Veterinary - Nursing
“The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.”
Future VETS (SCOTLAND)
Career pathways in veterinary nursing
Veterinary nursing is an interesting and varied profession which encompasses all aspects of patient and client care.
Careers in Veterinary Nursing
A veterinary nurse is a key member of the clinic team and works under the direction of a veterinary surgeon. Their core remit is to ensure high standards of animal welfare through the provision of care and treatment to sick and injured animals of a variety of species. Another large part of the role of a veterinary nurse is to provide support and education to owners on a range of topics to help ensure their pets stay as health as possible.
Veterinary nursing is a technical professional qualification and so the job is very hands on and practical. Once qualified, veterinary nurses apply to become registered with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) and are subsequently called registered veterinary nurses (RVNs). These individuals are allowed to work under specific legislation called Schedule 3 of the Veterinary Surgeons Act (Year) and must adhere to a Code of Professional Conduct.
RVNs can perform a diverse range of activities including:
Veterinary nurses can train to work with a range of species including small animals (e.g. cats and dogs), large animals (e.g. cows and sheep) and horses. Most veterinary nurses work within a clinical setting such as a general practice, hospital, rescue shelter or zoo. However, some work in non-clinical roles including practice management, education, research, industry.
The RCVS RVN qualification is held in high regard and allows you to travel and work around the world, including Europe, Australia and New Zealand.
To find out more about where a career in veterinary nursing can lead you then visit the VN Futures website here
How do you qualify as a veterinary nurse?
To train as a veterinary nurse, you first need to have a place on an RCVS accredited course and then enrol as a student veterinary nurse with the RCVS. There are parallel pathways to qualifying which include a further education (college) route and a higher education (university) route.
The level of academic qualification and length of time spent studying will vary depending on the type of course you take, however all courses require you to complete a minimum number of hours in an approved training practice.
Some student veterinary nurses are also employed by a vet practice and work whilst they train. Each course provider has different entry requirements, so you should investigate these carefully for each institution you are considering applying to.
Most institutions also require you to have completed a specific number of hours of work experience with a range of species.
For further information about enrolling as a student veterinary nurse and for a comprehensive list of accredited course providers and approved training practices, visit the RCVS website here.