Page 22 - Chiron Autumn 2018
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 New RAVC In Pensioner
Cpl Barrie Davey at the Chelsea Flower Show 2018
 I watched with interest and awe as the structure needed for the flower show was slowly erected. Taking photos from a window in my long ward, without actually hanging out, (just in case a Captain of Invalids happened to see me, (don’t want them to end up in MTI with a heart attack),) I kept a record of the progress.
Speaking to various long-standing IP’s, I tried to gain some insight into what to expect. Nothing they said prepared me for what was to develop, they do say from little acorns mighty oaks grow, out of what at first sight was a nice green piece of parkland, grew a huge structure, the main display “Marquee, Pavilion," or big white tent (BWT). At one stage I even noticed a large truck with what looked like fully grown trees, their roots contained in big reinforced Tesco (opp’s sorry for the advertising) shopping bags. I never saw where they went, neither did I notice them as I walked around after they’d been planted, but I did notice how the whole vista had changed beyond all recognition, actually losing my bearings at one stage.
Having received my entrance pass, I was invited to accompany our Ward Rep Simon, on his perambulation, we went straight into the main "Marquee or BWT" ( more like a shopping arcade) it was so voluminous you could have hosted the next Olympic Games inside.
We got little chance to absorb or study the individual presentations as we were constantly asked by various young ladies "could they have a photograph with us." This was a new experience for me, and one that I needed little encouragement to take part in, I very quickly and enthusiastically fell into the role with gusto. I was beginning to enjoy my new life {as a man in (Scarlet) a Pink Tutu.}
The displays, arrangements and
presentations from all the participating company's, were, beyond my expectations. The creations were of the highest standards exceeding all my expectations. I would never have believed one could produce such wonderful productions with flowers. What astonished me most was they were in pristine condition throughout the show from the first day until the last.
The Bonsai held me spellbound, especially when after having asked the owner if he would like to leave the big one with me until next year to save packing it up to take home, only to find out it was first started in the 18 hundreds, as far as I was concerned it was the jewel in the crown, I hate to guess what the cost would be, but one thing was for certain he wasn't going to let me look after it until the next Chelsea Flower Show.
More than one person suggested I visit the Yorkshire Garden display, sadly I never got to see it, never mind there is always next year.
Overall, it was a wonderful show full of splendid colour and nice people.
After completing my training of the 7-week military ‘Safe Vet Tech’ (SVT), I was given the opportunity to continue learning on the Level 3 Diploma Registered Veterinary Nursing qualification at The College of Animal Welfare (CAW). It is a two-year course which includes practical and theory work with various assignments and exams along the way. As part of this small animal nursing course I was given the fantastic opportunity to work alongside the Peoples Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA) civilian veterinary practice in Nottingham. It has been a privilege to be a part of such an amazing charity, helping all the clients and patients in need.
The course programme involves two- week college blocks where we are taught all the theory information in preparation for our exams and assignments. In-between college we have a ten week placement block where all the practical skills are taught by our clinical coaches. It is our responsibility after being taught the various skills to log them onto the Nursing Progress Log (NPL) which is evidence of all the skills we are expected to carry out confidently on day one of being a Registered Veterinary Nurse. This involves cooperating with health and safety standards, nursing skills, communication with colleagues and pet owners, laboratory techniques, theatre and anaesthetic experiences.
The first day at college was quite daunting, even though I had previously done the military SVT course I wasn’t quite
Pte Jennifer Mudd RAVC
sure how in depth the course would be. After the first week of settling in it was time to learn. The tutors were extremely polite, friendly and knowledgeable. Teaching in various ways such as lectures, research and then class discussions, quizzes and practical. At the beginning everything was quite a lot to take in, however, I found everything interesting which made revision sessions enjoyable and exams bearable.
During the ten-week placement blocks we alternated between the Defence Animal Training Regt (DATR) and the PDSA. Throughout the course it has been extremely beneficial doing this, as we have been able to keep up with our military skills and duties as well as getting our nursing experience from both the PDSA and DATR. As the military only treat dogs and horses, placement at the PDSA has enabled us to also gain skills with other animals and pets, such as cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, the occasional bird and not to mention the invaluable client interaction experiences.
The most rewarding experience with the job was not only caring for sick animals but also to have had the opportunity to use my own knowledge to educate owners and handlers. I have been able to guide owners on a new puppy they brought in for the 2nd vaccination, I have helped owners with their overweight animal through weight clinics and even guided young children on rabbit welfare.
Throughout this course I have gained
an incredible amount of knowledge, experienced many unique situations that I will take with me throughout the rest of my military career as a Veterinary Nurse. From this qualification I can further my knowledge with other avenues within the nursing industry and learn more skills that will be beneficial to the dogs and horses that the British Army care for.
Registered Veterinary Nurse Training

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