Tara Evans is a Registered Veterinary Nurse and sales manager at Vita Animal Health. She worked in mixed practice as a head nurse and clinical coach before making the decision to make a move into industry where she can continue to assist veterinary professionals in providing high quality care to their patients. 

Please summarise your journey / biography:

I always loved animals as a child and so a career in caring for them was inevitable. I went on to study animal care at college before finding a wonderful vet practice to join. At this point my aspirations were to become a vet nurse, and I was lucky that the practice enabled me to undertake my VN NVQ training on the job.

I enjoyed my time as a qualified RVN in mixed practice. I became head nurse for my practice alongside being a clinical coach. I then went on to gain a Graduate Diploma in Clinical and Professional Vet Nursing with the RVC.

I then made the scary leap from practice to industry when the opportunity arose to join Vita Animal Health as Sales Manager. I love being able to use my knowledge in a different way and still interact with veterinary staff and owners.

And to make sure my skills don’t fade, and because I enjoy it, I still locum as a RVN when I can too.

Describe your typical day from waking to sleeping:

As is so true of many jobs in the vet world, no two days are ever the same! I start early, and get my toddler ready – breakfast, bags packed and off to nursery. My days are then varied, but typically consist of:

  • Checking emails
  • Processing orders
  • Updating social media
  • Meetings with manufacturers, PR team, developers and designers
  • Lunch and learns/remote product training
  • Phone calls with owners/vet surgeries.

I also spend lots of days exhibiting at shows and conferences, discussing the product range and ethos of Vita Animal Health. I like to stay up to date on CPD and often listen to podcasts in the car.

After a busy day, I pick up my child from nursery and switch into mum mode – dinner, playing, bath and bed. If I’m lucky I squeeze in a bit of downtime for myself before bed, but this isn’t always possible.

How would you describe yourself in a sentence?

Motivated, compassionate and loyal.

How would others describe you in a sentence? (If you’re not sure it can be a great exercise to ask a few work colleagues, friends and family).

Apparently, a perfectionist who loves lists and planning and loves to organise. Has self-doubt and worries too much!

What has been your top success and what have you learned from this?

Qualifying as an RVN – this was a lifelong dream and has allowed me to pursue a varied career. And most importantly I’ve met a lot of incredible friends.

“…sometimes things don’t go the way you want – the important thing is to never give up.”

What has been your biggest challenge, setback or failure and how have you overcome it? How did you grow or change as a result?

I think my biggest challenge was transitioning to head nurse and learning how to delegate and manage people with all the individual challenges that created. To be honest at times I probably didn’t overcome it particularly well – I think time and support from others definitely helped to support me during this time and learning to take a step back and allow myself time to evaluate a decision was the turning point.

I think life is full of challenges and everyone fails or has setbacks at times. Unfortunately, all humans make mistakes that’s a fact of life. I think I’ve learnt that however much you plan and try your absolute hardest, sometimes things don’t go the way you want – the important thing is to never give up.

What compromises have you had to make and what, if anything, could have helped?

Early in my career I definitely made sacrifices in my personal life to achieve professional advances. I worked in a first opinion practice where we fulfilled our own OOH so quite often I wouldn’t be able to attend personal events.  It could be frustrating, but the patients came first and I know our clients appreciated seeing team members they knew in their pet’s time of need. Now I realise there is a way to balance the two, without the guilt, and I can still be the RVN I want to be, having a positive impact on pet’s lives.

What advice would you have given to your younger self, that you would now give to others wanting to follow your path?

Don’t be too hard on yourself. Its not an easy profession and there will definitely be days you question why you do the job, but it’s definitely worth it.

 I couldn’t have got where I am today without…

That’s a hard one – definitely my family they have always been my biggest supporters in everything I’ve done. Also, my first boss, Richard, who without his belief I may never have been able to pursue my dream career.

What are your three top likes?

Animals! Any shape, size, species, breed – nature is a wonderful thing and it should be embraced!

Nature – I love camping! Spending time in the fresh air (or rain – it is England!)

Travel – we are lucky to be able to see so much of the world – I just love exploring new places.

What are your three top dislikes?

Dishonesty – I really don’t understand the need for it – my dad always said ‘If you’re going to be anything in life, be honest’ and I’ve always lived that way.

Queues – I am quite impatient at times so not the best at queuing – I just always feel its such a waste of time and I could be doing so much during that time!

Is it bad I can only think of two?!

What is the most helpful book you’ve read and why?

Nothing veterinary related I’m afraid – The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read. Being a first-time parent was a scary thought especially after a very difficult road to become one. This book just made everything feel a little less daunting!

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