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.