Becoming a Veterinary Nurse

What is a veterinary nurse?

Typically, a veterinary nurse is trained to assist veterinary surgeons and assist in the day to day running of a practice.

A vet nurse can work as a researcher, a lab technician, as a trainer, a teacher, in a charity, at a breeding kennel, a pharmaceutical company, a zoo, in wildlife conservation, specialize in equine or alternative therapies, become a practice manager or even a veterinary surgeon.

What qualifications do I need?

You will need 5 GCSE’s grade C or above in specific subjects (see the RCVS website for more details) or a British Veterinary Nursing Association (BVNA) Animal Nursing Assistant Qualification to commence training.

Then you can either:

  • Get a Veterinary Nursing Degree (or do a BTEC HND course) from an RCVS approved college or university or….
  • Work and train at the same time through an RCVS approved training practice (TP).

Ultimately you want to be listed or registered with the RCVS to get a job in the UK. Doing voluntary work in an animal based job will give you experience and be an advantage when applying for courses.

What types of duties will I perform?

Administrative – booking appointments, educating animal owners, liaising with suppliers…

General – Feeding, grooming, exercising in-patients; sterilising equipment, preparing animals for operations, conducting clinics and puppy parties, vaccinations, collecting samples and other medical treatments…

Surgical – Minor procedures such as giving injections, stitches, suture removal, anaesthetics…

These are only some examples of the kind of work you will need to do, a lot of which will be under supervision. Be aware that you will have to deal with vomit, blood and faeces and in some cases death. However, it is a very rewarding job and there are several ways to progress your career.

What is the salary range?

Typically veterinary nurses will earn between £10,000 and £25,000 per year depending on experience, location and the type of practice. On average, a qualified and experienced nurse should earn between £15,000 and £18,000 per year.

Where can I find more info?

Veterinary Nurse Training – Click Here

The British Veterinary Nursing Association – Click Here

RCVS – Click Here

Remember to attend Continuing Professional Development courses (CPD) to keep up-to-date with any changes in your profession and increase your career prospects.


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