NEW VET: Nadine Fiani and her sheep are watched from afar by district vet Buster Neil- son, and farmers Fred Olive and John Egl
NEW VET: Nadine Fiani and her sheep are watched from afar by district vet Buster Neil- son, and farmers Fred Olive and John Egl

Vet student from Oman gets down and dirty

By NERIDA BLOK

SHE may be from the city, but this month Nadine Fiani proved she is not afraid of a little dust on her overalls.

The 22-year-old final year veterinary student from the University of Sydney has spent the past four weeks on the Northern Rivers as part of a program to encourage veterinary graduates into rural areas.

Co-ordinated by the Rural Lands Protection Board (RLPB), in partnership with her university, Nadine has been shadowing TweedLismore RLPB district veterinarian, Buster Neilson, learning about disease control 'on a herd basis, rather than individual animals'.

"I always wanted to be a vet, but I never considered being a rural vet," said Nadine, who now lives in Sydney but grew up in Oman, in the Middle East.

"I hadn't seen a real live cow until my first year at university."

Through her recent experience, Nadine said she found rural veterinary work an adrenalin rush and said she was seriously thinking about working in a mixed animal practice.

"In a rural practice, you have a problem and you have to fix it right there," she said.

"If you have a cow that needs a Caesarean, surgery has to happen there and then. There's a lot of responsibility but in the end it's really worth it."

Mr Neilson said it was important to have students like Nadine experience more than small animal work in the city.

He said the RLPB was concerned about the difficulty of recruiting vets into large animal practice and into boards in remote areas.

"There's also a concern a number of RLPB district vets will be at retiring age within 10 years," he said.

He said Charles Sturt University (CSU) was also looking for North Coast farmers to host students in their early years of veterinary study to provide experience in dairy, beef, poultry, sheep and pigs.

"CSU are wanting to set up a database for farmers to have them for a short four-week period," he said.

Farmers willing to participate in the program can call the board in Tweed-Lismore RLPB on 66212317.



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