Animal programs

Veterinary nursing proves to be a perfect career for animal lovers

Palmerston North veterinary nurse Indy Carthew enjoys working with animals like the dog George.


Palmerston North veterinary nurse Indy Carthew enjoys working with animals like the dog George.

Indy Carthew always knew she wanted to work with animals, and despite suggestions that she should study veterinary science, she was not interested in surgery or diagnosis.

“I wanted a job where I could spend as much time as possible with animals, meeting their specific medical and emotional needs,” she said.

Carthew remembers when she was in high school, her fox terrier Arthur got sick.

“We took him to our local veterinary clinic. Our vet was so awesome, but the vet nurses were amazing to me, they were so caring.

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Because of her shyness, her mother asked on her behalf if she could do a few hours of internship at the clinic.

“They graciously let me in during my school vacation,” Carthew said. “That’s when I decided I wanted to be a veterinary nurse and studied different courses in New Zealand.

“I liked the look of the New Zealand Veterinary Nursing Diploma course at UCOL because it emphasized hands-on learning and for me that is the most important and more exciting to learn.”

During her studies, she said she felt lucky to have a team of caring teachers who wanted her to succeed.

Carthew said there are skills you can only develop in a classroom so far.

“After gaining the theoretical understanding of practical skills, such as animal handling/restraint, IV catheter placement and anesthesia, to name a few, you must practice them in a supportive environment” .

“During my second year of studies, we did rotations in different veterinary clinics where we were paired with veterinary nurses and were able to put our theoretical knowledge into practice.

“This experience really prepared me for what to expect once I was in the workforce. I learned from real veterinary nurses and this was the best way to do it.

Carthew graduated in 2015 and now works at Animates Vetcare in Palmerston North as a veterinary nurse.

“I work full time, but I manage to find time for continuing professional development. This year, I took a two-day anesthesia course with Marcia Fletcher of The Pink Stethoscope, and just completed an online animal physiotherapy course.

One of her recent career highlights was winning the Animates award for Veterinarian Nurse of the Year.

“Our clinic is a small clinic. Most of the time we have a veterinarian and two to three veterinary nurses.

“I love the family feeling our team has, and I love that working in a small clinic means I know a lot of our clients and their pets very well. A few clients call me ‘Aunty Indy’ for their pets.

Of her future, Carthew said she wants to continue growing and learning as a veterinary nurse.

“I want to be the best possible nurse for my animal patients.”