Animal lover Kayleigh is living the dream

A West Auckland woman is celebrating after turning her childhood passion for animals into a profession caring for sick and injured pets.

Kayleigh Briggs was just 17 years old when she joined us as an auxiliary nurse who was determined to make a difference.

Kayleigh Briggs and her dog Minnie

She’s now 21 and has recently qualified as a Registered Veterinary Nurse (RVN), regularly dealing with emergency arrivals and critical care cases.

Kayleigh, who has a dog called Minnie and a horse called Ellie, said: “It’s a dream come true. From a very young age, I have always been passionate about animals and really wanted to work with them.

“First, I completed an equine (horse) management course, then worked at a riding school for disabled people before I decided to explore small animal nursing.

“I started off completing a veterinary care assistants’ course then volunteered at a first opinion vet practice and then I got my first full-time job, working in an auxiliary role at Wear Referrals.”

Management were impressed with Kayleigh and encouraged her to study for a veterinary nurse diploma, an opportunity she was quick to accept.

She admits it was a tough undertaking though, adding: “The Diploma is very challenging as there are lots of written and practical exams as well as written assignments.

“You must be dedicated and hard-working as the course is completed alongside your full-time work in the practice but it is so rewarding – you learn lots of new skills, from laboratory work, in-patient care, monitoring anaesthesia and helping with medical and surgical procedures.

“Since becoming an RVN I’m working solely on the medical team now and it is so rewarding to be able to play a significant part in the patient’s recovery. It’s not just my job, it’s my absolute passion.”

Anouska Rogers-Smith, Head Nurse at Wear Referrals, said: “We are all delighted for Kayleigh, she thoroughly deserves her success.

“She has a real love of animals and is a terrific asset to the practice. She is calm, dedicated, hardworking, professional. She is a good communicator and a real team player – all the attributes you need as an RVN working in a busy referral centre and animal hospital.”