Veterinary Nursing Awareness Month is the perfect time to find out a bit more about the talented folk who make up our nursing team. Meet Brogan, who has taken inspiration from her native South Africa to do things a little bit differently!

Brogan has recently completed a post-graduate diploma in Veterinary Nursing of Zoological species. We quiz her on her interesting choice of study, and the fascinating experiences it has provided her with along the way.

Q:  What made you want to specialise in zoological studies? 

A: Being from South Africa, African wildlife and their conservation has always been a massive passion of mine from a very young age. Additionally, whilst completing my foundation science degree in Veterinary Nursing Science, I had to undertake 52 weeks of practical experience in veterinary hospitals, during this time I worked with some wildlife and exotic specialising vets and this encouraged my interest in nursing the ‘weird and wonderful’ species from snakes through to elephants.

The more I was exposed to this area of veterinary, and how specialised it was, the more I wanted to focus my career there, so I could always be the ‘zoo and exotic veterinary nurse’ to share my knowledge and experience in practice and provide the best nursing care to all these species. I continued at university to complete a Bachelor of Science Honours degree in Zoo Biology, and soon after enrolled on a postgraduate certificate for Advanced Nursing of Zoo and Exotic Species, which I have recently successfully completed.

The course was an aspiration of mine to undertake, to ensure all the exotic pets and wildlife received the best veterinary care, and I feel the interesting real life case studies, such as African Grey Parrots with Aspergillosis, explored in the course was the best way to learn and feel confident about caring for all the different species, which was put into practice straight away whilst working full time at Mullacott. 

Q: have you worked in zoos before? 

A:I have so far only volunteered and completed work experience in zoos, as most of my interest has been South African wildlife, where I go routinely to undertake veterinary work through volunteering to support the wildlife vets there, in particular treatment of rhinos due to the large threat of poaching. 

Q: which aspects of the course did you enjoy the most?

The most enjoyable parts of the Advanced Nursing of Zoo and Exotic Species Certificate, were the exciting case studies that I had to provide a treatment plan, with what procedures and medications should be used, and how I would plan the current and future nursing care of the patient presented, one of my favourites was a caesarean on an Asiatic lioness.

Q:  how long did it take to complete the course, and what were the most challenging parts?

A: The course took 2 years to complete, and definitely the most challenging aspect was finding the time to study and complete the course to the best of my ability whilst working full time including night shifts. The content was all incredibly challenging; however I found the avian module particularly difficult as there is such variation of species within this, from parrots to swans all requiring very different approaches to treatment, and the diseases they are prone to.

Q: can you use parts of the course in your work at Charter with small animals?

A: The best part of the Advanced Nursing of Zoo and Exotic Species Certificate was being able to apply the all the information I was taught and my experience, to actual cases brought into Mullacott Veterinary Practice, as we deal with a lot of exotics and are lucky enough to treat the zoo animals at our local wildlife park nearby.

Q: do you have pets yourself? tell us a bit about them

I have a 4 year old Labrador called Astro, who is loving our relocation to North Devon, spending any free time exploring the beaches/moors. I also have a tiny tabby cat called Loki that is continuing to enjoy sleeping.