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Karen Beech

Karen BeechRegistered Veterinary Nurse, Vets4Pets

BSc Veterinary Nursing

What made you choose Middlesex University?

I thought the campus itself was lovely and very modern. The space was very green, which for someone coming from Manchester to London wasn't something I expected! It was very close to travel links, but still far enough away from the city so I didn't feel the stresses.

What attracted you to your course and made you apply?

When I chose to go to Middlesex the clincher was that they were the first VN degree in the country. They wrote the course and set the bar for other universities in the country. I wanted to be taught by the path finders in my field.

What aspects of your course did you enjoy most?

It's hard to say. My lectures were always engaging, with lecturers who made you feel they genuinely cared. They felt more like friends or colleagues than they did lecturers. I loved the fact I got to spend so much time in placement and really get into the swing of things. Help was only ever an email away if you needed it, which was great.

What is your fondest memory of life at Middlesex?

The friends I made and the freedom I had to really enjoy my life with these friends, without the confines of living with Mum and Dad and having to ask all the time!

What one piece of advice would you give to a prospective student interested in studying at Middlesex?

Move out! If you've picked your uni, and picked your course (and I hope you picked them because you wanted them, not to please someone else) then move out of home, go learn something about yourself, stand on your own two feet, be scared and struggle sometimes, but grow as a person, mature, and enjoy it while it lasts!

How did your course and time at Middlesex help you to get where you are professionally today?

They gave me everything I needed to hit the ground running. Including being RCVS accredited. I was a fully fledged RVN on qualification and could walk straight into a job. No extra exams!

Why did you choose the career you studied for?

I always knew I wanted to work with animals and up until recently I wanted to be a vet. I wanted to enjoy my job, but not live to work. Being a nurse I feel respected for my knowledge, enjoy my job, I work hard and I'm always busy, but it doesn't take over my life. I work to live.

What are the pros and cons of working within your professional field?

The pros are the animals, CPD and the fact nurses are being taken more seriously and our role is changing for the better.

The cons are that clients aren't always too pleasant, there are a lot of bodily functions going on and some people still see me as a glorified cleaner.

How did you get your foot on the career ladder post university?

I jumped straight in. I signed up to several locum agencies, did a couple of weeks here and there, and then took a maternity cover job where I am now, and we'll see what it turns into."

What has been your defining career break or highlight to date?

So far, just graduating was a relief!!! I'm sure my shining moment will turn up soon!

What does the future hold for you?

Who knows! I love behaviour and would love to do my Masters in behaviour, possibly at Lincoln, but right now I'm just enjoying having my evenings back!

What are the top three career tips you would give to current students and recent graduates?

Grades aren't everything, but don't stop trying. A good handshake proves a lot. Talk to everyone. Make friends with everyone. There are no stupid questions. No one was ever remembered for being quiet.

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