An interview with…Louise Keen, Support Centre Supervisor

Do you have any pets?

Yes, I have 2 cats. Belle, a rescue (I did not name her!) and Eric, a hand rear. I have had many, many hand rears over my nursing career. Eric is my official foster fail 😊

What made you want to be a Registered Veterinary Nurse?

I have always wanted to work with animals from a young age and it just made sense to train to become a Registered Veterinary Nurse.

Do you have any advice for our Student Veterinary Nurses?

Honestly, Get your NPL done! I very much appreciate how overwhelming all those cases can look. The longer you leave it the more work you are going to pile on yourself later through the course. There is no quick fix, you just need to keep at it and remember to keep a little book of every animal you interact with every day. You are doing more than you realise that can be utilised for this!

What led you to this point in your career?

Unfortunately due to becoming unwell I was unable to be on my feet all day and could no longer do the long hours. I was ready to give up on my nursing altogether. Luckily I managed to get a part time job as reception nurse in a mixed practice in Lincolnshire. Here, I was then able to be hands on with a lot of farm animals and it really reminded me how much I loved my career. I am now Supervisor in the central support centre. While I very much miss being hands on with the animals, I am still very much a
nurse and am able further my career through this channel. 

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

Feeling like you have really helped a patient or an owner. It’s not always the major events of ‘saving a life’ that you remember, but often the little things that stay with you.

What was the is hardest part of your job?

Learning to deal with the ones we loose, by illness or euthanasia. Even though euthanasia is more often the kindest option, it I never easy. You are human and being upset is normal. Remember to look after yourself as well and talk openly with your colleagues when you find things are feeling tough.

What skills do you think you need to work in the Contact Centre?

You definitely need to be a people person to some degree. You need to be able to listen and be confident in proving first aid advice over the phone. Often what clients tell you is not actually a very good description of the problem.

What is the best thing to happen to the Veterinary industry during your time?

Remote consulting and telemedicine I believe has really helped the industry. It is a bit of a marmite subject as although it has been around for a long time, it was never really utilised until the Pandemic. We have so many pets all over the country that is it impossible to see them all every time an owner has a simple concern. So I do feel this can really help owners to learn what they can do at home
and when it is necessary to book a physical appointment. The new RCVS guidelines have not really helped this, but hopefully this is a short term issue.

Visit our Nursing College page to learn more about what we can offer aspiring students!