Hannah started off working as a waitress part-time whilst completing her National Diploma in Animal Management at Easton College in Norfolk. She always wanted to work with animals and during her college course decided to visit a small veterinary practice in North Norfolk every Friday to gain some experience. She had the lucky opportunity to be offered an interview for a Student Veterinary Nurse role which unfortunately she didn’t get, however she was offered an unpaid internship at the same practice. Hannah leapt at the opportunity and even though she wasn’t getting paid, she was able to start her vet nurse journey and gained a wealth of experience.
Hannah attended Easton College two days a week in the first year and one day a week in the second year. Due to staff changes, she was then offered a full-time paid role so moved to north Norfolk where she started doing out of hours work.
In 2013, after a lot of exams, assignments and practical work, Hannah finally qualified and became a Registered Veterinary Nurse (RVN) which wasn’t an easy road with a lot of ups and downs. Several years after qualifying, she was offered the opportunity to become Deputy Head Nurse, this involved overseeing the day-to-day running of the practice including all aspects of nursing, ordering medications and equipment and supporting the Student Veterinary Nurses.
In 2016 she felt like she needed a change, and an opportunity came up as a theatre nurse at DWR Veterinary Specialists. Hannah was overwhelmed by the size of the team but knew she could further her career. It took her a long time to settle in, enjoying the surgical side of the position but lacking in confidence. So she completed her Emergency and Critical Care Course by Vets Now which took 18 months but really helped with building her confidence in the theatre setting, especially with out of hours work.
Hannah really enjoys theatre work because of the fast pace environment, the exciting case load, with no day being the same. She feels like she learns something new every day and makes a difference to patients needing surgery. Hannah really enjoys seeing patients being ‘fixed’ whether it is a small mass removal; a fracture repair or emergency surgery such as a haemoabdomen (blood in abdomen).
As a Theatre Nurse, the role consists of clipping and preparing patients for surgery, maintaining theatre cleanliness, assisting surgeons during procedures, ensuring equipment is maintained and ready for a particular procedure (and using the portable x-ray and fluoroscopy machines), pricing, assisting anaesthetists in locoregional blocks and the placement of arterial lines and intravenous catheters as well as monitoring anaesthesia.
In 2022, Hannah was given the opportunity to expand her role and become Lead RVN for theatre. This involves working closely with, and supporting the Theatre Manager, ensuring all theatre equipment is maintained and in good working order, ordering equipment, instruments and all consumables used in theatre, organising the Theatre Schedule, coordinating surgeons, anaesthesia and theatre staff for surgery cases for that day, assisting in training Student Veterinary Nurses as well doing the main Theatre Nurse role. Becoming the Lead RVN for theatre has been exciting and is often fast paced as things can change quickly especially when we have emergencies. Having five theatres running with different surgeons operating and patients needing to be operated on can be a tricky puzzle at times especially when everybody wants to operate at the same time but can be rewarding when a problem gets solved.