Meet our Nursing Team – Nichole Neate, Theatre supervisor

Davies Veterinary Specialists

Nursing

13th January 2022

Meet our Nursing Team

Nichole Neate Dip AVN (surgical), Dip AVN (medicine).

Theatre supervisor

Meet the nursing team

Length of service at Davies: 14 years

What does your role entail?

I share this role and do one week on and one week off. The main part of my job involves the scheduling of procedures through 5 surgical theatres. I need to work and communicate with surgeons, anaesthetists, interns, nurses, and theatre technicians closely. Liaising with different departments can be a challenge, as surgical cases may need to have diagnostic imaging, such as MRI, CT, or ultrasound prior to the actual procedure. It is like sorting a really, big puzzle and making sure everything can fit together and get done as efficiently as possible, by the end of the day. You need to be a good communicator, adaptable, a team player, pro-active, friendly, and approachable. We also need to be able to accommodate emergencies where necessary. On my week off supervising, I am a theatre nurse assisting in processing the surgical cases that day. We see the case through right from premedication to recovery. As nurses, we get involved with most aspects of anaesthesia and have great support from our wonderful anaesthetists. We have great theatre technicians who assist us with getting kit and theatres ready and turning around in between cases which greatly helps with efficiency.

How has your career progressed at Davies?

I came to DVS as an anaesthesia nurse in 2008, which was a fantastic role, which I really enjoyed and utilised my anaesthesia skills from the advanced nursing diploma (surgical). I completed my advanced nursing diploma (medicine) during my first year at DVS. I had a period of time off work to have children and returned to work part-time, working 2-3 days per week in theatre and diagnostics. A position became available in theatre to share the role of theatre supervisor, which I took in November 2020. I have also undertaken the Mars Veterinary Health Mentoring Course and am currently taking part in a training course for Patient Care Assistants. I have delivered CPD to our advanced anaesthesia small group seminars and recorded ophthalmology seminars via teams. I particularly enjoy teaching and sharing my knowledge.

What do you enjoy most about your role?

The challenge of getting the cases through efficiently and safely. I enjoy working with all the different team members and I particularly enjoy the variety of the caseload. I have a keen interest in anaesthesia, soft tissue surgery and ophthalmology surgery, and like to get as involved as possible. If you have an interest in something in particular, you are more likely to get more involved with the case and therefore get more job satisfaction. The clinicians and anaesthetists are very happy for the nurses to get more involved and are happy to answer any questions and are very open for discussion.

What do you like about working at Davies in general?

The people are great! When everybody involved works together to get a case through theatre. Pulling together in an emergency. The interesting and varied cases we see continually learning new things.

Tell us about an interesting case you’ve been involved in recently.

A young dog had been playing out on a walk and had injured itself on a stick. It presented with difficulty breathing and was referred to us as an emergency as the referring vets had thought the dog had damaged or ruptured its trachea. There was a wound on the neck and the skin flap was moving in and out during breathing. The dog was stabilised and scheduled for exploratory surgery after a CT of the neck. The CT showed that there was a tract extending into the thorax, so a CT of the thorax was performed. The surgery started in the neck and went right through the thoracic inlet and into the thorax. The stick had penetrated all the way into the thoracic cavity. We found some of the dogs’ hair on the stick that we retrieved from the mediastinum. The dog was very lucky not to have lacerated any major blood vessels or the heart! What I enjoyed most about this case is that we were not entirely sure what we were going to find. So as the theatre nurse, I needed to be ready for thoracic surgery and have all the kit available that the surgeon would need. I also needed to have everything ready for anaesthesia, such as analgesic infusions, plus neuromuscular blockade equipment, arterial blood pressure monitoring and equipment to enable accurate measurement of blood loss. I enjoy the fast pace of these cases and the challenges they bring! The dog did really well and went home 5 days later.

What’s your favourite procedure and why?

I have too many! A juicy septic abdomen, sub-lumber abscess, portosystemic shunt surgery and a thoracotomy. Oh and phacoemulsification!

For flexible working nurses – how does flexible working help your work/ life balance?

After having children, I felt that Davies were very helpful at accommodating my return to work around childcare hours as my husband works shift work. Flexible working can mean different things for different people. Some nurses work longer days, whereas some others do 8-hour days. For some people, late shifts are desirable and work for that person. Davies try to accommodate this where possible.

Tell us about yourself, what you enjoy doing in your spare time, any pets, hobbies, charity work?

I am married with two young boys and a border terrier called Dennis. We love walking the dog and visiting family in Cornwall in the school holidays. The children both play rugby for our local club and after 2 years watching them play, I decided to try it out myself. I now play and captain a side at our local club and help coach the under 10s age group. Davies have also sponsored our women’s rugby club.

Anything else you would like to add?

If you are keen to learn more, enjoy getting involved in anaesthesia and surgical procedures, then why not come and give referral nursing a go at Davies. We are a super friendly team, who enjoy working together to deliver the best for our patients.

Linnaeus Veterinary Limited trading as Davies Veterinary Specialists 01582 883950

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