Friday, 28 June 2013

So you still want to be a Veterinary Nurse?

So even after you've read my blog you still want to be a veterinary nurse.....are you sure I haven't put you off yet??

Fair enough, lets see what info I can provide to help you on your way then. First and foremost I can't recommend enough trying before you buy! It's like any profession, you may have rose tinted glasses and then when your actually cleaning up after a dog that's had a rear explosion due to say Parvo virus you may just think again.
Most practices are really happy to take on work experience people for a few weeks/days. The more you can try the better idea you will have. It will also help you to make contacts in the profession and believe me it's smaller than you think.

So after trying it you still want to make it your career, cool! There's at this point a few ways of going about it:
  1. The degree route - I didn't take this route so can't advise to much but it's a higher education 3 year degree course. Its more academic, but you still have to undertake clinical placements to get your hands dirty. For more info just search for University's that run this course to find out more e.g
  2. Vocational training route - This is now a level 3 diploma, it's more work based and is slightly more hands on and practical. You can either do this on an apprenticeship type scheme normally on day release or you can also now undertake it full time.

I suggest at this point you take a look at the Veterinary Nursing regulatory body which is the RCVS at

In order to legally undertake many veterinary nursing procedures i.e. injections etc. you must first be registered with the RCVS as a student veterinary nurse whichever route you decide to go for.

Now it really is up to you what route you decide to go for and it really does come down to personal preference. I took the vocational route, possibly because I'm more hands on and practical and I learn as I do things. To be eligible for this course you must have a minimum of 5 GCSEs at grade C or above including: English, Maths & a Science subject.

If you decide the vocational route there are lots of different providers, one college that has quite a few locations in the UK is as you'll find on this website you can do a fast track route over 2 yrs or more of a day release over 3yrs or a full time course for those students who cannot find a training practice to take them on. My advice is to send as many CVs out as possible, this is what I had to do on two separate occasions (several yrs in between I might add!) I ended up sending 12 out and got lucky with 1!

You will have to undertake an NPL (this used to be a called a portfolio) this is an on line log of your work. You have to be competent in all these areas before you can complete the course and you have to do this by logging actual cases that you have played a part in and become competent in.

I'm not going to lie it is a lot of hard work and you need to be dedicated to completing any of the above courses. Veterinary Nursing in general is a very physical profession, with long hours and can be highly emotional as you've hopefully read from my blog. But if you've read my blog and are still up for giving it a try then why not, it can be very rewarding (not in the financial sense!) and no two days is the same that's for sure!

As a student veterinary nurse a few pieces of advice, don't be to cocky ;p, it won't go down to well and more than that it's dangerous. If you don't understand something ask for help, you'll be respected far more because at the end of the day were all in it because we genuinely love animals and if your afraid to ask and do it anyway your putting the animal first and foremost at risk. You will have to do a fair amount of cleaning, you'll get used to it believe me and we all have to do it. The hours are long and sometimes you will have to stay late to help out, but and a bit but don't get walked over. Stand up for yourself when its due because there are still a lot of old fashioned people out there, but times are changing and nurses are beginning to be respected for our role in practice.

And one more thing.......Good luck :)

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