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    COVID Diaries: Caring for the community with Ella Huxley

    22 April 2020

    More and more of our students have been sharing their lockdown stories with us, shedding light on how they are supporting both the Harper and wider community. Ella Huxley, a final year BSc (Hons) Veterinary Nursing student, explained how she has been able to help others through use of her transferable skills from a degree that matters.

    While completing her final year studies, Ella had been working at a veterinary practice, gaining valuable experience and putting her learning into action. She commented: “I’ve been working for the practice on and off to help when they were short staffed. However, with the current crisis, they have furloughed a lot of employees, therefore I wasn't needed.”

    No longer having her role to keep her occupied, Ella looked elsewhere to a job where her knowledge could help others. She explained: “I had heard that a local care home was desperate for staff due to many self isolating or being unwell. I emailed in my CV and explained I had a nursing background, with many transferable skills for care work, and that I would be willing to help.

    “Vet nursing requires skills in infection control; barrier nursing for infectious cases; monitoring sick patients, and knowing symptoms of severe illness along with general health and safety in the workplace such as manual handling. I thought because I had this caring background with vet nursing, a lot of it would be applicable to humans!”

    Working long, demanding hours, Ella is seeing the benefit of her care. She commented: “Working in a care home has been challenging as I’m used to working with animals who don't speak back and often protest through biting - which luckily humans don't! However it requires compassion and can be difficult at times, although it is very rewarding.”

    Although her current work experience is not how Ella anticipated completing her final year studies, she believes any and all work is valuable going into the working world. She advised: “For prospective students, I would suggest getting lots of work experience and, if possible, work in veterinary practice during holidays where you can. Many places need the staff and you would get more experience and hopefully some money to help fund your university experience, giving you more time to study when you’re here.”

    Alongside her work, Ella also gained some additional funding help through her scholarship. She explained: “The Kildare Scholarship was introduced to me by one of my lecturers, and has helped me a lot. At the time, I was working in the SU bar which was a lot of added pressure, and I was unable to focus as much on my studies as I wanted to. With the financial help I was able to reduce working hours and focus more on my assignments and take on relevant work experience when I was able to.”

    Now with plenty of work experience, Ella has been able to transfer her skills in a time of need and help those most vulnerable. If you are inspired by Ella’s work, there are plenty of ways you can get involved and volunteer your time - once your assignments and assessments have been handed in of course!

    Check out Pick for Britain to support British farming and our How Can I Help? page for opportunities. You can also see the Careers section of our website for specific roles.

    Have you been helping your community through the difficulties of Covid-19? Let us know via and share your story with the Harper Community.



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