Elizabeth Chipperfield, known as Beth, graduated in 2014 with BSc (Hons) Veterinary Nursing and Practice Management and is now a Registered Veterinary Nurse (RVN) in Surrey.
What did you think of Harper Adams when you first visited on an open day?
I found all the staff and students very welcoming. The best thing about it was the friendly ambassadors I met who helped my Mum and I when we got lost, pointed us in the right direction and answered all of our questions. It was really helpful speaking to students who were doing the course I wanted to do and hearing why they loved coming to Harper Adams, their placement and what jobs they were hoping to do in the future. As soon as I arrived I felt at home. The campus was amazing and I loved seeing all the facilities especially the onsite farm, labs, animal house and the veterinary nursing unit. Coming to the open day made me put the uni as my first choice and I was so excited when my application came through and it said I had been accepted.
Why did you choose to study at Harper Adams?
I first heard about the university through a friend from home. She was already at Harper Adams and was studying the foundation agricultural course. She knew I wanted to do vet nursing and mentioned to me all the onsite facilities. She also recommended I had a look at the website and went to an open day as she thought I would love the country campus. I took her advice and was so glad that I did.
What were the best things about your course?
Meeting new friends, learning new skills, studying for the job I wanted to do, finding new strengths and growing in confidence. My placement as a student veterinary nurse at Eastfield Veterinary Clinic, North Thoresby, was amazing. I was a bit nervous as I was living five hours from home but this was the best thing that could have happened. As I lived above the practice the veterinary nurses would often give me a call if they needed extra help which led to me getting a wide range of hand on experience with emergencies including caesareans, collapsed animals and road traffic collision victims.
What skills/knowledge have you gained that will be useful after you graduate?
I have grown in confidence as a person from not being able to speak to new people to being a student ambassador and loving to speak to new people at open days and interview afternoons. My knowledge has grown in a wide range of areas including surgical nursing and client communication. From this I wish to gain more knowledge in the future through doing an equine pathway degree, maybe a feline nursing degree and possibly doing some more training about animal physiotherapy.
What sort of projects have you been involved in?
My dissertation was “Comparing awareness of veterinary nurses and clients of toxic plants to cats”. I looked at knowledge of clients and veterinary nurses of plants toxic to cats, signs poisoned cats show and appropriate actions that should be taken if poisoning was suspected. I found clients could identify plants better than previously thought and had a wider awareness of plants toxic to cats. However, they did not know appropriate actions to take and would look for information from unreliable internet sources rather than contacting their local veterinary surgery if they were looking for veterinary information. Veterinary nurses were aware of actions to take post poisoning with student veterinary nurses needing more information during their training into the in-depth details of poisoning in companion animals due to them having low knowledge in specific areas such as how cats are poisoned.
How would you describe Harper Adams?
Friendly, welcoming, accepting of different people, wide range of cultures, warm atmosphere, amazing facilities, range of extracurricular activities.
And the teaching you received?
Amazing. The staff are so supportive and you can email them or pop in for a chat about any aspect of work from assignments to exams to writing CVs. The learner support has also been invaluable with helping me improve my writing style, proof reading my assignments and helping me with anything. They are all so welcoming and want what is best for each individual student and I do not know what I would have done without their support.
What are the facilities like?
Brilliant. The facility I used the most was the veterinary nursing unit. I spent many days here especially around exam time practicing my practical skills, looking at instruments and equipment and discussing past exam questions with the lecturers. I also spent a lot of time in the library writing assignments, revising for exams, practicing presentations in the seminar rooms and getting books out for assignments. Another facility I used was the Faccenda student centre where I used the computers and did group revision with friends in the lecture rooms.
What’s your favourite SU activity?
There is always a wide range of activities to choose from fancy dress to comedy nights and karaoke. My favourite activity was going to the Harper balls where I saw lots of people I knew, saw people on placement I hadn’t seen in ages and had a great time listening to music, dancing and going on the rides especially the bumper cars!!
What are your favourite memories of Harper Adams?
Spending time with friends whether it was chatting in Faccenda, going on trips out, having a quiet drink in the pub, going horseriding or sunbathing outside by the river.
Have you explored Shropshire and beyond campus?
Yes I have been to a wide range of different places. I often went to Telford shopping centre with friends to go shopping for ball dresses, to go the cinema, ice skating or bowling. Walking up the Wrekin was another favourite place of mine and my friends. We walked up there many times and the views from the top were amazing whatever time of year. I also went to many National Trust places including Attingham Park and Carding Mill Valley where I had some lovely walks. Newport Christian fellowship in Newport gave me so much great support throughout my four years. Going to the service every Sunday morning I made some great friends from Harper as well as local families. Spending time at Telford Equestrian Centre has also been great fun whether I’m having a lesson or helping with the Riding for the Disabled Association on a Thursday evening.
What else did you do in your spare time?
I was a student ambassador and loved helping with open days and interview afternoons. I also mentored at Burton Borough secondary school with the year eleven chemistry and year ten biology classes and helped at Stafford Show. Showing people round Harper Adams’ facilities and sharing with them some of the amazing times I had was great fun and it was lovely hearing what they want to do in the future.
I was a member of the Christian Union and will always remember doing amusing and varied activities with my many friends. From helping with Santa’s grotto, being Santa’s elf at the Christmas carol service, going on a weekend away, walking up the Wrekin, painting flower pots in Newport high street as part of mission week and going to morning and evening services on a Sunday. I have so many memories I will never forget.
I completed my K-SQP AMTRA qualification which lets me prescribe a range of medications to equine, companion and farm animals. I also helped with the Riding for the Disabled association on a Thursday and enjoyed getting to know the girls who come to ride with us in lessons, on hacks and helping run fun games for them. I also went to Zumba every Monday which was great fun as well as being exercise.
Enjoyed reading about Beth? You can find out even more about her placement and graduate career later this year when she features in our latest 3.7m careers magazine.