In this blog, Rachel discusses how trauma and a breast cancer diagnosis led to paving a new career path, in coaching and mental health support for the veterinary profession.

*Trigger Warning – Divorce, Single Mum, Mental Health and Breast Cancer.

“Mental health and well-being within the veterinary profession is the main focus for me, and here is my back story….

I qualified as a RVN in 2019 and worked at a fantastic supportive practice. When I qualified, I felt on top of the world; confident and competent in my skills, and always keen to learn and develop.

I fell pregnant not long after qualifying and had a year off for maternity leave. In this time, I had a lot of trauma, a difficult divorce, and becoming a new single mum, but I was determined to pursue the profession that I loved, so I went back to work part-time.

I noticed that my confidence had taken a dramatic drop but with the support of my practice, I got back into the swing of things. My problem was that I couldn’t sustain the OOH requirement as a single parent and had to make the decision to leave.

I now work as a clinical tutor of Veterinary Nursing and I locum part-time so that I can work my hours around my daughter. It’s through locum work, and working with our next generation of SVNs, that I identified a need for mental health support in our profession. I knew that I wanted to do something and toyed with the idea of coaching for a while.

It was only when I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2022 that I decided that I NEEDED to do this course. I thought that if I could learn the techniques to help me get through this difficult time, then I could help others too. So that’s what I did.

I’m now a certified life coach and a mental health first aider. I’ve also started a business that delivers CPD to practices and learning institutions, sharing techniques to help us look after ourselves, to value ourselves, to not be so hard on ourselves, and to be our own biggest supporter.

I encourage people to value themselves so that they aren’t relying on others for validation, to build confidence and in turn build a healthy work culture.

I know that my techniques work because they’ve got me through the most difficult times of my life.”

If you are struggling with anything mentioned in this story and need to seek help, please look at our Mental Health Toolkit, and/or the following signposts;