Mel’s journey from temporary receptionist to nurse manager

Mel’s journey from temporary receptionist to nurse manager

VetPartners runs a series of training courses to help veterinary nurses collaborate, learn and develop so they can develop impactful and rewarding careers.

Here, as Veterinary Nurse Awareness Month draws to a close, Mel Shears, nurse manager at Tameside Vets in Greater Manchester, explains gaining leading qualifications has helped to boost her career….

WHEN an elderly Labrador arrives at her practice wagging its tail when it sees her, it is a heartwarming moment that reminds RVN Mel Shears why she is so passionate about her job.

One of the most special aspects of her role is still seeing her elderly patients that were once boisterous puppies arriving at the practice for their first vaccinations.

Mel has worked at Tameside Vets in Greater Manchester for 13 years and loves seeing owners returning year after year with their pets for vaccinations, advice, health checks and treatment.

“When lovely clients bring their elderly dogs that were once puppies visiting the practice, it makes the job so worthwhile because you have played a part in their care throughout their lifetime,” said Mel.

“Not only is that special to us at the practice, it is reassuring to their owners, too, as we are part of their pet’s lives and they have the continuity of care they really value.

“Patient care is the best part of being a nurse as it involves the whole practice team working together.”

Just as those puppies and kittens have grown, so too has Mel’s career.

Starting as a receptionist covering maternity leave, the last 13 years have seen her work as an animal care assistant, student veterinary nurse and RVN, before becoming nurse manager in 2018.

When she first joined the practice, Tameside Vets had three vets, three receptionists and three nurses. Now, it has 50 team members working across four surgeries in Ashton-Under-Lyne, Hyde, Stalybridge and Droylsden, and Mel has been a key part of their success.

Whether it is funding high quality CPD or providing in-house training, VetPartners supports veterinary nurses to develop flourishing careers and encourages them to expand their role as a key part of a practice team.


Mel’s career has certainly gone from strength to strength with hard work and commitment.

She undertook a Chartered Management Institute (CMI) qualification in leadership and management which has equipped her to develop her line management skills and provided key skills in managing change and better communication.

As nurse manager, she oversees a team of 25 SVNs, RVNs and animal care assistants, as well as being a hands-on nurse herself, holding consults, caring for poorly inpatients and assisting in surgery. She is also responsible for the upskilling and training of nurses.

Mel said: “Veterinary nursing now has so much scope to grow your career, and there are massive opportunities for those who want them. Our skills are also so versatile and there are wide ranging opportunities.

“I started at Tameside Vets covering on reception for someone on maternity leave. I saw how interesting the role of veterinary nurse was and decided this was the path I wanted to follow. When I started as an animal nursing assistant, I didn’t know it would lead me to the role of nurse manager.

“I was given the chance to grow my career but more opportunities for learning and development have come up through VetPartners.

“Through my role, I want to empower my team and help them to develop. I ensure students have clinical coaching. The work alongside me and I ensure they develop the skills and knowledge they need.”


If you’re interested in a career as a veterinary nurse at VetPartners, please view our career vacancies on our website or email


For media enquiries, please contact Amanda Little, VetPartners PR and Communications Director at or 07970 198492