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“I aim to provide the best standards of care for every single patient, because I know how it feels to spend time in hospital”

Laura Turnbull is a Registered Veterinary Nurse at Paragon Veterinary Referrals, a small animal referral hospital in Wakefield, West Yorkshire.

In 2015, at just 32 years of age, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She was told in March 2019 that it had spread to her vertebrae and ribs. Despite this devastating news, Laura has shown incredible resilience and remains positive and focused on the future.

She has drawn up an ambitious bucket list of activities she wants to fulfil, including trekking to Mount Everest’s base camp, running a marathon, working with penguins and doing up a camper van to travel through France and Italy with her dog!

Persevering through illness

“I have continued to work hard, even though people advised me to give up as I wouldn’t be able to complete everything I wanted in time. After getting sick, I carried on anyway. This has made me proud of myself as well as extremely passionate about my job. I aim to provide the best standards of care for every single patient, because I know how it feels to spend time in hospital, have surgeries and have treatment. My (medical) nurses were the ones that got me through all of this. I want to – and aim to – do that with every animal patient I see.”

Combining passions; work and travel

“After my degree, I decided to travel and work. One long weekend turned into five years! I worked and travelled in Europe, Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia, Australia and Central and South America. I’ve worked for a Big Cat Rescue site in Namibia. I also taught science – especially about animals – at a school in Tanzania.

In 2017, I decided to move to India. I saw a job advert on Facebook to help set up a new practice over there. The owner wanted ex-pats to train vets and assistants and set up protocols so they could provide international standard veterinary care.”

Love for the job as a veterinary nurse

“I have worked in veterinary practices since about the age of 15 – mostly just work experience or voluntary work. Despite thinking I wanted to be a vet, after working in practice and seeing what both the vets and nurses did, I fell in love with the nursing side.

I studied Bsc Zoology at Leeds University. When I started, there was no veterinary nursing degree. Instead, I opted for Zoology and planned to continue with a nursing qualification after this.”

Laura’s story is incredible. Read more inspirational stories from our other role models, including sustainability champion, Ellie West, and vet nurse and entrepreneur, Lindsay Davies.

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