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British Veterinary LGBT: Sam’s story

10 Feb 2017 | Sam Morgan | Wellbeing | Vet nursing

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One of the toughest lessons I had to learn (and probably I am still learning) is to not get overwhelmed with other people’s thoughts and opinions on you; do not change yourself to suit others.

Matt, Sam and Sean at PrideTelling our stories, making our own history
LGBT History Month

Name: Sam Morgan

Qualified as: a veterinary nurse in 1999

Area of work: after graduation I worked as a veterinary nurse in Cardiff before moving to orthopaedic referrals. I returned to Cardiff to become Head Nurse in 2002. After gaining my Medical and Surgical Advanced Veterinary Nursing Diplomas, I started teaching veterinary students and lecturing in Bristol. In 2015 I became President of the British Veterinary Nursing Association (BVNA) and I am now one of two directors of Abbeydale Vetlink Veterinary Training

“Definition of success is to live your life with integrity, not give into peer pressure, to live with honesty and compassion and to contribute in some way”- Ellen DeGeneres , 2009.

What inspired your path into the veterinary profession?

Having grown up around animals and enjoying science in school, I wanted a career that would mix the two. Careers advice was not very helpful, telling me veterinary surgery was a very hard course to be accepted on to and anything else with animals was poorly paid, so maybe I should consider being a nursery nurse. However, I was lucky enough to have my uncle who was a partner in a mixed practice in Cardiff, so I was able to do my work experience from school alongside him and then got a ‘Saturday girl’ position at the practice.

It was here I met the two veterinary nurses that worked at the practice, they inspired me; all I had to do was convince my mother that it was a good choice. I was pointed towards the BVNA, who could supply me with some career leaflets, and these did it for my mum.

What has been the most challenging part of your career?

Practice life was very much a mixture of emotions for me; after qualifying, I left my friends and family to follow my ambition of working in a referral centre. I did not think I would miss home as much as I did. A 90-minute journey by car does not sound far, but at times it might as well have been 1,000 miles. I did struggle at times during those 3 years spent away and that was certainly a challenge for me.

What has been the best part of your career so far?

Even though at times it was difficult, I do fondly remember and am proud to have worked in a great referral clinic. The clinical standards were amazing and I learned so much, so quickly, it does still remain the best part of my career. I think it helped to develop me, as a veterinary nurse.

What are your proudest achievements of your career?

This would have to be becoming BVNA President. I think as far back in my career as I can remember this was something I wanted (without even really understanding about it!) and it almost felt that all the hard work and studying had paid off on that Sunday morning in October 2015 when I got the chain of office. I am so proud to represent the vet nursing profession.

What advice would you offer to someone experiencing difficulty with their sexuality or gender identity?

Please, please do not think you are alone. As so very difficult as it feels, find someone to talk to, this is why groups like British Veterinary LGBT+ are invaluable and so important. To know there is someone who can appreciate what you might be experiencing and offer you support.

What advice would you give to your younger self and why?

One of the toughest lessons I had to learn (and probably I am still learning) is to not get overwhelmed with other people’s thoughts and opinions on you; do not change yourself to suit others. There have been times in both my professional and personal life where I have experienced ridicule and bullying and it is tough to not let that affect you on an emotional level but you have to.

Professionally, I have had to work hard to achieve what I have now and I still have more ambitions that I want to achieve. However, what I have had to learn is that it is OK to aim high, to want more and to work hard. Personally, it took me a long time to be comfortable to tell friends and family I am a lesbian as I was worried about what others would think. Now looking back, I could have saved so much gossip and speculation by coming out sooner. As long as you live your life with integrity and you are true to yourself, you should be proud.

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