Emily Fields

Veterinary Nurse

“I'm a registered veterinary nurse in emergency and critical care at the Kansas State Veterinary Health Center. I closely monitor intensive pre- and post-operative surgical cases, critical internal medicine cases, and also triage emergency cases that come in. What I love most about what I do is when a critical patient, who at one time we worried wouldn't make it, starts feeling better and can be discharged.

When I was younger, I wanted to be either a hairstylist (it looked like fun!) or a veterinarian. I loved being around animals and I would constantly find dead things on the farm and come running into the house to try and save them. My sophomore year in high school I discovered the field of veterinary nursing and since that moment, I knew exactly what I was meant to be. 

I took animal science, biology and anatomy and physiology in high school. We dissected several animal corpses and I loved learning about the different anatomy of each species. I also enjoyed getting my hands a little dirty! The one course I regret I didn’t take in high school was medical terminology — that would have given me an advantage once I got to college.

During my last two years of high school, I shadowed two veterinarians to get my preliminary requirements out of the way and to make sure I would enjoy this field of work. I totally recommend other students shadow at several different vet clinics to make sure you truly love this field before you start your training.

"After high school, I started the veterinary nursing program at Colby Community College and worked part time as a vet assistant. The program was quite comparable to human nursing school. I was in class all day, studied two to four hours each night, and more on the weekends.

My ultimate career goal is to provide more information to the general population about veterinary nursing, especially in the emergency and critical care specialty. I also would love to increase the number of critical care units in animal clinics throughout Kansas, Nebraska and other rural parts of the Midwest. 

My advice to students pursuing this path is take your licensing boards within six months of graduating from your program. Don't put it off! Trust me — you ARE the most knowledgeable right after you finish college!”