VSA Career Stories - Alana Crickett, Operations Manager - Veterinary Specialists Aotearoa | Veterinary Specialist and Animal Referral Services in NZ with 3 specialist animal hospitals in Auckland and Christchurch


At VSA, we are extremely passionate about the care of our patients and their families, and just as passionate about looking after our team. 

Working at VSA means being a part of the VSA family, a supportive and encouraging environment where your career aspirations can be achieved. We pride ourselves on our high level of standards and care and it is through supportive training from our experienced team members that we are able to develop our people. At VSA, we believe that every member of our team, whether they are clinical, admin or support staff, can achieve their career goals with us.

For the right people, there is nothing that can’t be achieved working at VSA. Our staff dream big, and with the right amount of hard work and determination are able to achieve any goal they set themselves. 

Alana Crickett - Operations Manager

Alana Crickett - Hospital Manager- Sylvia Park

Alana joined the VSA team in 2006 after qualifying with a Diploma in Veterinary Nursing from Unitec.

When Alana was younger vet nursing wasn’t even on her radar. At high school she was an art student and always thought that would continue. She started a BA at Auckland University straight out of school but soon realised it wasn’t for her.

After some research into the vet industry, the option of Vet Nursing came up. Alana has completed a Diploma in Veterinary Nursing at Unitec and as they say, the rest is VSA History!

In her 15 years at VSA Alana has held many different roles and has been supported to develop her career to achieve wonderful things. 


We asked Alana a few questions about her career progression at VSA.

How did you get into Vet Nursing as a career?

When I left uni I knew I wasn’t going to go back and so I looked into other career options. I always had animals growing up who I loved so thought there might be a career in the veterinary industry without having to become a vet. I was interested without being completely sold on Vet Nursing after some googling to see what was available. I initially applied to both the AUT and Unitec courses, AUT discontinued their course and so Unitec it was!

Tell us a bit about how you qualified

The Unitec diploma is a two year course and during this time I still wasn’t convinced that I was going to be a vet nurse. In the first year of the diploma, all students needed to complete a placement in a general practice vet clinic, this experience left me a bit disillusioned about the industry. Then in the 2nd year of the diploma, all students complete a placement at VSA Mount Albert and I was instantly introduced to a whole new world.

I completed my diploma and became a qualified vet nurse, luckily with a job offer from VSA!

What was it that attracted you to VSA?

In doing my placement I was hooked by the VSA way of doing things. Being an over achiever, I was just blown away by what could be achieved and how the nurses got to be nurses. I was hooked! I told myself and anyone else who would listen that I would only be a Vet Nurse if I worked at VSA.

I am so proud of the level of care we can offer our patients and their owners. 

How has your career evolved in your time at VSA?

VSA has always given me the opportunity to grow. My time at our Mount Albert hospital saw me start as a junior nurse and I was able to grow into a senior nurse who was in charge of the running of the surgical theatres. When we opened our Sylvia Park hospital, I was given the incredible opportunity to become the Head Nurse and grow our team. I am very proud of what we have been able to achieve at VSA Sylvia Park.

My 5 year plan when I took the Head Nurse role was to be in a role that was not clinical and more management. I wasn’t sure what this meant or what it looked like but VSA supported me with this goal and even created the role of Operations Manager for me. 

I love that even though I am now in a non-clinical role, I am still able to be a part of the clinical team and make sure that the hospital is running how it needs to. Just because I have moved into a management role that doesn’t mean my passion for animals has faded. I still get calls from downstairs to come and meet our patients, which I will forever drop whatever I am doing to go and cuddle.

A new and exciting part of my role is marketing, which is super exciting. 

What do you enjoy most about working for VSA?

I love the people I work with, and the people I work for!

What advice would you give to someone looking to be a vet nurse?

Find a clinic to spend some time at whose culture is open and supportive – somewhere that celebrates their staff. 

What would you say to encourage someone to think about career paths at VSA?

Come and be a part of our journey! There is no end to the opportunities VSA has. Where you start is definitely not where you stay forever. I am proof of that!

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