Emergency and Critical Care Nurse – Veterinary Nurse Awareness Month 2021

As part of Veterinary Nurse Awareness Month, we’re going to be focusing on some of our amazing veterinary nurses and show the different careers each one has chosen.  Today we hear from Emergency and Critical Care Nurse – Jasmine Kilpatrick  

What got you interested in becoming a veterinary nurse? 

Since the age of 10 my passion was to become a veterinary nurse. The thought of being able to look after animals during their most vulnerable times was my main drive. I worked in a shelter primary care practice for 4 years and at the start of last year moved to Eastcott Referrals and became an Emergency and Critical Care veterinary nurse.  

What are the key skills you think you need to be a successful RVN? 

In my opinion the key skills to become a successful RVN are to be a compassionate individual, who has a strong work ethic and is dedicated to fulfil all aspects of their role. It is important to know that being an RVN is not a glamorous job and does involve a lot of infection control and dealing with bodily fluids!  

What makes your day so rewarding?   

I find my job incredibly rewarding and although it can be emotionally draining at times, I cannot imagine myself doing anything else. Veterinary nursing allows you to professionally develop and specialise in certain areas. In addition to specialising in Emergency and Critical Care I am also a mentor for newly qualified veterinary nurses starting work at a referral hospital and leader of the hospital’s green team. I am also currently completing my Cert VN ECC by Vets Now and hope to pass my exam in September! I am very academic and enjoy studying and expanding my knowledge.  

Is there any particular patient or case you’ve been involved with that has stuck with you? 

All of my patient’s hold a special place in my heart, as they are often very ill and rely on me to care for them. However, there have been a few cases recently that have really stuck with me due to their bravery and strength during life-threatening times. For example, we recently had a case in that had multiple trauma injuries and had to undergo a variety of complex surgeries to stabilise. During these it was very touch and go and during its recovery in ICU we were unsure if the patient was even going to wake up due to neurological damage. These cases can be very emotive and challenging, but it is important to ensure the patient is always comfortable and that you provide them with a high standard of nursing care throughout.  

How did you find the challenges posed by 2020? Both professionally and personally 

2020 was a challenging year for us all and the veterinary industry powered through to provide emergency care to our companion animals. For me in particular, my hours and caseload increased dramatically. This was difficult at times and incredibly tiring, but it allowed me to personally develop and my confidence to grow.  

If you could go back in time what advice would you give to the younger you starting out on your career? 

If I could go back in time and give advice to my younger self, I would say to not put so much pressure on myself and to allow myself time to develop and grow and to not put a time limit on this progression.