Veterinary nursing is a rewarding career that offers variety and daily contact with pets and their owners. Veterinary Nurses are involved in the supportive care of pets receiving treatment within a veterinary practice. They are trained to a high level, enabling them to work in all aspects of the veterinary practice environment from reception through to the operating theatre.
What is veterinary nursing?
A Veterinary Nurse (VN) works as a member of the veterinary team, providing expert nursing care for sick and injured pets. As a qualified VN, you will be responsible for the welfare, comfort and recovery of pets that may have undergone trauma, surgery or are receiving treatment for medical conditions. VNs also play a significant role in the education of owners about maintaining the health of their pets. They carry out technical work and are skilled in undertaking a range of diagnostic tests, medical treatments and minor surgical procedures, under veterinary direction.
Which pets do they care for?
All student nurses commence on the same veterinary nursing course and complete the same general core units. Students get the opportunity to specialise later in the programme, taking either small animal, equine or ‘mixed’ practice units.
Small animal nurses work mainly with cats and dogs but will also learn to care for smaller pets, such as guinea pigs and hamsters, and sometimes more exotic animals, such as snakes and tortoises. Equine nurses mainly work with horses, and nurses in mixed practice work with farm animals and horses, as well as pets.
Entry to training
All veterinary nurse training is conducted through colleges or universities that offer qualifications approved by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS), and their linked veterinary training practices. The RCVS regularly inspects veterinary nurse education programmes to ensure that high standards are maintained.
To start training, you will need to meet minimum entry requirements, which will be set by the awarding organisation or institution for your qualification. For further information on entry requirements, you should contact your local college or awarding institution for advice.
A list of RCVS approved qualifications in veterinary nursing and colleges is available to download from the RCVS website at www.rcvs.org.uk.