For vet nurse Caleb Norman, the best part of his job is knowing that he’s making a difference in the community “one little furry footstep at a time”.
Growing up on a lifestyle block in Tuakau, South Auckland, Caleb Norman was always surrounded by animals.
“We had cows, sheep, horses, pigs. I was always out bottle-feeding the calves and lambs and helping look after the animals. That sparked my passion for working with animals,” says Caleb.
After completing University Entrance half-way through Year 13, Caleb left Dilworth School to pursue higher education. He initially wanted to become a veterinarian, but decided vet nursing was more for him.
“I felt that vet nursing was more up my alley in the sense that you get to do more of the physical handling of the patients and provide the kind of care I wanted to.”
“The classroom gave us the backbone for everything and then being able to actually work out on placement really helped us understand why we do the things UCOL was teaching us.”
After finishing the programme, Caleb landed a full-time job as a Vet Care Assistant at Massey University’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital. He made such a good impression that after five months he was trained up as an Anesthetic Technician and later began teaching vet students the ins and outs of anesthesia.
On top of working, Caleb continued studying part time towards UCOL’s
New Zealand Diploma in Veterinary Nursing
. It was the ideal arrangement for Caleb, as he was able to count his work as placement hours.
Caleb now works as a Senior Veterinary Nurse at Animal Emergency Centre in Auckland, an after-hours clinic that provides overnight care for animals after they’ve been treated by their regular vets, as well as emergency care.
“We get a lot of emergencies, like animals that have been hit by cars or eaten something they shouldn’t have. We do everything from consults to running diagnostics. I do a lot of the anesthesia as well.”
“Working in emergency, we see a whole range of animals. Along with the usual cats and dogs, we get things like chinchillas, guinea pigs, and quite a lot of rats lately. We get the odd turtle and birds, and a lot of wildlife as well.”
Through his work, Caleb has found his passion for emergency care. He’s now expanding his skills in the area by studying towards a City & Guilds qualification, using an award from his old secondary school to cover the fees.
Caleb is also working on an application that calculates the correct drug dosages for animals. He has already built it as an Excel spreadsheet, which is used in his clinic, and he is looking to have it professionally developed into an application that he can sell.