Registered Veterinary Nurse with patient at Fitzpatrick Referrals

Q & A with Registered Veterinary Nurse Sarah Reed

Every year in May, we’re proud to celebrate the work of talented veterinary nurses in our profession for Veterinary Nursing Awareness Month. Over the course of the month, we’ll be sharing interviews with some of our dedicated nurses about their roles and how they’ve developed and furthered their skills and education at Fitzpatrick Referrals.

Introducing Sarah

Sarah Reed is a Registered Veterinary Nurse (RVN) in the prep team at our specialist orthopaedics and neurology practice in Eashing, Surrey, and joined Fitzpatrick Referrals in 2016.

What attracted you to a career in veterinary nursing?

From a young age, I loved animals and as I grew up and gained more knowledge about the veterinary profession after doing work experience, I knew that I wanted to be that passionate and caring person behind the scenes that delivered nursing care to the patients.

Tell us a little about your current RVN role

Since joining Fitzpatrick Referrals five years ago I have acquired a few important roles. As a result, the job is very diverse and no two days are the same! I am an anaesthesia nurse, scrubbed surgical assistant, floor coordinator and clinical coach!

Veterinary nurses in the prep room at Fitzpatrick Referrals

Sarah planning the busy day ahead in prep with colleague Roxy.

What do you like about the referrals side of veterinary nursing?

I’m constantly searching for new ways to improve who I am and what I’m doing. Referral veterinary nursing is great because there are so many opportunities for progression by learning new skills or completing further qualifications. I also enjoy working with such a big team of incredible vets, nurses, auxiliaries, receptionists, radiographers, hydrotherapists, physiotherapists, the list goes on.

What does your role involve and how has your role developed since joining Fitzpatrick Referrals?

Since I started working at Fitzpatrick Referrals, I have gained so much experience in anaesthesia. Anaesthesia is a real passion of mine, there is so much to learn and Fitzpatrick Referrals provides a great learning environment for this. In 2019, I was fortunate to be given the opportunity to complete a nursing certificate in anaesthesia, this gave me in-depth knowledge and theory behind what I do in practice. Now I can pass on this knowledge to my colleagues and students.

Registered Veterinary Nurse with patient at

Registered Veterinary Nurse Sarah anaesthetising a 3-month-old patient in preparation for surgery.

Another role of mine involves scrubbing in for surgical procedures, particularly total hip replacements. My role here is to assist the surgeon with the surgical procedure to ensure that the operation runs smoothly and efficiently. I’ve learnt the steps taken during total hip replacements so that I can anticipate which surgical instruments are needed next and know when the surgery isn’t going to plan so that I can help to quickly rectify the problem.

Coaching vet nurse student at Fitzpatrick Referrals

Clinical Coach Sarah discussing a patient with one of our student vet nurses.

Last year I volunteered myself to learn to become a floor coordinator. Floor coordinating involves leading a team of prep nurses and veterinarians to ensure that patients safely receive their treatments and procedures. Floor coordinating or ‘running the floor’ has increased my confidence and assertiveness considerably. I find it so satisfying at the end of the day when everything is done, the patients are all happy and comfortable and I orchestrated the whole thing.

This year my role adapts again to include a new role as a clinical coach which will involve training a student veterinary nurse to become a qualified Registered Veterinary Nurse. I have training and CPD lined up ready to prepare myself for this next adventure.

It’s been a tough year for everyone with the covid pandemic. Can you share what it’s been like for you as an RVN and how your work and team have adapted?

It’s been a strange and challenging time for everyone but my colleagues at Fitzpatrick Referrals have worked continuously hard throughout lockdown to continue to provide astounding care to pets. We have a lecture theatre where we normally hold in-house CPD, but this became Zoom meetings instead. Mostly we carried on as normal, but with social distancing and PPE. We made the best of a bad situation.

What makes you proud to work at Fitzpatrick Referrals?

Two things:

  • Fitzpatrick Referrals is a state-of-the-art referral centre where animals come to for life-saving, complex orthopaedic and neurological surgeries and go home to their parents following successful recovery. And I am so proud to be a part of that.
  • I’m incredibly proud of my team, also known as the Fitzpatricks family.

Find out about our current nursing career opportunities

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