An Introduction to Veterinary Nursing

A veterinary nurse is a valuable member of the veterinary team. Their role is to provide nursing care to animals within the veterinary practice. Tasks are wide and varied and although at times hard work, the job is very rewarding. The day to day challenges are always different making the job very interesting.

Tasks that veterinary nurses may be called on to perform (under veterinary direction and/or supervision) include:

  • Maintaining anaesthesia and performing minor surgical procedures
  • Nursing sick animals and administering medication
  • Taking x-rays and carrying out diagnostic tests
  • Advising owners on the health and welfare of their pets
  • Cleaning animal accommodation and veterinary equipment.
  • How to become a Veterinary Nurse

A veterinary nurse is a valuable member of the veterinary team.

There are three main routes to becoming a qualified vet nurse – either by vocational training through employment, full time diploma level training or through higher education. Lets take a look at each in more detail.

Vocational Day Release Training

(Level 3 Diploma in Veterinary Nursing)

This is the more traditional route of training. To start this training, students must be employed in a veterinary practice which is approved to train veterinary nurses, either Training and Assessment Practice (TP) or an Auxiliary Training and Assessment Practice (aTP).

Students on the fast track programme will attend College for two days per week in the first year and for one day per week in the second year. Students on the day release programme will attend College for one day per week for two years; alongside this students must spend several hours of private study each week using our online learning materials.

The rest of the time will be spent at work in your Training Practice. Students will be assessed by the completion of an online ‘Nursing Progress Log’, assignments and theory / practical examinations.

Vocational Full Time Training

(Level 3 Diploma in Veterinary Nursing)

For those students who are not employed in a veterinary practice, the College offers a full time veterinary nursing programme run over a period of two years. Students will spend periods of time in the classroom and periods of time on work placement in approved TPs or aTPs. Like those on the day release programme, students will be required to complete assignments, pass written and practical examinations and complete a ‘Nursing Progress Log’.

Vet Nurse Training

Higher Education Training

The College offers both the Foundation Degree in Veterinary Nurse and the BSc (Hons) in Veterinary Nursing. These take a minimum of three or four years respectively and consist of both classroom tuition and work placements in approved TPs/aTPs.

Students may have the opportunity to study other modules such as marketing or alternative therapies alongside the core veterinary nursing subjects, as part of their degree.

Requirements to Begin Training as a Veterinary Nurse

Students wishing to start training as a veterinary nurse will need to be eligible to enrol with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) as a student veterinary nurse. In order to do this you must have a minimum of 5 GCSEs at Grade C or above including English Language, Mathematics and a Science subject.

Students without these qualifications may choose to undertake the National Certificate for Veterinary Care Assistants course (VCA). Successful completion with equivalent qualifications such as Key/Functional skills will allow students to enrol without GCSEs.

Becoming a Veterinary Nurse is an exciting career path with many routes for progression.