I am Christie Short, a soft tissue nurse at Wear Referrals, and I have been on the soft tissue team for six months after previously working in a primary care practice.

General day to day as a soft tissue nurse starts by receiving a handover from the night staff of how the inpatients have been over night.

We walk, weigh, clean kennels and check intravenous catheters so inpatients are ready for procedures or any medication to be given that day. The veterinary surgeon comes, examines inpatients and gives a daily plan to nurses.

Then it’s our role to update owners on how their pets have been during the night and the plan for the day, as well as nursing patients, checking vitals when required and calculating drug doses.

Nutrition plays a massive role in the recovery for our patients, so we work out the resting energy requirements they need and divide the meals up throughout the course of the day.

We then record everything that has happened throughout the day with each patient and hand over to the night staff before we leave. Nursing appointments are a huge part of being a soft tissue nurse these include wound checks, drain check/removal, dressing and bandage changes.

We advise owners on wound care, drain care and overall, how to care for their pet after surgery.

In order to reduce the risk of nosocomial infections, breakdown of wounds and cross contamination, we need to keep the hospital as hygienic as possible, and when setting up theatre on a morning we ensure all the machine and equipment checks are done, damp dust is cleaned away, and we get all the appropriate kit out for that day.

Then we set up general anaesthetic trays for each patient with all the equipment needed. Each patient gets a full patient healthcheck by a RVN which includes TPR, pulse quality, body condition score, auscultation of the heart and lungs to check for any abnormalities, hydration status and any other physical comments.

An intravenous catheter is then placed on admission, and we decide on an anaesthetic plan we think would best suit the patient and discuss this GA plan with our anaesthetist Toby Trimble to tailor every plan to each individual patients’ needs.

We prepare and calculate the drugs required and set up intravenous fluids and all equipment needed for induction, maintenance and monitoring of anaesthesia. We also sedate, induce and monitor the patient whilst under anaesthesia whilst another nurse/student or auxiliary clips and prepares the patient for surgery.

Once in theatre we need to hand out the correct surgical equipment to the veterinary surgeon or scrubbed in assistant and help with gowning the surgeon, and if needed, we can also scrub into the surgery to assist the surgeon.

After each surgical procedure we discuss a plan for recovery with the surgeon and recover our patient in the ward most suited to their needs, we make sure they are warm and comforted when waking from their anaesthetic as it can be quite scary!

We make sure all their vitals are normal and that they receive adequate pain relief to make them as comfortable as possible.

Once they are awake and stable, we hand the patient over to the ward staff who take overlooking after the patient until their stay has ended.

We then make sure the procedure is billed and charged correctly on the patient’s file and contact the owners to given them an update on their pets’ surgery and recovery.

We then need to make sure the theatre is disinfected and cleaned for the next procedure to ensure infection control is maintained.

After the last procedure of the day the theatre is deep cleaned, and all equipment is put away to keep it in good working order for the next day.

Throughout our daily tasks we are supervising and training student nurses helping them improve and learn new skills as well as learning new things ourselves from senior members of specialist veterinary staff.