In October, Tamara Morley-Clarke of Orange Veterinary Hospital was named VNCA Vet Nurse of the Year 2018 in recognition of almost 20 years outstanding service. Benjamin Telfer caught up with her for a chat.
Congratulations on being named Vet Nurse of the Year, how does it feel?
Making the shortlist was a total surprise as I wasn't even aware I had been nominated in the first place. So, to receive the news I had won the award was an absolute shock. It does, however, endorse the enormous amount of pride, high regard and friendship I hold for the entire team I am so fortunate to work with, and I feel humbled and privileged that they thought me worthy enough to run for the award.
How long have you been working in the veterinary industry?
I have been in the veterinary industry in one form or another for about 30 years, actually starting out as a cleaner for a Sydney Northern Suburbs Veterinary Hospital. I progressed to a receptionist position and remained with this company for 13 years. During my latter time with them, I was offered a 3-month temporary nursing position at a NSW central coast clinic which was near to where we lived at the time.
I worked the two jobs for almost a year before I decided nursing was where I wished to continue my career, so resigned from the Sydney position, took up a full- time nursing position at the coastal clinic, and enrolled in the nursing certificate. I remained in this clinic for four years until my family's relocation to the central west, where I gained a nursing position with Orange Veterinary Hospital in 2003.
What is your favourite part of the job?
It is impossible to single out one part of the job as every part is interconnected, except to say that at the end of the day there is a satisfaction knowing I have done the best I can each day, and a warmth knowing I have been privileged to care for an animal in an owner's absence, even if it's just to be a comfort for that patient when they are frightened or the outcome is not the happy ending we would all wish for. I love the special bond that is created. I also love the opportunities Orange Vet Hospital provides.
What do you think is the greatest issue facing vets in 2018?
I think that some of the biggest challenges facing today's vets are time pressures and owner expectation, both in rural and city practices. We live in an era where every outcome is expected to be positive and perfect, especially in the younger generation.
In rural practices, especially mixed practices, there isn't always the access, either locality-wise or financially, to specialist facilities, and so our vets need to deliver all the services that may well be cases referred to a specialist centre in city areas. This places both mental and time pressures to deliver quality results at an affordable cost to the client. In metropolitan hospitals, younger vets may miss out on the opportunities country vets experience by working through many complex cases across multiple species where a referral may not be an option.
Do you have any animals at home?
We moved to a small rural holding where we run sheep and cattle with a couple of alpacas thrown in the mix. Pets include dogs, cats, birds and chooks, then anything else that needs a temporary (or permanent) home, including the orphaned duckling our chooks raised before it was old enough to be released! My husband calls this the home for strays, orphans and injured animals.
This article appeared in the December 2018 issue of the Australian Veterinary Journal.