Skip to main content

Careers with North Star Vets: What it’s like launching a North Star practice

“Fast-paced environments and testing my skills in the deep end”

Hi, I’m Becky, and I’m the practice director and co-owner at Sandymoor Vets. 

It’s been an exciting first year since we opened in 2022, and I want to share the story of my journey with North Star to help other vets to see the value of our project. 

Also, with Sandymoor growing all the time, it would be great to hear from any nurses, front-of-house specialists or vets who would be interested in joining the team in our beautiful new practice in Runcorn!

Becky from Sandymoor Vets

After graduating I started working in the area with the Willows Veterinary Group and moved around their practices for five years. 

I focused on gaining experience in fast-paced environments and building my skills and began to develop an interest in emergency and out-of-hours work. 

After taking a year out to travel the world and start a family, I returned to the industry as a locum in out of hours practice, mainly working nights, which is such an interesting experience for expanding and solidifying your skill base – you’re really thrown in at the deep end!

Eventually, I found myself back at Willows around the time of COVID-19, looking for a new challenge – and that’s when I came across the North Star team.

Becky at Sandymoor Vets examining a Golden Retriever

“Helping set up Sandymoor was such a valuable foundation for being responsible for our growth”

When you’re in vet school owning your own practice is the dream, but I didn’t think that would ever really happen to me.

In fact, my plan at that point was to go down the route of working for a certificate in emergency work.

But the North Star structure is unlike anything else in the industry. For a vet looking at becoming a director or setting up a practice you’re looking at buying in or putting up a lot of money.

This is a win win – you get a stake in your own practice without that initial investment. It’s the best job I could wish for as a vet, I honestly couldn’t think of a better job. It was a no brainer and I was really excited to have the opportunity.

Also, I’d worked with Sean, one of our directors, during my time at Willows, so it was great to have that pre-existing relationship and trust coming into North Star.

Once I got involved the building work had only just started and the practice was a shell. I came down a few times with the other directors and had input into how the practice developed.

I knew it was my responsibility to grow Sandymoor and take it forward so it was really valuable to have my input from the start.

Having control over things like setting up the consult rooms, organising the structure of the building and just the look and feel of the place was really nice.

Our sister practice Westbrook Vets was a bit ahead of us, which was really helpful for me as I could see things such as how reception looked, and I could make sure I was happy with stuff like desks and flooring, which really helped me to know what I wanted for my practice.

“Our reviews show we’ve really made an impact – it’s lovely to see”

I’ve really enjoyed the responsibility of running the practice.

A lot of what I’m doing is new to me and I’ve loved that challenge. I’ve been a vet for 10 years so that comes natural to me now, but the other stuff – organising the day, organising meetings, keeping the practice running behind the scenes – are a new concept.

Over our first year we’ve had fantastic reviews and really made an impact in the community, which is lovely to see.

Everyone in our team is really client-based, very friendly. Our practice is brand new and purpose-built and I’m really proud of how it looks, it’s really slick.

I want all of our clients to have a good experience, and I think we’re doing a good job of that.

At the least, we don’t get a lot of complaints and we get a lot of good reviews!

Moving forward, all I want is to keep building a really good reputation in the community, which I think is the most important factor for a young practice. And we’re always interested to hear from passionate veterinary professionals who are interested in joining us to help us continue to provide fantastic care for the pets of Runcorn.

 

 

 

“You’d be silly not to want to find out how North Star could help you!”

The North Star structure makes it as easy as it can be for us as the clinical team to do our jobs. The experience of the other directors is so helpful.

Through my first year I’ve looked for direction from my fellow North Star directors Richard, Jane and Sean, as well as Rachel Dean at Burford Lane who is so experienced.

Then there’s the support in HR, accounts, marketing and other behind the scenes roles that most start-up businesses have to sort for themselves, and most vets won’t necessarily appreciate what goes into them.

You never feel like you’re on your own, there’s always someone there to bounce ideas off.

Even the other branch directors are really supportive, whether that’s ideas or also the practical stuff like helping each out with sick days and holidays.

On top of running Sandymoor I’m also currently doing a certificate in ophthalmology which is really interesting and a great opportunity for me and the practice – but it does mean it’s a struggle to do everything I need to in the day! It’s great that the North Star structure invests in our team to pursue CPD opportunities and to grow as individuals.

For any vets out there with dreams of running your own practice, I think you’d be silly not to want to get involved with North Star because it’s such a good opportunity.

I think if a lot of vets were in the same position as I am now, they’d realise what a privileged position it is. So don’t hesitate to reach out and find out more!

Interested? Get in touch today!

If everything you’ve read makes you think North Star is a perfect match for your ambitions, we’d love to hear from you.

You can see our current vacancies here, but with the speed at which we hope to grow, we’re always interested to talk to people, to work out if we’re a good fit and to work out how best we can offer you an opportunity to be a part of our story.

For an informal chat, you can send your phone number and availability to our HR coordinator, Christy, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. – and she’ll get back to you ASAP!

Becky at Sandymoor Vets examining a Doodle