Experienced registered veterinary nurse Nicola Taylor knows all about multi-tasking and turning her hand to the next career challenge.
Ten years ago, she joined one of the UK’s leading small animal hospitals and has since enjoyed a varied and successful career.
Nicola is now using Veterinary Nurse Awareness Month (VNAM) to speak about her career at Linnaeus-owned Davies Veterinary Specialists in Hitchin, Hertfordshire.
She said: “I started at Davies as a kennel assistant in 2013 before moving across to work in sterile services and then, in 2015, I trained as a theatre technician.
“I went on to study for my Level 2 animal nursing assistant qualification before moving on to complete my nursing training in 2017.
“After qualifying as a registered veterinary nurse, I rejoined Davies and enrolled on the Linnaeus Post-Registration Programme.
“It was really rewarding. There were mentor meetings, help from supervisors and I could discuss with them any cases that I found challenging. It was a comprehensive way to transition from primary care nursing to referral.
“Linnaeus is also keen to encourage ongoing professional development and I completed an anaesthesia and analgesia course which comprised 40 hours’ CPD presented by specialists across Linnaeus.”
As well her RVN role, Nicola is sustainability lead at Davies, which is renowned for leading the way on eco-friendly measures in the veterinary industry.
She said: “As sustainability lead, it’s my job to audit the hospital’s carbon footprint and set targets and implement projects to achieve a reduction.
“I investigate areas of clinical practice where we can reduce waste, consumables and energy consumption without compromising standards.
“Between our 2021 and 2022 audits, we reduced our operational carbon footprint by just over a fifth based on data we submitted to Investors in the Environment.
“This was based on reducing the bottled gas purchased for running the tumble dryers, lower flow anaesthesia techniques decreasing the amount of isoflurane purchased and used, as well as reducing electricity consumption on site.
“It’s a challenge sometimes to change long established habits across the hospital but we’re all committed to being more sustainable and reducing our impact.”
Lillian Twigg, head of nursing at Davies, said Nicola was a perfect example of the wide range of roles and responsibilities that vet nursing can offer.
She explained: “Nicola has excelled during her time at Davies and taken full advantage of the PRP.
“It’s a scheme that’s unique to Linnaeus and helps to support newly qualified nurses as they transition from student vet nurse to referral nurse.
“Nicola’s success clearly demonstrates the career progression opportunities available and how a veterinary nursing career can span so many different areas and disciplines.
“Since completing the programme she’s now taken on the sustainability lead, too.
“She initiates and leads different schemes within our practice to help reduce waste and energy and has also been responsible for the installation of a pretty impressive bug hotel in the hospital garden.”
Outside work, Nicola keeps an allotment, makes preserves from homegrown fruits and vegetables, enjoys cycling and walking. Nicola also likes wildlife and bird watching, natural history museums, escape rooms and playing board games.