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LGBT+ History Month role models: Hannah Hansen

08 Feb 2024 | Hannah Hansen


To celebrate LGBT+ History Month, throughout February we are featuring Q&As with some key role models. Customer experience manager Hannah Hansen offers advice for those experiencing difficulty with their sexuality or gender identity.

LGBT+ History Month role models: Hannah Hansen Image

What inspired your path into the veterinary profession?

I was a latecomer to the veterinary profession. Until my early 30s I worked in tourism, retail and  entertainment, despite having worked at a kennel for school work experience! I floated through life thinking I just wasn't one of those people who had a career; that I was going to work various different jobs until I retired. I then landed a position as a veterinary receptionist and animal care assistant in early 2017 and within months I knew this was where I was supposed to end up. The irony is that my Mum was a veterinary receptionist for 15 years and somehow it had never occurred to me to try.


What has been the most challenging part of your career?

I had only been working in the profession for just under 2 years when I moved into a leadership position at a new-to-me clinic. This step up itself was challenging, but doing it in an unfamiliar environment with new colleagues made it even harder. I found myself struggling with some of the aspects of the role that I'd never had to deal with before, becoming overwhelmed with the many different tasks, and questioned whether it was really right for me as I felt like I was letting my team down. Just five months in, COVID hit and I'd also just found out I was expecting a baby, and so my world shifted from being a new manager in a new clinic to being a new manager working remotely. During maternity leave, I discovered I have ADHD and began to put processes and structures in place that meant that coming back after around 18 months away was a much more productive and calm experience, and I was able to really grow into my role and support my team in the way they deserve.


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

There are so many aspects that it's difficult to choose just one. I love that being in a non-clinical role allows me to spend more dedicated time with our clients than my clinical counterparts, and that allows me to bring different perspectives to discussions around how we care for our patients and clients. Of course, I care deeply about the animals, but as my passion lies in client care, being able to help the humans as much as my colleagues help their pets is the most wonderful feeling. The relationships I've built with my colleagues, past and present, has also been a highlight. I've made friends I know I'll keep in touch with for a very long time, whether they like it or not!


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

Find somebody you can trust. Realise that this person might not be the person you think you should be able to trust. It's ok if you can't talk to a parent or sibling or friend, sometimes it's harder with the people closest to us as we feel like the risk of loss is too high. Find someone you can trust and talk to them, or even tell them that you're struggling with something but can't talk about it right now. Just having someone out there who you know is open to listening to you is so important. Know that no matter how you're feeling, you are not alone, your feelings are valid, and no one can take away how you feel. Nothing in life is a smooth journey and you may question if you feel this way or that, and that's OK. You can feel one way one day and another the next. Listen to yourself, learn from yourself and know that there are so many people out there who'll accept you for exactly who you are, every single day.

Further reading on LGBT+ History Month, BVLGBT+ and Vetlife

Head to LGBT+ History Month and British Veterinary LGBT+ Society to learn more.

Vetlife offer independent, confidential and free help for everyone in the veterinary community including veterinary nurses, students and non-clinical staff. If you or anyone you know is after support, Vetlife is here for you.


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