When I was asked to write a piece on resilience, I was honestly a bit stumped on how to begin. This is most in part, because it has never been a concept that I would associate with myself. So, I turned to the words of several famous poets as how better to gain an understanding of the beauty of a word.

Resilience is the strength in a person’s psychological and emotional outlook; an ability to pick oneself up following the worst situations and carry on regardless. Resilience can be regarded as the cousin, if not the sister, to hope and determination. If this isn’t the epitome of a veterinary nurse, then I don’t know what is.

To me, what is inspiring about our profession, is the strength in the people that surround me. It is from that strength that I draw my own. We hold each other up, caring for one and other, and most of all, our patients. My team have always been there for me, through every flare up of my endometriosis, accommodating additional duties and beyond, to aid me when I was in more pain than I can describe. This was even further exemplified, when, at 26 years old, I got told I was going into heart failure and would have to undergo major surgery in order to live. Typically, this was the year that the world shut down due to Covid. I was able to meet with my surgeon three days before the first lockdown. I was told that as we had no idea what was going to happen with the pandemic, it would be an indefinite period of time before I would know when the surgery would take place. So, for the following six months, I was trapped in my house, unable to leave, just getting weaker and sicker.

My friends and co-workers, like many in our profession, were courageously working on through the pandemic to ensure our patients were cared for. Despite the stress and pressure, they were under, they still found time to call me every couple of days, checking in, ensuring that I was doing okay. Their kindness in those times meant more to me than I can ever communicate. Their resilience and their strength was the inspiration that got me through the following months of surgery and recovery. It makes me incredibly proud to be part of their team and to work alongside such people. I would be lost without them and this profession.

Penny Leeper RVN