Disability confident employer: why Carmel Vets was the perfect fit for RVN Susie, looking for an inclusive workplace in which to thrive

Susie Phillips, a skilled and experienced veterinary nurse at Carmel Vets, shares her outstanding achievements in feline behaviour and fear-free approaches to nursing. As a vet nurse with a disability, Susie shares how the inclusive attitude from the team at Carmel Vets has ensured she’s felt supported to achieve her goals. Her commitment to providing compassionate and fear-free inspires colleagues and clients alike.

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Can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you came to work at the practice?

I qualified as an RVN in 2018. Sometime after qualifying and working in practice, I ended up taking a year off due to illness and when I felt ready to return, I found myself searching for the right opportunity.

Carmel Vets stood out to me, and something that caught my attention was their openness to individuals with disabilities. Because of my limited mobility, I had come to a point where I wasn't sure if nursing was feasible for me. But seeing their inclusive approach made me reconsider. Tracy, the practice manager was so great to engage with about potentially joining the team, and from that moment, I knew I wanted to be part of their supportive team.

It sounds like you've found the supportive environment you were looking for with Carmel Vets. What motivates you to work in the veterinary industry?

I've always had a passion for animals. I had various jobs before I came to volunteer at Shropshire Cat Rescue. That experience solidified my desire to work in animal care. Interestingly, it was a vet nurse I met during a visit to the clinic who encouraged me to pursue this path. Their encouragement was a turning point, and I realised it's never too late to chase your dreams!

Can you tell us more about Carmel Vets and what it’s like to work there?

Our team is fantastic. They recognised my passion for feline medicine and behaviour, which has been incredibly rewarding. We're always exploring new ideas and initiatives, and the support from my colleagues is unmatched. Everyone is valued and supported.

Our practice manager is incredibly approachable and supportive. What I appreciate most is their willingness to enable us to succeed. When I joined, I had a known health condition that limited my mobility, but they didn't hesitate to support me every step of the way. They recognised my potential and helped me build the confidence to thrive in my role.

What makes us special, I believe, is our collective dedication to innovation and collaboration. Everyone brings unique skills and interests to the table, and we're always eager to support each other's growth. It's a truly collaborative environment where ideas are welcomed.

What kinds of cases do you see at the practice?

We handle a wide range of cases, primarily focusing on dogs and cats. We also recently obtained silver status as a rabbit-friendly vets from the Rabbit Welfare Association and Fund which reflects our commitment to providing comprehensive care.

Personally, I have a particular interest in geriatric and pain management cases. We also focus on implementing fear-free techniques, which have made a significant difference in our approach to patient care.

What are your favourite things about working at the practice?

The camaraderie among the team is a highlight. We're not just coworkers; we're a close-knit group dedicated to making a real difference. I particularly enjoy the opportunity to contribute to the practice's growth and improvement. Whether it's implementing fear-free techniques or achieving silver status as a cat-friendly clinic too, we're always striving to enhance our services and support our clients in the best way possible.

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

One aspect that might surprise newcomers is the level of support and care we provide for our team members. It's not just about treating animals; it's also about ensuring everyone's wellbeing. We even have a beautiful garden area where staff can relax and recharge during breaks—a small touch that makes a big difference in maintaining a positive work environment.

What do you enjoy about the local area?

Bantock Park is a hidden gem in the local area. It's a wonderful place to unwind and take a stroll, especially during lunch breaks. Plus, having easy access to amenities like supermarkets makes everyday errands convenient.

What hobbies and interests do you have outside of work?

Outside of work, I'm heavily involved in volunteering at Shropshire Cat Rescue. Whether it's providing behavioural support or assisting with weight checks at the feline retirement village, it's incredibly rewarding to give back to the community. I also enjoy staying active through walking and taking on various challenges to raise funds for the rescue. Spending quality time in our campervan with my husband and friends is always a highlight.

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

One of my proudest achievements is obtaining distinctions in both the ISFM Advanced Certificate in Feline Behaviour and the ISFM Diploma in Feline Nursing. Additionally, becoming an Elite Fear Free Practitioner has been incredibly fulfilling. I'm also proud of the moments when thinking outside the box to help very fearful patients pays off—it's a reminder of the impact compassionate care can have.

Tell us about your pets!

I'm a proud parent to five rescue cats: Pippin, Gizzmo, Bob, Tyrian, and Freddie. Each one has their own unique personality and story. Tyrian and Freddie were hand-reared and never left home, while Bob unexpectedly became a permanent member of the family after a failed foster attempt. Pippin, our only girl, used to accompany us on adventures in the campervan when she was younger. She's also been instrumental in demonstrating how well cats can adapt to treatments like inhalers. And Freddie assists with packing online shop orders for Shropshire Cat Rescue!