Indy Carthew always knew she wanted to work with animals, and despite suggestions that she should study veterinary science, she was not interested in surgery or diagnostics.
“I wanted a job where I got to spend as much time as possible with the animals, tending to their specific medical and emotional needs,” she says.
Indy remembers when she was at high school, her fox terrier Arthur got sick.
“We took him to our local vet clinic. Our vet was so great, but the veterinary nurses were amazing in my eyes, they were so caring.”
Indy admits that, due to her shyness, her Mum asked on her behalf if she could do some work experience hours at the clinic.
“They graciously allowed me to go in during my school holidays.”
“This was when I decided I wanted to be a veterinary nurse and I looked into different courses around New Zealand. I liked the look of UCOL’s NZ Diploma of Veterinary Nursing course because it had an emphasis on practical learning and, to me, this is the most important and exciting way to learn,” says Indy.
In her time studying, she says she felt so lucky to have a team of caring lecturers who wanted her to succeed and be her best self.
“My UCOL lecturers were really approachable and supportive.”
Indy says there are certain skills that you can only develop so far in a classroom.
“After you have the theoretical understanding of practical skills, such as animal handling/restraint, IV catheter placement and anaesthesia (to name just a few) you need to practice them in a supportive environment. In my second year of study, we did rotations in different veterinary clinics where we were paired with veterinary nurses and got to put our theoretical knowledge into practice.
“That experience really set me up for what to expect once I was out in the workforce. I learnt from actual vet nurses and that was the best way to do it.”
Indy graduated from UCOL in 2015 and now works at Animates Vetcare in Palmerston North as a veterinary nurse.
“I work full time but manage to find some time to do continuing professional development. This year I have attended a two-day anaesthesia course with Marcia Fletcher of The Pink Stethoscope, and I am just finishing up an online animal physiotherapy course.”
A recent career highlight for the 26-year-old was winning the Animates Veterinary Nurse of the Year Award within the company.
“Our clinic is a small clinic. Most days we have one veterinarian and two to three veterinary nurses. I love the family feel our team has, and I love that working in a small clinic means that I know a lot of our clients and their pets really well. A few clients refer to me as ‘Aunty Indy’ to their pets!”
Of her future, Indy says, “I just want to continue to grow and learn as a veterinary nurse. I want to be the best nurse to my animal patients that I can be.”
Photo: Indy Carthew and George.