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Ashley Wilkie, associate managing director at Thrums showing a participant how to bandage a dog on The Thrums Vet School Preparation Programme

Ashley Wilkie, associate managing director at Thrums showing a participant how to bandage a dog on The Thrums Vet School Preparation Programme

Veterinary Nursing Course For Teenagers Will Help To Heal The Industry's Recruitment Issues

2 months ago

23rd April, 2024 12h51

Thrums Vets

Scotland’s largest independent veterinary group, Thrums Vets, is launching a new two-day course that will run at various points during the year and will give 15 to 17 year olds an insight into what it takes to be a veterinary nurse and what the role entails.

The first course will run in May, to coincide with Veterinary Nursing Awareness Month (VNAM) 2024, and is already fully subscribed, with the next one planned for either June or July. Participants will shadow Thrums’ nurses at the group’s Kirriemuir practice and try their hand at a wide range of tasks including learning how to carry out clinical examinations, suturing and bandaging, as well as fluid therapy, patient care, radiography positioning and laboratory work.

During the programme, attendees will also find out about the studying and qualifications required to become a registered veterinary nurse. In addition, the Thrums team will give talks on their professional experiences, as well as highlighting other career paths within the veterinary industry. Participants will then receive a goody bag and a certificate of attendance.

This latest course follows Thrums, which has four practices in Angus and Perthshire, launching a three-day programme last year offering 16 and 17 year olds a taste of life working as a vet. Known as The Thrums Vet School Preparation Programme, the course teaches young people about the role of a vet in a mixed practice, which serves pets, farm animals and equine.

An initial post on Thrums’ Facebook page to gauge interest in The Thrums Vet School Preparation Programme was shared more than 300 times, which resulted in more than 45,000 people viewing it, and this attracted applications from as far away as Glasgow, Leeds and even London.

Ashley Wilkie originally joined Thrums on work experience, before qualifying as a registered veterinary nurse in 2000 and recently became associate managing director. She said: “It doesn’t seem that long ago that I was cleaning kennels but my story goes to show what’s possible for veterinary nurses and following the roaring success of our course for potential vets, we’re excited to launch this latest programme that’s specifically aimed at anyone considering a career in veterinary nursing.

“We’ll trial the first course in May with four young people, who will benefit from one-to-one mentoring, before expanding it to accommodate more people as it develops.

“Participants will gain a first hand understanding of life as a veterinary nurse and we’ve designed it to be very hands-on, with lots of opportunities to have a go at various tasks, as well as asking questions and finding out about the role from those who work in it. This will be particularly valuable and give attendees the chance to hear from our team, who are passionate about the rewarding profession we work in.

“Both these courses are amongst the first of their kind in the UK and we’re hoping that they can help ease the veterinary industry’s recruitment crisis over the long-term. At the end of the course, attendees will have a mentor to support them if they choose to pursue a career in the industry. The mentorship is part of our ambition to help produce a cohort of skilled, engaged and talented individuals that will benefit both Thrums and the veterinary industry as a whole in the future.”

Every year during the month of May, the veterinary profession celebrates Veterinary Nursing Awareness Month, spearheaded by the British Veterinary Nursing Association. This year’s campaign theme is ‘progression’ with the aim of highlighting the diverse range of skills, abilities and career pathways for veterinary nurses.

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