While lots of people take off on their travels Down Under after university, Hartpury’s Amber Fielden has opted to swap the skydiving and sightseeing for caring for the creatures of Sydney.
After around three months discovering the tourist hotspots, Hartpury Veterinary Nursing graduate Amber, 23, decided she wanted to gain some experience of working in a small animal practice on the other side of the world.
Having already worked as a locum nurse in a small family run practice in Surrey after completing her degree, Amber is now discovering what life is like as a veterinary nurse in Australia, working for Rose Bay Vets.
She said: “Surprisingly, most of the nurses and vets here are British anyway, so I fitted in instantly. The Australian vet nursing course is very different to home; it's an 18-month course with little practical and no set practical skills that have to be completed, so the Australians love British veterinary nurses, as our training is far more in depth.
“Since being here, I have gained heaps of experience. I absolutely love my job and the weather definitely helps! The practice itself is run no differently to the UK, which makes it easier to work and follow protocol.
“And the animals are pretty much the same too, although no one really has rabbits here and I’ve seen a couple of possums! Despite what people think, Kangaroos and Koalas don’t roam the streets freely! They usually go to specialists.”
Amber started her round the world trip in Hong Kong before heading to Sydney for Christmas and New Year. She then travelled the East Coast by Greyhound bus, and had some amazing experiences along the way, including skydiving, a boat trip around the Whitsunday Islands, a camping trip on Fraser Island, visiting Steve Irwin’s ‘Australia’ zoo and completing the PADI open water scuba diving course on the Great Barrier Reef.
After two weeks in Cairns, Amber flew to Alice Springs to visit Uluru (Ayers Rock) on a three-day tour in the outback, sleeping under the stars in swags trying to avoid the spiders, snakes and dingoes!
“When I flew back to Sydney, I met another British vet nurse who went to Hartpury, and it was great to share our experiences,” added Amber.
“Hartpury gave me the confidence and the boost to know that I can achieve anything I want if I put my mind to it. My veterinary nursing degree helped me in being able to think independently as well as to problem solve efficiently. “I chose to become a veterinary nurse because I wanted to make a difference. I understand I can't change the world, but some pets are people's worlds, so to them, everything I do matters. I chose Hartpury as it offered to do the nursing placement in one block of 60 weeks and I loved the campus, plus there was the option to join many different sports. “Now I’m doing a job I absolutely love. It’s an extremely rewarding career and no two days are the same!”
As Amber is on a working holiday visa, she will stay at Rose Bay Vets for six months before continuing her trip through Malaysia, India and South Africa and coming home for Christmas.
She added: “In the future, I may decide to come back to Oz and get a sponsorship, hopefully at this practice as I love it so much!”