A Day in the Life of a Locum Veterinary Nurse

Among Registered Veterinary Nurses, locum RVNs stand out as versatile professionals who embark on a journey filled with new challenges and rewards every single day. You may be wondering what a typical day looks like for a locum RVN… Well, let me give you an idea!

The morning rush consists of hearing the dreaded alarm at 5:30 am (I mean, who likes having to get up at any time of the day/night?). Once up and feeling a bit more awake, I head to the gym for a session. Time now allows this as a locum, with me being able to work shift times that suit me best! I also find I have more motivation for the gym, as I’m not mentally exhausted now that I don’t have to deal with the many complexities of a full-time position! Once I finish my session, I feel even more ready for a day of working alongside colleagues at one of the many practices where I have the pleasure of helping out.

As I set off out the door to make my way to work, I look forward to being greeted by the smiles from the team I’ve grown close to over the last few months, who I shared an emotionally testing day with just the week before.

Upon arrival, I’m reminded that I’m welcomed as a fresh but familiar face, adding a breath of fresh air to the clinic and an uplifted vibe for the day. A brew is kindly made for me, and the best thing is, they don’t even have to ask what I want – I’m on their staff brew list! An update on any gossip is shared, and we crack on for a good day. Being a listening ear for many of my colleagues working in full-time practice is a regular occurrence, but an important role of being impartial and able to ease the pressures and stresses of the team holding up an overwhelmed clinic.

Being able to relieve the head nurse of the daily RVN duties, so they can focus on ordering, organising, rota sorting, fixing, or coaching, feels empowering for a locum RVN like myself. It also removes a heavy weight off my colleagues’ shoulders, who now have time to complete some of their never-ending list of tasks. It enables me to focus on what I trained to do – to nurse, to nurture, to pay attention to detail.

 I have the opportunity to share my knowledge and tips and tricks I’ve picked up along the way. My eyes are also opened to alternative ways of doing things. For this, I gain so much job satisfaction; each locum shift I complete helps to mould me into the nurse I am today.

A busy day complete, it’s time to go home. Once out of the door, all practice politics are left behind in the confines of the veterinary clinic. No major responsibilities looming over me to keep me awake at night! However, a sense of fulfilment washes over me as I reflect back on the lives I’ve impacted and the bonds I’ve forged.

After a 30-minute trip home, I make sure I do a little admin to keep on top of things: mileage tracked, timesheets updated, invoices sent, and brew in hand. It all sounds daunting, but it really is water under the bridge in the grand scheme of things, and the benefits of locuming far outweigh having to do a little paperwork!

The flexibility of being a locum nurse has really given me my freedom back, reduced a lot of stressors in my life, and opened me up to many more opportunities. As I sit back at the end of the day and reflect on the patients I had the pleasure to care for, I also think about my next holiday and where I’m going next!

I can now go to sleep stress-free, without all of the work-related issues floating around my head that I’d normally have to sort the next day if I was an employee. I can sleep well and look forward to my next shift elsewhere, catching up with another team of amazing colleagues who I haven’t seen for a week! It’s now that I realise how lucky I am as a locum RVN, I still feel that constant buzz of frequently experiencing new places, new faces and new furry patients!

I’m definitely not giving it up any time soon…

31st Jan, 2024 by Sarah McKain RVN