Working in veterinary nursing provides a hands-on, challenging but rewarding career for those passionate about animals and their health and welfare.
In day to day work you may; provide emergency and routine healthcare, provide nursing care to patients (monitoring, health checks, feeding, grooming, walking, etc.), perform diagnostic tests, perform minor procedures, prepare animals for surgery, work alongside veterinarians, maintain cleanliness and hygiene of the practice, communicate with animal owners and educate them on animal care.
Key Skills Required:
- Practical skills (animal handling)
- Administration and IT skills
- Excellent Communication
- Effective team work skills
- Attention to detail
- Ability to stay confident, calm and composed under pressure
Key Points to Know:
- The average work week for a veterinary nurse is 35 to 40 hours.
- Being a vet nurse is very physically and emotionally demanding.
- You may be working both indoors or outdoors depending on the practice and type of animals you are working with.
- Work experience is essential.
To be a vet nurse you will need to:
- Complete a level 3 work-based diploma in veterinary nursing or a foundation degree or degree is veterinary nursing.
- Register with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS)
The diploma can be carried out full time or as an apprenticeship. The degree is a more academic route and will often take between 3 and 4 years to complete, you need to have 5 GCSEs at grade C or above including Maths, English language and a science subject and an A level in a science subject is desirable too.
Estimated average salary: £18,000 – £26,000 annually
You can anticipate employment in a variety of situations including:
- General Practice – includes vaccinating, neutering, health checking, worming, diagnosing diseases.
- Referral Practice– More specialist that tend to see more complex cases e.g. oncology, ophthalmology and orthopaedics.
- Emergency Practice – Practices often open overnight and at weekends to deal with urgent cases.
You may also choose to further your training and develop into areas such as behaviour or therapy or continue to study a higher level of veterinary nursing. There are also education careers available as tutors and lecturers.
The UK Veterinary Nursing qualification is a highly respected qualification around the world meaning vet nurses will be able to volunteer and work overseas if desired.