Veterinary nursing is the supportive care of animals receiving treatment within a veterinary practice. A veterinary nurse works as a member of the veterinary team, providing expert nursing care for sick animals.
Veterinary nurses also play a significant role in educating owners on 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.
Typical veterinary nursing duties
The day-to-day job of a veterinary nurse will vary but responsibilities may include;
- Preparing patients for surgical procedures and supporting with anaesthesia
- Providing support to animals and their owners before and after operations
- Assisting in the operating theatre as a scrubbed veterinary nurse
- Carrying out veterinary nurse consultations
- Administering medications and fluid therapy to patients
- Observing and recording patients’ vital signs (temperature, pulse, respiration and pain)
- Applying bandages to wounds and fractures
- Educating animal owners on nutrition and preventative care and providing basic behavioral advice
- Assisting during emergency procedures
- Carrying out a range of diagnostic tests in the practice laboratory (e.g blood samples, urine samples)
- Taking radiographs
- Dispensing medication and demonstrate to owners how to use them
- Supporting and managing teams
Veterinary nursing offers rewarding career opportunities for people interested in animal health and welfare. The demand for veterinary nurses is steadily increasing and employment prospects are excellent.
This award is offered via the apprenticeship route. Qualified veterinary nurse status is now achieved by completing a Level 3 Veterinary Nursing Diploma and is delivered as a blended learning course.
It is a requirement of BGT’s course that students attend college for 4 hours a week for theoretical input and spend 3 hours on blended learning in practice. The majority of the blended learning has been assigned as practical tasks or homework. Students do not need to be under direct supervision of a clinical coach to complete each task, but the student’s clinical coach is required to sign off the work undertaken once completed. Tasks will be marked and feedback will be given by tutors at Bottle Green.
Each list of blended learning tasks will be sent to practices via students during each module. Once a module is completed it is expected that students will complete a reflective learning journal with their clinical coach. This learning journal needs to be signed by the practice principal once completed. This piece of documentation will then be stored at BGT as evidence of students training in practice.
The course is aimed to run for 2 years and 2 academic terms for the complete diploma. During this time students will sit Awarding Body external examinations and in house examinations (some of these in house examinations go towards the final qualification) and their central skills log. All of these will need to reach an approved standard to enable students to qualify as a veterinary nurse. The central skills log is an electronic list of skills that need to be completed prior to students sitting their end point assessment.
Students will be given academic writing support and structured tutorial time at Bottle Green Training during half terms to enable them to complete written work.
College times are either 8.45am to 1.00pm for a morning session and 1.45pm to 6.00pm for an afternoon session. These dates are subject to change upon progression within the course.
All students who wish to train as a veterinary nurse need to fulfil the following criteria:
- Have achieved 5 GCSE’s grades A-C or 9-4 or equivalents to include English, Maths and Science at the time of application. Certificates will be required to prove this. Statements of results are NOT acceptable
- Be employed in a veterinary practice that is recognised as a training practice by the RCVS.
- Be working alongside a clinical coach in that practice for a minimum of 2 days per week.
- Be able to attend college on a day release basis – attendance must not fall below 80%.
Prior to Acceptance on the Course:
- We strongly recommend that all students work in a veterinary practice for a minimum of 6 months prior to starting the course
- Submit BGT enrolment paperwork.
- Be able to attend an induction day at BGT if successful.