Veterinary nursing is a challenging and rewarding profession. There is a wide variety of work which can be fast-paced and is often demanding with high-pressured emergency situations. But the chance to work in daily contact with animals and their owners makes it an attractive career option for many.
What’s involved in veterinary nursing?
Registered Veterinary Nurses (RVNs) work alongside veterinary surgeons to provide high standards of care for animals. Depending on the type of practice, this could include companion pets such as cats, dogs and rabbits, or large species such as horses or farm animals.
A qualified RVN is responsible for the welfare, comfort and recovery of the animals in their care. They may have undergone surgery, be receiving treatment for medical conditions or require advice on preventative healthcare.
An RVN’s responsibilities include:
Triage emergencies, whatever time of day or night
Carry our post-operative checks
Place intravenous catheters
Observe patients’ vital signs such as temperature, pulse, respiration and pain
Take and run blood samples
Monitor anaesthesia and animals in recovery
Support animals and owners before and after operations
Administer medications and fluid therapy to patients
To find out more about the veterinary nursing career opportunities at Charter Vets, click here
There are two main routes into training as an RVN:
What’s best for me?
Both qualification routes lead to registration as a RVN.
Vocational training might be more suitable if you are ‘hands-on’ and practically minded.
A degree course will take longer to complete and involve more classroom time, but could lead to additional career opportunities, such as research, teaching or working in the pharmaceutical industry.
Career variety and progression
Once qualified as a veterinary nurse there are many opportunities for career development available throughout the industry, such as:
- General practice nursing
- Referral practice nursing
- Teaching roles, in practice or becoming a college lecturer
- Head nurse/practice management
- Pharmaceutical or veterinary supplies industry posts
There are a huge variety of additional qualifications that registered nurses can go onto achieve after their initial nurse training, see a small list of some below, several of which our current veterinary nursing team at Chater and Torch are undertaking or have completed:
- Clinical coach training
- Certificate of Veterinary Nursing in Emergency & Critical Care
- International Society of Feline Medicine – Certificate in Feline Nursing, Advanced Certificate in Feline Behaviour
- Equine Veterinary Nursing
- BASVA VN Merit Award in Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation
- Diploma in Advanced Veterinary Nursing
All registered qualified veterinary nurses are required to complete and record ongoing training throughout their career, called Continuing Professional Development. The purpose is to continually maintain, improve and broaden their skills and knowledge, as well as developing personal qualities which help to ensure they remain professionally competent. There is a minimum requirement of 45 hours over 3 years, although most nurse will do considerably more than this.