Nurse Nicole is one of our longest serving staff members, commencing in 2001. Today (August 2019) we sadly say goodbye and thank you as she has made the decision to relocate to Wangaratta for love.
Eighteen years ago, Lort Smith looked very different. Nurse Nicole had just started working in the shelter and was studying her Certificate III in Animal Technology. Josie, Lort Smith’s resident cat had moved in just a month prior.*
“I remember the time as hectic, very busy and unorganised. It was so different. We probably had half the number of nurses we do today. We even had a humidicrib donated from a human hospital with a sign that read ‘Do not smoke next to oxygen!” laughed Nicole.
Nicole was often assigned to the theatre or the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). Her busiest day in ICU saw 27 cases!
“Back in 2001, there would only ever be one nurse in ICU with no overnight monitoring. Today, there is one vet and two nurses with overnight monitoring.”
“The quality of our patient care and equipment has certainly improved. We have better monitoring, anaesthetic drugs, and there have been so many advances in surgery techniques since I started.”
“Lort Smith’s caseload is different to other vet clinics, and the organisation is always trying to improve. The staff on the floor are so compassionate and amazing. It’s them who I will miss most.”
“The best part about being a vet nurse is getting to work with animals. Helping them, seeing progress. Sending them home healthy is the ultimate goal.”
“From severe trauma including broken backs and penises, to unusual foreign bodies such as fish hooks and underwear – I’ve seen it all!”
Nicole’s most memorable case was a little kitten named Freckles.
“I remember the day before we had lost five animals in ICU so the feeling was pretty flat. And then a tiny kitten, no more than a week old and weighing just 230 grams, was rushed in. She was found soaking wet on a footpath all alone. We had to save this kitten!” remembered Nicole.
Somehow they managed to place an IV tube into Freckles, and tests determined she had an e. coli bladder infection, a broken tail and a heart murmur. Freckles required syringe feeding around the clock for weeks – Nicole didn’t hesitate to take her home and foster her. When strong enough, Freckles had her tail fully amputated, was desexed and microchipped. It was at this point, Nicole realised she couldn’t part with Freckles and officially adopted her.
Freckles has since had numerous knee and hip issues requiring five surgeries. Of course, Nicole has scrubbed up and assisted in all operations.
On behalf of all the animals you have looked after, thank you Nicole for your care and kindness. You will be greatly missed by all.
*As fate would have it, Josie, Lort Smith’s resident cat passed away just a month ago.