It's a woman's world at Tauranga Vets.

Traditionally the veterinary profession has been a male-dominated field. But statistics show women are now edging ahead, and this is no different at Tauranga Vets.

Almost all the vets, vet nurses and support staff who work here are female. In this special edition of Girlboss, we'd like to give you some insight into the work of this award-winning and hardworking team.

"We provide treatment for all types of ailments that may affect your furry friends from our four facilities, including our purpose-built veterinary hospital on 9th Avenue/Cameron Rd.

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We're also mobile and can visit you at your farm or lifestyle property," says business manager Janelle Nee.

vet and vet nurse Kate Heller and Jaimee Roelof
vet and vet nurse Kate Heller and Jaimee Roelof

"As prevention is always better than cure to keep your pets happy and healthy, we offer a wide range of wellness services based around your pet's annual health check as well as vaccinations, de-sexing, dental care, nutritional advice, microchipping and flea and worm management."

Janelle has been working in the veterinary industry for the past 18 months and says being the business manager at Tauranga Vets is rewarding because of the "amazing team".

"I get to support great people and help them do their jobs well. You also get to see the bigger picture of an organisation and help shape the direction it's going in. My proudest moment to date is seeing the team win the Westpac Business Awards for Customer Experience. It really reflects what we are all about and what we strive to do every day," she says.

Senior vet Kate Heller is a highly experienced veterinarian who mostly works from the 9th Avenue/Cameron Rd clinic. She joined Tauranga Vets as a mixed practitioner since returning home in 2012 after working and travelling in the UK and Europe for several years.

Kate enjoys all aspects of veterinary medicine, but she has developed a special interest in tricky eye cases, ultra-sonography and small animal internal medicine. According to Kate, being a vet is something that girls can most certainly excel at.

"It's more about technique than strength. Girls do tend to be a little more emotional than guys though, so some people find that the job does take a toll on them. It depends on how well they cope with that type of stress," she says.

"What I personally love most about being a vet is that it keeps challenging me. There isn't such a thing as a regular day in our world. Things can change rapidly throughout the day.
When you think it's going to be a quiet afternoon, all hell can break loose when a cat gets hit by a car or a very sick dog comes through the door. It will quickly fill up the rest of our day."

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Kate has lots of patients she's particularly fond of and she treats them all as if they were her own.

"One case I won't forget is the cat Rory who we gave an emergency blood transfusion using dog blood. He was dying from rat bait poisoning and just about to take his last breath. Luckily, he made a miraculous recovery. Within an hour of the transfusion, he was up and eating a bowl of food!"

Janelle Nee, Emma Hall, Kate Heller, Karen Bree, July Hebbel, Jaime Roelof
Janelle Nee, Emma Hall, Kate Heller, Karen Bree, July Hebbel, Jaime Roelof

Vet nurse Jaimee Roelofs agrees with Kate that no two days are the same.

"When you are a vet nurse, you don't just do one thing. You're a nurse, a cleaner, an anaesthetist, a receptionist — the list goes on! Some days you will be arm's deep in a surgical procedure and other days you will be dealing with customers and clients in reception," she explains.

If you are someone who enjoys being on your feet, learning new things every day and working in a fast-paced environment, Jaimee definitely recommends vet nursing as a career option to other women.

"Days can be long, hard, and sometimes physically and emotionally draining, but it is extremely rewarding when you see your patients recover and their owners so thankful for all your hard work. It makes it all worthwhile," she says.

Karen Bree oversees accounts at Tauranga Vets, combining experience with numbers from 10 years in the finance industry with her passion for animals.

"I've been a weekend volunteer for the SPCA and Guide Dog Services in Auckland for several years and after starting a family, I got a job for a large vet practice. I stayed in the industry, even though my role has changed. It can be challenging at times, but I love the environment and bring a lot of hands on experience to Tauranga Vets," she says.

Inventory manager Emma Hall has a similar story. She started as a junior vet nurse in her late 20s after working in a laboratory. Since then, she has moved into senior nursing roles and senior reception positions and she now works in an administrative role.

"There is so much more happening in the industry behind the scenes that people aren't aware of and so many opportunities to branch out into different areas. I love helping clients and solving problems, and it's enjoyable that each day brings different challenges," Emma says.

July Hebbel, who looks after the marketing needs of Tauranga Vets, has a background in news and digital media and is fresh to the veterinary industry. She is enjoying being part of a smaller business and learning about the industry.

"Working in the marketing field is easy when you work for a great business and with a great team. Our people are absolute experts and passionate about what they do, I certainly feel privileged to be in the position I am in," she says.

Award-winning team
Tauranga Vets has a long history of helping keep animals healthy in the Bay of Plenty since the region's first veterinary service was introduced in the early 1940s.
They cover the whole region and have branches in Tauranga, Te Puna, Katikati and at Papamoa's Fashion Island.
These well-respected veterinarians and support team have built a reputation on delivering compassionate and quality care for your companion, production, equine and lifestyle animals.
The team at Tauranga Vets is proud to be Best Practice Accredited — the only veterinary service in the Tauranga area to hold this accreditation, and they are also proud winners of two Westpac Business Awards. In 2018 the team took out the award for Customer Experience and in 2017 they won the award for Service Excellence.