Champions for Change

Our series on “Champions for Change” will feature people of any gender in any role who are making a difference and creating positive change for women in the veterinary sector – enabling aspirations, inspiring and supporting others to grow and follow their passions, and empowering our community.

Ruby Lambert’s varied veterinary nursing roles allow her to explore the versatility of the profession and the many opportunities it can offer for career development. She is passionate about helping others find satisfaction in their veterinary careers, and in promoting veterinary nursing positively to the public and other professionals. Ruby’s nomination explained how she is a positive advocate for change within the work place, supporting her colleagues and clients, sharing her own ideas and listening to others to implement change. We couldn’t wait to find out more about how Ruby is championing change.

Please provide a brief bio/summary of your career story:

Currently, I work out of hours in emergency care at both The Veterinary Hospital in Norfolk and as an ICU RVN at the RVC’s QMHA in Hertfordshire. I also locum at other practices and work as an animal welfare representative for animals being used in film and media. In my spare time, another passion of mine is charity work. I lend a hand at my local branch of Streetvet whenever possible, to help give something back to the community and care for animals that otherwise wouldn’t have access to veterinary care and medication.

Please summarise how you are working towards change in the veterinary professions and why do you feel this is important?

I hope to inspire the veterinary community, especially veterinary nurses, to realise that there are so many opportunities out there for veterinary professionals. There are lots of career paths to explore, and some of them can literally take us all around the world. I am constantly inspired by what we can do, where we can go and the possibilities this profession can allow us to access. I hope I can spread some positivity and help people to feel the same excitement that I do about being an RVN. It’s important for both the general public and veterinary professionals to realise the great job that we can do in helping animals. It’s especially important for veterinary professionals to feel empowered and supported in their job. 

How do you feel this is making a difference?

I believe that job satisfaction is so immensely important. What we do as nurses can take a toll on us both mentally and physically, so much so, that burn out and compassion fatigue seems to be more commonplace amongst veterinary professionals than ever; sometimes even forcing them to take time out of their job or leave the profession altogether. I hope to encourage people to explore other opportunities and pathways within this career as there is so much more to this job than working day in and day out in general practice.

I think nurses especially can lack job satisfaction and feel undervalued, and as we know, the numbers of vets and nurses in the UK is dipping, so I hope I can help to have a positive impact on the general feeling towards the profession, even if it’s just one or two people who can hopefully go on to inspire others to feel the same way. It can be a difficult job at times, but it can also be so wonderfully rewarding.

“I hope to encourage people to explore other opportunities and pathways within this career as there is so much more to this job than working day in and day out in general practice.”

How have you encouraged other people to get on board with your ideas?

During Veterinary Nursing Awareness Month (VNAM) 2023, which is celebrated every May by the veterinary community, I wrote an article for the BVNA which went on to be published both online and in the Veterinary Nursing Journal (VNJ).

I am open about some of the unique opportunities I’ve been fortunate enough to encounter so far, and I received a few messages from both registered and student nurses enquiring about what I had been doing, how I’ve found working in different aspects of the profession and if I had any advice on how to help them find their niche within the profession. I feel a strong sense of community within this job and especially with other nurses and students, and I am glad to offer any support wherever possible.

What has most helped and motivated you along the way?

My motivation always comes from working with and helping animals. I have loved animals ever since I was young and was very fortunate to have grown up surrounded by all sorts of different animals. I want to feel like I’m making a difference for them. Unfortunately, working in emergency and critical care doesn’t always give us the ending we hope for, but I always want to feel like I’ve done everything in my power as a veterinary nurse to ensure gold standard care is given. Having said that, I am lucky to know and work with some wonderfully passionate and talented veterinary women, both vets, nurses and patient care assistants. They help to motivate and inspire me to be a better RVN.

“Find something that ignites the spark in you.”

What is the best advice you’ve been given, or that you would give to someone else, about driving positive change?

My advice would be to find something that ignites the spark in you. Personally, I love working in ECC and that is where I feel like I can make the most of my skill set. I really love to see veterinary professionals finding their passion in an area that particularly interests them, whether it be anaesthesia, internal medicine, charity work or a management role. I would say to be brave and continue to ask questions, put yourself out there and always have faith in yourself. You can do whatever you want to do and don’t be afraid to branch out and go for opportunities, even when you think you can’t.

What are your next steps to continue creating change for the better?

I hope to continue to grow and learn as a nurse, embrace challenges and inspire others. I would love to connect with more people within the industry so that we can continue to make changes that positively influence the profession.

Our thanks to Ruby for sharing her inspiring story of how she is championing change. If you would like to nominate a Champion for Change or share your story, please let us know.

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