An interview with Nursing Manager Helen Sorby

May is Veterinary Nursing Awareness Month, a whole month dedicated to raising awareness of the veterinary nursing profession and the vital role they play in animal care and treatment.

What was started as an awareness day by the British Veterinary Nursing Association (BVNA) in 2005 quickly grew into a week and expanded even further to a month in 2012.

Helen Sorby is our Nursing Manager here at Paragon Veterinary Referrals and she kindly took time out to tell us about life as a vet nurse.

Nursing Manager Helen Sorby in an endoscopy suite

How long have you been a Vet Nurse and what training did you have to do to achieve your qualifications?

“I’ve been nursing in total for 15 years. I qualified and registered as a Veterinary Nurse seven years ago with Calder Vets. I passed a Level 3 NVQ in Veterinary Nursing through Calder Vets and attended block release study with Myerscough College over a two-year period. This allowed me maximum practical experience working in the hospital whilst studying a full-time course.”

What attracted you to a career as a Vet Nurse?

“I was always interested in animals, how the body works and medical conditions as I was growing up. I just wasn’t aware about the Veterinary Nurse profession and veterinary life in general.

“Through college I studied an animal management course and part and parcel of the course was gaining practical experience. I joined a vets practice to obtain work experience and my passion for animals was ignited and fuelled by my interest in the nursing profession while in practice.

“I combined the two passions and set off on my current career path. I then went on to getting paid employment in the same practice and started my journey as a trainee nurse.”

What are the best things about being a Vet Nurse?

“The best thing about being a vet nurse is the variety of cases and conditions we see on a daily basis. It’s the thought that what we do makes a real difference to the patient. I gain huge job satisfaction knowing I’m part of a team that makes a difference every day.”

What kind of attributes do you need to be a good Vet Nurse?

“You need to be a good team player, possess good communication skills and be hard working. You need to be able to step out of your comfort zone and have an endless passion for animals, being their advocate throughout their care during their visit. You always need to act in a professional, diligent manner.”

Nursing Manager Helen Sorby in a prep room

What advice would you give someone thinking about a career as a Vet Nurse?

“Veterinary Nursing is a very difficult profession to get into, so you’ll need to get as much work experience as possible, as this is a big advantage.

“You’ll need to get solid careers advice as you progress through school and college, get the qualifications you need at GCSE and college to give you the best chance of getting into higher education. If you don’t quite achieve the grades you need, don’t give up – it’s absolutely worth it.

“Also, always work hard, strive to develop and improve your knowledge within the profession. This will help you progress in the future to higher roles.”

What are the best things about working here at Paragon?

“The best things about Paragon are the team, the facilities and the chance to offer world-class care to our patients all under one roof.”

For more information on Vet Nurse Awareness Month, visit

If you’re interested in joining us as a Vet Nurse, we’re hiring! You can find more details about our vacancies and careers at Paragon here.