Writing a travel blog is important. I recently sat down and read my diary from my trip to Thailand over three years ago and was warmed by the memories I thought I had forgotten. For as long as I can remember I have always wanted to travel. I love seeing new cultures, finding quirky bars and shops, meeting new people, sharing stories, making memories.
My training as a Veterinary Nurse has opened a lot of doors for me in terms of working whilst travelling and I’ve come to realise the saying ‘it’s not what you know, but who you know’, rings very true! Australia is a country in which, being a UK qualified Veterinary Nurse means that getting a job should be easy!
I plan to do volunteer charity and wildlife work as I travel as well as paid work, in Australia and then Asia. This blog will act as an opportunity to document how nursing abroad has changed my view, and share my experiences with other Veterinary professionals. (And maybe even help people who are looking at taking on the same challenge! Feel free to comment or start a discussion – I’d love to hear about your ideas or experiences 🙂
I arrived in Melbourne, Australia on the 18th of March with a job prospect lined up at the University of Melbourne. Unfortunately, after realising how naive I had been with the distance of the city in comparison to my new place of work, I had to turn the job down, and search for one closer to the city centre. I now have a job at a non-for profit organisation, which I love.
(I need to thank a fellow UK nurse for helping me get this position – like I said, it’s who you know!) The clinic treats companion animals, as well as having a decent exotic caseload, and treating Australian wildlife.
The clinic itself is large – it has around 80 nurses, who work on a shift pattern as well as a roster system for covering extra shifts due to sickness etc. There are several wards, separate for dogs, cats and exotics, as well as a large treatment room, theatres etc. that you would expect to see in a vet clinic.
So far my experience has been similar to UK nursing. Many of the same drugs are used, with slightly different trade names, and the techniques are pretty similar. A good example of this is the common use of Pentosan in Australia – a drug I thought I had never seen used in the UK. After some research, I’ve realised the same drug is branded as Cartrophen in the UK!
‘Cartrophen Vet (100mg/mL of pentosan polysulfate sodium or PPS) is a treatment for osteoarthritis and related musculoskeletal disorders in dogs and horses. It provides pain relief by acting on the pathology within the joint that causes pain and lameness. It is… classified as a disease modifying osteoarthritis drug (DMOAD).’
It acts by stimulating cartilage production, improving the quantity and quality of synovial fluid, as well as increasing blood flow and therefore nutrition delivery to the joint. It also has strong anti-inflammatory properties. The nurses here run pentosan injection clinics; since the course of pentosan is generally 4 injections which are 5-7 days apart, the nurses tend to administer the middle two, whilst gaining a progress report on how they believe the medication is or isn’t affecting their dog.
This works well and feels like a good use of nurses time. I feel trusted to get a good client history, communicate with the client and report back to the vet if necessary,
I believe a positive note of this clinic is the use of nurses for triage. Everything that enters the practice on an A&E basis is first triaged by a Veterinary Nurse. This means that everything can then be given a status depending on how critical the case is and a TPR can be taken, to save the vet time during the consult. It also means that if simple things come through A&E, these things can be dealt with and sent home. A good example of this recently was a cat with an overgrown claw – this was cut, the hole in the pad cleaned with betadine, a consult vet grabbed to eyeball the case, before sending it on its way with betadine to clean it at home. A simple yet effective way of utilising nurses. I was surprised that this kind of trust was put in nurses here, as the Australian nursing qualification is less in depth in comparison to the UK qualification.
I (probably wrongly) assumed that less trust would be put in nurses. After talking to a few of my new colleagues however, I was informed that life as a Veterinary Nurse in a small private practice is very much as I was imagining. This is something I hope to investigate further as I travel Australia.
I hope working abroad is only going to widen my views and open my mind and I’m looking forward to it.
Until next time!
Travelling Vet Nurse