Veterinary nurses are a dedicated bunch of people and never more so than during the Christmas holidays, when many will be stuck into a long shift away from their families.
Veterinary nurses are a dedicated bunch of people and never more so than during the festive period when many will be stuck into a long shift away from their families.
As the festive celebrations get into full swing hundreds of nurses will already be knee deep in emergency calls or caring for in-patients. Among them will be PDSA RVNs Karen Jones and Helen Crofts, who will do a split shift between them on Christmas Day from 8am till 8pm, at the Cardiff pet hospital.
Karen has been with PDSA for more than 18 years and has worked on Christmas day four times.
She said: “The amount of calls you get can vary really, last Christmas I worked we were really busy. When you think of Christmas you think everyone is doing their own thing and not worrying about their pets, but you just never know what is going to come in.”
To make the day feel Christmassy, Karen and Helen work together with one of the vets they are friends with out of work. Each of them takes in mince pies, crackers or something similarly festive with the aim of taking at least an hour out during the day, to have something to eat and pull a cracker.
Karen said: “I don’t get my Christmas dinner until I get home but at least we are with our friends when we can’t be with our families.”
The last Christmas that Karen worked she was extremely busy with a cat’s fractured tibia repair to assist with and a dog with an obstruction that turned out to be a tumour. In both cases the animals recovered well from surgery and were able to go home before the New Year.
“I have worked some Christmas days where it’s been extremely quiet, which is not so good as the day just drags. It’s great if you get some interesting cases, which you get to send home, the owners are so appreciative and when it’s like that it’s very rewarding.
“Generally people are extremely apologetic when they call and it’s usually a genuine emergency.”
She added: “It’s nice when you can help someone and get a good result. I would not be in this job if I could just forget about the animals because it’s Christmas – it’s a vocation and a dedication and we provide a service 24/7, 365 days a year.”