Waroona vet nurse awarded for animal rescue efforts during Yarloop bushfires

A vet nurse who worked tirelessly for weeks on end treating burnt wildlife and pets during the horrific Waroona-Yarloop bushfires in January has been awarded the 2016 Vet Nurse of the Year.

Waroona Veterinary Clinic’s nurse Frosina Duckin triaged calls for help, sent vets out into the fire affected areas to treat animals as well as coordinated vet nurses and volunteers. 

In amongst all the chaos, Frosina used social media to communicate to clients and posted pictures and stories about patients to help others facing a similar struggle. These posts provoked a huge response from media outlets all over the world and resulted in donations flooding in. 

Frosina then helped coordinate the donations of pet food and supplies and organised the distribution.

After the fire, Frosina set a burns unit for several orphaned joeys in her home, where she monitored them throughout their recovery, administered medication and weekly bandage changes on their burnt paws.  

 “The fire emergency stretched my skills as a nurse – I even did my first jugular catheter in an Alpaca – and expanded my nursing knowledge in areas of critical care and wildlife,” Frosina said.

“I have been able to share this new knowledge with student nurses while demonstrating what I believe the value of our profession.

“We are not just “the nurse”, and are capable of so much when we are given the chance.” 

Nominator Dr Rebecca Flegg dubbed Frosina as the “pet whisperer” who said she had the ability to tackle any tricky question or aggressive animal with over 10 years of experience in the practice.

“Frosina is on a first name basis with most of the town and always goes out of her way to help a client from basic questions to really complex matters,” Dr Flegg said.

“She will research something, order in something, answer questions and even responds to Facebook messages outside of hours.” 

The Veterinary Nurses Council of Australia made the announcement today as part of the annual Vet Nurse Day celebrations marked on October 14.   

Vet Nurse Day provides an opportunity for the veterinary industry and vet practices to acknowledge the important role that vet nurses play within the vet team and reinforce the value and professionalism of vet nurses.