Jane is best known as Jane RVN and is a vet nurse, writer and educator. Her path in vet nursing has taken her to a conventional PgCert in Clinical Education as well as the more unconventional top 75 vet YouTube channel! She’s about to start a PhD in the history of veterinary legislation which combines her first degree in history and her vet nursing perfectly.
Tell us about a daily habit or routine you practice that contributes to your productivity and fulfillment?
Having a to do list in my diary… hopefully set at times I’m intending to achieve each thing but sometimes all listed at 11pm as that’s the time I thought of them and don’t bother to change the time. I include phone calls, emails to send or check on as well as bigger stuff.
I’m trying different project management tools but daily lists linked to bigger projects works well for me so far. I always work a good bit in advance of deadlines so factor in new demands or life’s little hurdles.
Then. CHECK YOUR DIARY every day!
What was a major setback that you learnt the most from, or actually turned out to be a success?
Giving up work because of back pain. I felt useless and defeated. I used the time to get better, and created my YouTube channel so I could still support students.
I also realised self-worth doesn’t need to be based on a job…still the biggest thing I learned.
There were many days I thought I’d never work in veterinary again yet here I am, an author, great YT channel and heading to a PhD! If you end up in hell keep going, there is an end somewhere and you might even be able to create your own exit!
When you start to doubt your own ability, or are having 'a bad day at the office', how do you get back on track?
I’ve learnt to take breaks, or try another project for a bit. While writing is 90% perspiration and only 10% inspiration some days things don’t work. I tend to have a list of ‘other stuff’ that's not work to do so head off and do that and then return to the desk. Making sure you’re ahead of deadlines helps this approach! Timing yourself at activities helps you see how long you can read/research/write for productively.
Watching some trashy US reality TV on the side is a good mental stimulus for me! I know! I’m sorry…
What have you got better at saying no to? How did you realise this and how has it benefitted you?
EVERYTHING! Look at individual invites/contracts/jobs/people(!) and weigh up what it takes and what it gives. Financially, emotionally, time wise… and be honest.
If you could gift a book to all vets at graduation, what would it be, and why?
Well it has to be my own! It’s hard for new vets to grasp just how much we get taught and how much we can help as vet nurses. Hopefully this book will help them see our education isn’t that far removed from theirs and that delegating is safe, and helps!
Tell us about something you are currently a fan of?
Being in or on the sea is so healing and invigorating! I’m moving to the beach to start my PhD so intend to paddleboard or swim in the sea every day… I’ve got my 5mm wetsuit ready for winter!
What purchase of less the £100 has most positively impacted your life in the last 12 months?
Loads! I like gadgets – selfie sticks, iPad stands, remote controls for iPhone cameras… all make life easier! Also having good sized second and third screens for my laptop at home… life savers for efficient working!
Finally… the cartoon of me in my book is so fabulous I had stickers made to give to people attending my events. I can’t believe how motivated people are to get a sticker!
What is the worst bit of advice you hear regularly in our profession? Why do you feel it is bad advice?
Time and again I see people giving advice for exam prep that focuses on cramming to pass an exam rather than learning to learn better. Exam skills are one part of learning better but understanding how you learn best is the most important lesson of all and will help you for your entire career.
What advice would you give veterinary graduates about to begin their careers?
Get to know ‘your normal’ and use HALT as often as possible to assess how you feel. Clinically you may lead on cases but you’re part of a team who can share responsibilities – including clinical ones. Be part of that team and get help when you’re stuck and share in the triumphs when they happen.
Make sure you find the joy in your everyday work – it might lead you somewhat amazing!
If you could send a single text to every vet around the world simultaneously, what would it say?
'Vet led' doesn’t mean sole responsibility – you’re in a team – use them well!
Have you been inspired by someone in your career? Or know someone in the veterinary profession who has made a positive impact on you?
There are no strict criteria for contributors or mentors, other than that they are positive, supportive members of our profession.
If someone you know springs to mind, or you have any feedback or ideas relating to our Vet Mentors project, please get in touch - firstname.lastname@example.org