shaping my career and in 2019, I transitioned into the position of practice manager at Haughley and Thurston Veterinary Centre. Throughout my time here I’ve been supported and encouraged by IVC Evidensia, with all the support and resources I need for my professional development.

What motivates you to work in the veterinary industry?

I have always had a passion for animals, coming from a farming background and being involved with animals from a young age.

I find daily motivation in the dynamic nature of veterinary work - every day is different! I’m committed to making a positive impact by supporting our clients, their pets, and our team members to the best of my ability.

Can you tell us more about the practice and the team, and what it’s like to work there?

We are a kind and welcoming team. Our ethos is to be family-friendly with a relaxed atmosphere. We’re always getting client reviews about how friendly we are!

We have lots of long-standing team members, and we make time to celebrate with a brilliant summer and Christmas party each year. The well-being of our team is really important to us too, it’s something we focus on and prioritise.

What kinds of cases do you see at the practice?

We are a small animal practice, so we are predominately seeing dogs and cats. We are also an approved ‘Chicken Vet Friendly’ practice and are accredited by the Rabbit Welfare Association with silver rabbit-friendly status. We see a full range of surgical and medical caseloads. 

We have a visiting orthopaedic and soft tissue specialist plus a peripatetic ultrasound practitioner (we have our own ultrasound equipment at each branch). We also have access to an ophthalmologist who visits from the local vet school as required. There’s a wide range of skills and knowledge across the team, and lots of great opportunities for learning with us.

What are your favourite things about working at the practice?

The support from the team, we all care about and support each other. We support flexible working as well, and for myself that means I have a good work/life balance which allows time for my hobbies outside of work.

What do you feel the practice has to offer that someone thinking of joining might not know about?

The management team are really supportive and listen to the needs of the team. Flexible working is prioritised, and everyone is encouraged to obtain a good work-life balance. We have a great network within our area with other local IVC Evidensia practices in our group too, sharing equipment/facilities if needed. Career progression is supported and encouraged.

What do you enjoy about the local area?

Suffolk is a beautiful county. We are surrounded by picturesque open countryside with an abundance of well-maintained footpaths for walking. We have numerous pretty villages on our doorstep with local market towns nearby. The city of Cambridge is an easy drive away too.

We have a beautiful coastline along Suffolk and into Norfolk with award-winning beaches, which are easy to access. London is within reach too, by train or car.

There’s investment in new housing developments in the area too, bringing improved new schools and infrastructure.

What hobbies and interests do you have outside of work?

My main hobby is running! I am a member of a local running club and compete in lots of races and usually train approximately 5 times a week. I am currently training for my first-ever marathon!

I also enjoy walking and hiking and whenever I can I visit the Scottish Highlands or Peak District.  

What are you proudest of in your veterinary career so far?

Qualifying as a Veterinary Nurse was a proud moment. It is a career for life, and even though I have moved to a practice manager role I still utilise my nursing skills every day.

Tell us about your pets!

I have an 11-year-old chocolate Labrador called Fingal and three cats. Matilda, Hermione and Albus. Ginger cats are my favourites!