You could have excused young Raglan vet nurse Shannon Waitere for grinning like … well, a Cheshire cat … as she went about her work this week.
By her own admission the 24 year old was “over the moon”, a term more usually associated with children’s verse and an unusually athletic bovine, after being named last week as Anexa’s joint vet nurse of the year in a Facebook competition celebrating Veterinary Nurse Awareness Week.
Shannon went head-to-head with Morrinsville vet nurse Jan Potter in the online vote – and lost out by a whisker.
Both vet nurses got more than 1900 votes, the North Island-wide veterinary practice told the Chronicle, with Jan clawing ahead to take out the poll by just one percent.
But it was all so close Anexa decided the pair should share the annual accolade. “You are both winners in our eyes,” Anexa posted on Facebook.
Raglan Vet Clinic head nurse Donna Rickard – who’s worked locally now for 28 years – was next highest poller in the contest.
Donna’s won a similar award in the past and says it’s an “excellent” way to acknowledge the hard work and dedication that goes into vet nursing.
She says this year’s “unbelievably close” contest was a great accolade for her young colleague, who coincidentally takes maternity leave next month.
Shannon, who was praised by Anexa for both her compassion and a “can-do” attitude, was presented last week with a celebratory pot-plant, choccies and card. Her name also goes on a plaque at head office, Anexa Vets Morrinsville.
She admits to loving all furry things and reckons her own rescue cat Ringo – because he had ringworm as a kitten – has been like a child and is going to have to adapt to her new baby in a few months.
Shannon says of her job, which includes relief work in other Anexa clinics like Morrinsville and Te Aroha: “I like seeing animals go home well, I like making a difference.”
The former Raglan Area School and Hamilton Girls’ High student qualified as a vet nurse about five years ago after completing first a certificate then a diploma in animal care through Wintec.
Her work experience while studying has included a stint as a stable hand at Curraghmore stud farm in Te Awamutu, with another year at Hamilton Veterinary Services in Te Rapa.
But the Raglan clinic downtown where she’s worked part-time for two years now has been the best nursing experience, Shannon says. “And they have not been able to get rid of me,” she laughs.
As for a quirky vet nurse moment, well, that would have to be when the clinic recently acquired a bird they called Bob.
“A week later we found that Bob was a Bobbit,” says Shannon. “She had laid an egg!”