Having qualified as a veterinary nurse in 2006, Louise Hosford has continued her studies throughout her career. Despite an interesting distraction (or two!) during her training, Louise was named as the top Veterinary Nurse SQP Student of the Year at the AMTRA awards, during the AHDA Conference 2019.
I qualified as a Veterinary Nurse in 2006 but have been working in veterinary practice since 1998. Since qualification, I have worked predominantly in small animal practice but have also done some OOH and locum work.
For the last 11 years, I have worked at PDSA in Sheffield. Since qualification, I qualified as a Veterinary Nurse Assessor through ProCo in 2007. After a stint in managerial roles at PDSA, I gained my Graduate Diploma in Professional and Clinical Veterinary Nursing, through the Royal Veterinary College in 2015.
I took 2016 off to have my first baby and after 18 months back in practice, I was ready to begin studying again. As I work for a charity and CPD funding is limited, I like to ensure my budget is well spent! My colleague had qualified as a C-SQP and I spoke with her and decided to give it a go!
Shortly after beginning my studies, I found out I was pregnant again but this time, with twins! So, I set myself a target to compete my studies and C-SQP exams within 4 months – before I became too big to travel!!
I started maternity leave in June of last year, and will be returning to work this May. A typical day for me currently revolves around nappies, feeding babies and trying to keep sane!
However, a typical day at PDSA can be quite varied. I may be working on kennel duty – managing the care of inpatients and day patients. I could be working in nurse clinic (my preferred area) and seeing appointments through the day. Or sometimes in theatre – assisting with several operations and minor procedures. I prefer the nurse clinic work generally, as I really enjoy interaction with our clients. Triage and emergency assessment are generally my favourite aspects of clinic work.
Working in a clinical role was also part of the reason I wanted to achieve SQP status – to better inform clients regarding the health of their pets.
When I qualified as a veterinary nurse in 2006, we learned about aspects of pharmacy and pharmacology, but I really feel like the AMTRA course was a great refresher and a lot more in depth than I anticipated, which was great.
When I return to work, I’m looking forward to utilising my qualification and taking a more active role in discussing preventative health care with our clients, helping them to make informed choices. Our clients often have a low income and as such, need reassurance that products purchased will be both effective and value for money.
I think that SQPs need to be able to relate to all manner of clientele and create rapport. Listening and providing support are qualities that I hope to share with the clients, hopefully encouraging them to come and have a chat about any worries they may have regarding preventative health care, throughout their pets’ life.
I have been very impressed with the content of this qualification and the standard of support provided by AMTRA. I would certainly recommend this qualification to other animal health professionals.
Louise Hosford is part of the PDSA team in Sheffield.