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HomeBeef‘Time off between finishing my LC and starting college did me a...
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
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‘Time off between finishing my LC and starting college did me a world of good’

That’s Farming editor, Catherina Cunnane, in conversation with RVN (Registered Veterinary Nurse), 25-year-old Kathrina Conneely from Clonbur, Co. Galway as part of this week’s Women in Ag segment in a two-piece written interview.

You can read part one of this article.

“Usually, my day in work as a Registered Veterinary Nurse (RVN) begins with looking after any inpatients, getting them walked, changing beds, feeding, medicating, and changing any catheters or IV fluids.

Once inpatient checks are done, we start preparing any animals admitted for the day for medical or surgical procedures.

Any procedures which can be carried out by nurses are usually done, to begin with, and any animals requiring pre-anaesthetic bloods are run before sedation for procedures.

The surgical room is prepped for surgeries for the day and begins once vets are finished with morning consults.

Nurses get the patients prepared for surgery and monitor the anaesthetic until patients are recovered from the anaesthetic.

Once all surgical procedures are done, then the surgical kits are cleaned and sterilised for the next day.

Surgical notes and medication are prepared for the patients, and owners are informed, by means of a phone call, of how the procedure went, and to arrange suitable collection times.

All inpatients are then walked and fed before going home in the evening. The nurses are then responsible for the discharge of the patients to go through the aftercare as well as explaining the medication their animal is being sent home with.

Women in the veterinary industry

I think women in the veterinary industry are definitely treated better than they were and that there is somewhat more acceptance of women in the profession.

However, I believe there is always going to be the odd person here and there who will not treat you the same as your male counterparts.

Fortunately, the majority of the farmers I have met so far have been extremely nice in this profession and treat you no differently.

I think veterinary nursing is a very rewarding career and is also very interesting. There is such a broad range of services that are available now, and it is always a new learning curve; no two days are the same.

There is no better feeling than seeing an extremely sick patient walk back out the door, bouncing and full of life and knowing you played a part in it; it gives great job satisfaction.

Of course, there are tough days where there always is not a happy ending to a case, but at least you know you tried all you could for your patients.


For any young people who are considering a career in veterinary nursing, the best advice I could give is to get as much exposure to the profession as you can from work experience or placements so that you can see exactly what a day in the profession is like.

Looking into PLC (Post-Leaving Cert) courses is also a good option for any who are concerned about points or who are not 100% sure if it is the field they want to go into. At least, it will give you a feel of what the course might involve.


There were many worries along the way, whether I would be capable, financial worries and also had a few stumbling blocks along the way.

However, I knew what I wanted, and I looked into all aspects and worked hard so that I could get where I am today in the career I always wanted, so I could not be happier.

To be honest, I do not think I would do anything differently. I was happy with how things played out; having time off between finishing my Leaving Cert and starting college did me a world of good.

It helped me get money together so that I could support myself through college, which made me appreciate it a lot more and also gave me time to mature a bit more before starting college.

One thing I have contemplated was whether I would have been better off if I had travelled straight after college.

It is harder to go when you have commitments and a nice steady job, but Covid-19 and some travel restrictions were in place when finishing college.

Looking ahead, I have no plans set in stone for the future. I have considered travelling at some stage for a short while.

New Zealand has always been of interest, especially now since many of my friends are moving to Australia or New Zealand, so time will tell.

I intend to work anyway in Ireland and see what the next few years bring.”

To share your story, email – [email protected]

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