Do you remember why you started on the road to becoming a veterinary nurse? For many it is a love of animals and a caring nature that ignites the spark. With the current challenges facing the veterinary workforce, it can be easy to lose sight of the positives amongst the stresses and strains of daily life. However, Veterinary Nurse Awareness Month (VNAM) provides the perfect opportunity to take stock and celebrate the work of this fabulous bunch of veterinary professionals.

Veterinary nurses are a wonderful group of highly skilled individuals who have trained long and hard to reach RVN status. Utilising their many talents to the full is key to the smooth running of any practice as well as to levels of RVN job satisfaction. Whether nursing an in-patient, sharing their wealth of knowledge and advice with pet owners or using their finely honed clinical skills, they are an integral part of the veterinary team and investing time in developing clinical skills and confidence, both in practice and through external veterinary nurse CPD, pays dividends in the long run.

So where does resilience fit into veterinary nursing and what does it really mean? Resilience says different things to different people but by and large it is the ability to withstand adversity and bounce back up from difficult life events. With the daily rollercoaster of emotions in veterinary practice, first puppy visits one minute, end of life consults the next, resilience is a skill that needs nurturing.

Resilience is an important skill to have – we all need it to a greater or lesser extent to help get through the rollercoaster of feelings that those tricky days present us with. Whether it is a succession of challenging clients coming through the consulting room doors, a patient not responding to treatment as well as expected or the euthanasia of a much-loved ‘regular’, resilience helps cope with the melting pot of emotions. Add to this the fact that demands from the pet-owning public have increased exponentially in the last few years, and it quickly becomes clear that there are increasing pressures on practice employees both physically and mentally. Resilience helps in coping with the daily demands of veterinary practice life including the many highs but also those inevitable lows.

There are very few industries with such a strong team ethos as the veterinary profession with close bonds formed over late-night emergencies and hectic days where pulling together makes all the difference, so maybe resilience is best thought of at a team level, putting less onus on the individual to cope alone.

With a whole multitude of factors contributing to the current recruitment and retention challenges the profession is facing, there are no overnight solutions. What is not in doubt is what a wonderfully talented and resourceful group of professionals’ veterinary nurses are.