Equine veterinary nurse (EVN) Anna Saul has enjoyed a 19-year career at Aireworth Vets in Keighley, West Yorkshire. As well as delivering high levels of care to horses and their owners, she’s helping shape the future of the profession. Here, she shares how she’s inspiring other equine veterinary nurses to grow their careers.
ANNA Saul loves her role caring for horses and playing a part in their recovery, but she has relished the opportunity to develop her career and take on other responsibilities, thanks to the support of her practice and VetPartners.
Alongside her nursing duties at Aireworth Vets, Anna visits clients on yards, coaches students, lectures at a local college, sits on VetPartners’ Equine Clinical Board and is involved in a project to help boost the career paths of equine veterinary nurses.
Anna said: “Thanks to the opportunities that have been given to me, I have been able to continue working for a practice I love while widening my career horizons.
“When a really sick horse comes into the practice and I’m able to use my nursing skills to make a difference to the patient, I’m living my best life. However, learning new things and having more direct contact with clients is something I find really rewarding.”
One of her proudest achievements is helping owners and their horses through organising weight management clinics.
“I visit yards to chat to owners, weigh and body condition score their horses and share advice on feeding and management,” she said. “The clinics are popular, and I’ve received great feedback. Some clients have said it has helped their horses stay laminitis free after years of struggling to keep them at a healthy weight.
“When VetPartners ran a focus on equine weight management last year, I became my practice’s campaign ambassador and I was proud to share what we’d achieved with our other equine practices.”
Anna joined Aireworth Vets after meeting one of the clinical directors, Matt Butterell, while she was working as a groom, and expressed an interest in doing work experience.
She explained: “I thought this would be a good way to get on the equine nursing career ladder as I’d contacted around 20 practices and they all said I lacked the necessary experience. Matt went one better and offered me a job.”
Although Aireworth was a training practice for RVNs, it wasn’t for equine nurses, but Anna turned to the management team and set the wheels in motion to change this. With her practice’s support, she went on to achieve her Level 3 diploma.
To boost her skills further, Anna studied for her Advanced Veterinary Nursing Certificate in 2016.
Her passion for helping other EVNs enjoy their dream career has seen her contribute towards our Project NURSE initiative, which is focused on helping equine nurses utilise their full skillset.
She added: “I also share what I’ve learned with our trainees at Aireworth as I’m a clinical coach. At first I found it difficult to stand back and let someone else do the practical tasks while I provided guidance, but now I really enjoy mentoring the next generation of EVNs.
“I’m a huge advocate of communication and collaboration across the whole practice, too, because we’re all here to provide the highest levels of care to our patients and the best experience for our clients.
Through talking about our weight management clinics to our reception team, for example, they have helped me share the message with clients and let them know about the benefits for their horses.”
Looking ahead, Anna is keen to continue tackling equine obesity and is looking forward to sharing her knowledge on nursing and management topics through writing for websites and publications.
She said: “It was on my bucket list to have something published so that when I type my name into Google something interesting comes up! I’ve written several papers, including articles on weight management and nurse care plans, and it’s hugely rewarding to see these in print.
“I’m also excited to share the message about Project NURSE this year and hope to help inspire more of our brilliant EVNs: it’s your career, so make it what you want it to be!”
For media enquiries, please contact Jo Browne, VetPartners PR and Communications Manager (South). Email firstname.lastname@example.org