Q & A with Canadian RVN Anna Mollame
Earlier this year, we welcomed Anna Mollame to our nursing team at Fitzpatrick Referrals Orthopaedics and Neurology. Here, Anna has answered our Q & A to give an insight into her role and how she came to work in the UK as a Registered Veterinary Nurse (RVN).
NAME: Anna Mollame
JOB TITLE: Registered Veterinary Nurse
LOCATION: Fitzpatrick Referrals Orthopaedics and Neurology
JOINED: July 2021
FROM: Ontario, Canada
YEARS AS AN RVN: 2 years and 2 months
What attracted you to a career in veterinary nursing?
I’ve always loved animals and wanted to be a veterinarian as a child. I completed a Bachelor of Science in Medical Science (for humans) and realised my passion was still with animals, so my sister suggested becoming a veterinary nurse as it was less schooling and a very “hands-on” career with a lot of diversity in regards to career disciplines. I loved the concept of nursing care and that I could travel and bring my career with me.
What was your nursing experience before moving to the UK for this role?
I spent my first 1.5 years in ECC (Emergency and Critical Care) in a multi-disciplinary referral hospital in Canada and now I am at Fitzpatrick Referrals to further my referral experience.
What do you like about the referrals side of veterinary nursing?
I love that we get to work with the more unique and complicated cases. I love a challenge and referral nursing offers the opportunity to advance your skills and knowledge as well as the veterinary field as a whole.
Tell us about your current RVN role
I am a rotational nurse meaning I alternate between wards and surgical prep. I enjoy the balance between postoperative nursing care in wards and enhancing my anaesthesia/surgical skills in surgical prep. In a quick summary; when I am a wards nurse, my colleagues and I care for up to 40 patients at a time who are postoperative (after surgery). We do hourly checks which can include treatments such as vitals checks, bandage changes and medication administration.
When working in surgical prep, I perform the anaesthesia for the surgical procedures so I am responsible for pain management and anaesthetic monitoring. We deal with a variety of cases at Fitzpatrick Referrals so in one shift you may be working with orthopaedic cases such as a hip replacement or neurological cases such as a hemilaminectomy, which is a type of spinal surgery. We sometimes even have chemotherapy patients as well!
Prior to coming to work here, my anaesthesia skills were quite weak so whilst my job title has not developed, my confidence and capabilities as an RVN have greatly improved with the increased experience Fitzpatrick Referrals has given me.
What’s the best part of your job?
The adorable animals of course!? I love my patients so much! There is no better feeling than seeing your patients improve following surgery and knowing you were able to provide them with a more comfortable and pain-free quality of life. One thing I love about working with animals is that they are so resilient. They can undergo an intense procedure and wake up with their tail wagging and the determination to get back to their energetic self.
What makes you proud to work at Fitzpatrick Referrals?
Working at Fitzpatrick Referrals has been a career goal of mine since I began my education in veterinary nursing. I wanted to be a part of a team that not only wants to provide amazing veterinary care but also wants to advance the veterinary field as a whole so that we can provide care that is comparable to what you would receive in a human hospital. We all have a deep love for our furry friends and it truly shows.
Any advice you’d like to give to aspiring veterinary nurses?
Come join us! The veterinary nursing field is growing every day (especially since the pandemic) and it is such an incredibly rewarding and diverse career. I recommend asking questions to an RVN or educational advisor about the career and/or going for a tour of a veterinary hospital because a lot of what an RVN does is behind the scenes. Being an RVN provides you with the opportunity to constantly expand your skillset. You can work in referral services like orthopaedics or oncology, primary care, zoo medicine, large animal (e.g. horses/cows), research and so much more! It’s a job that is needed around the globe as well so if you’ve been bitten by the travel bug, like me, you’re able to satisfy your love for animals and travel by working overseas!
For any veterinary nurses based overseas, can you outline the process you went through to work in the UK?
Firstly, I did lots of research! I Googled the clinic, the location and local town, to see if it was somewhere I could see myself living and also looked into the cost of housing and UK COVID-19 requirements. Next, I applied to Fitzpatrick Referrals and successfully went through the interview process, which was also a great opportunity for me to ask questions about the feasibility of moving here.
I then applied for a work visa. As a Canadian, I was eligible for the Youth Mobility Scheme visa which allows those aged 18 to 30 years old from Canada (and other countries such as Australia and New Zealand) to work in the UK for up to two years. It can take up to 8 weeks for approval but mine arrived very quickly thankfully! I then contacted the RCVS to transfer my RVN licence to the UK and join their register of veterinary nurses.
Next, I organised transport for my dog Rae, who I brought over to the UK with me. The easiest way to organise this is by working with a pet importer through the IATA, who help you organise the flight, paperwork and veterinary requirements.
Finally, I looked for a dog-friendly place to live and once I had a confirmed address, I was able to apply for debit card, as transferring money is a lot easier with a UK bank account.
Throughout the process, I kept in touch with the friendly HR team and Clinical Nurse Coordinators who helped with any questions and finalised my start date. I love talking about my experience moving here and I would be more than happy to talk with any international prospective Fitz family to help them!