Charlotte’s ‘exotic’ Route Into Veterinary Nursing With Southfields

A veterinary nurse with a love of exotic animals has spoken about how caring for cats and dogs during a weekend job as a teenager was the driving force behind her ambition to become an RVN.

Charlotte Dyall, an anaesthesia RVN at Linnaeus-owned Southfields Veterinary Specialists, in Essex, has combined her interest and passion for caring for exotic animals and wildlife with studying and qualifying as a registered vet nurse.

Since qualifying as an RVN in May 2017, Charlotte has taken on a number of roles focused on exotic species and wildlife, including joining the Association of Zoo and Exotic Veterinary Nurses (AZEVN), becoming part of the British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) and volunteering at the South Essex Wildlife Hospital.

Describing her journey from teenager to anaesthesia RVN, Charlotte said: “While completing my GCSEs through to the end of my A-Levels, I worked during the weekends at a boarding kennels and cattery.

“This is where I discovered how much I enjoyed caring for dogs and cats, and I knew I wanted to become a veterinary nurse from day one there.

“I started working in a busy primary care hospital in 2013 as a veterinary care assistant following a work placement and after years of study and passing practical exams, I entered on to the RCVS register of veterinary nurses in 2017.

“Throughout my training, I discovered a love of exotic species, mainly rabbits and guinea pigs, and I knew I wanted to pursue that further. I also took charge of any wildlife cases which came into the practice – which mostly consisted of hedgehogs and birds.”

After a wide and varied role working at various branches of a primary care vets, Charlotte joined multidisciplinary referral centre Southfields, which is moving to a new £16 million state-of-the-art site in January, in February 2020.

She said: “I felt I needed to make a move to a new and challenging environment, and as a multi-discipline centre, Southfields was a perfect fit for that.

“Of course, just a month after joining Southfields, Covid-19 hit the world and the practice had to make some changes to the way we worked to ensure the safety of the team. This saw me in the role of theatre nurse, which seemed like a drastic change at the time!

“I soon realised concentrating on one service really means you can focus your attention into one area of nursing, which improves your skills in that given area greatly.”

“In December 2020, I was given the opportunity to join the anaesthesia team, which has been a fantastic experience so far.”

As well as her vital work as an anaesthesia nurse with Southfields, Charlotte has continued her dedication to exotic species and wildlife through her volunteering which, in her words “opened my eyes to the world of wildlife rescue and charity work’.

With Southfields having launched an exotics service led by Daniel Calvo Carrasco, an RCVS specialist in Zoo and Wildlife Medicine and a European Specialist in Avian Medicine and Surgery, Charlotte is now also able to combine her dream job in anaesthesia with her passion for exotic animal care.

“I became acting senior theatre nurse in July last year and concentrating on one service really means you can focus your attention into one area of nursing, which improves your skills in that given area greatly.”

As well as her vital work as theatre nurse with Southfields, Charlotte has continued her dedication to exotic species and wildlife through her volunteering which, in her words “opened my eyes to the world of wildlife rescue and charity work’.

With Southfields having launched an exotics service led by Daniel Calvo Carrasco, an RCVS specialist in Zoo and Wildlife Medicine and a European Specialist in Avian Medicine and Surgery, Charlotte is now also able to combine her dream job with her passion.

Southfields Veterinary Specialists is dedicated to providing the highest standards of veterinary care for pets and providing a seamless service to owners and referring vets.

The referral centre offers specialist services such as anaesthesia and analgesia, cardiology, dentistry, dermatology, diagnostic imaging, exotics, internal medicine, neurology, oncology, ophthalmology, orthopaedics, radiation and soft tissue surgery.

To find out more information about veterinary nursing at Southfields, go to www.southfields.co.uk or search for ‘Southfields Veterinary Specialists’ on social media.

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