Courses

Veterinary nursing is a natural choice for those with their minds set on working with animals. If you have a passion for animal welfare, then you are likely already familiar with the profession and the important role that veterinary nurses play in raising animal welfare standards. You may have had experiences with veterinary nurses by virtue of owning your own pet, or from seeing their work in action on a TV programme.

Veterinary nurses are vital to the running of a successful veterinary practice, and are responsible for working with veterinary surgeons to provide care and treatment to a variety of different animals such as dogs, cats and rabbits. Being a vet nurse can be challenging; the role sometimes involves long and unsociable hours, however the sense of purpose that comes from nursing an ill animal back to health, and the long-lasting friendships fostered whilst working as part of a close knit team, make becoming a veterinary nurse a worthwhile ambition.

There are a range of veterinary nurse qualifications available, from Further Education (Level 3 Diploma) through to Higher Education (FdSc and BSc Honours); the College is pleased to offer all of these programmes.

Subject overview

If you’re looking to embark on a professional career where you can put your love of animals to good use and promote responsible pet ownership – veterinary nursing could be the profession for you!

Dedication to your work and towards improving your own professional standards is key to succeeding in the profession, because many veterinary nurses end up taking their work home with them. Sometimes this could be in the form of an abandoned or stray animal that needs a place to stay!

Whilst many veterinary nurses work within small teams, you should also possess the confidence and initiative needed to work with little supervision, and be able to cope with the emotional and physical demands of the job.

Is veterinary nursing for you?

Working as a veterinary nurse, no two days would be the same. You would be responsible for assisting with the care of a wide range of animals, and each day you are likely to face a variety of different tasks. You might be assisting a veterinary surgeon in theatre, or advising an owner on the most appropriate method of flea control for their pet. You may also be involved with:

  • Preparing animals for surgery and performing minor surgical procedures
  • Monitoring anaesthetised animals
  • Nursing sick animals and administering medication
  • Taking x-rays and carrying out diagnostic tests
  • Advising owners on the health and welfare of their pets
  • Taking bookings, payments and completing necessary paperwork
  • Running nurse clinics, such as diet, worming and grooming consultations

Whilst much of the work that veterinary nurses carry out is challenging and rewarding, most workplaces have tedious tasks that we would all rather avoid; but these jobs are just as important in helping an organisation to thrive. In veterinary nursing, these jobs come in the form of cages that need to be cleaned and floors that need to be mopped; therefore you should also be prepared to take on hard and dirty work when necessary.

More information on how to become a veterinary nurse can be found on our career profiles for veterinary nursing.

Why choose to study veterinary nursing at The College of Animal Welfare?

  • Experienced and supportive lecturers

We are very proud of the fact that all of the lecturers delivering our veterinary nursing courses are veterinary surgeons or registered veterinary nurses with significant industry experience and knowledge under their belts. As dedicated vets or veterinary nurses themselves, they all share a common passion for pushing the profession forward. They do this by helping students to get the most out of their formal training and become the best veterinary nurses they can be.

  • Gain real long term job prospects

Job prospects for registered veterinary nurses continue to remain high both within veterinary practice and in related industries. In addition, a nationwide shortage of veterinary nurses means that salary expectations have increased significantly in recent years. You can now expect a veterinary nurse salary to be in excess of £20,229 on average per year. To explore the opportunities available, you can visit our job board, which advertises veterinary nurse jobs for both qualified and student veterinary nurses.

  • Flexible veterinary nurse training

As the largest provider of veterinary nurse training in the UK, it is important to us that the opportunity to undertake our courses is open to everyone that has the dedication needed to succeed in the profession, regardless of background. As such our veterinary nursing courses are available in a variety of different formats, ranging from diploma to degree level. We can offer you the opportunity to study within a community of like-minded students and staff, who all share a common passion for animal welfare and a commitment to pushing forward what is already an exciting and rewarding profession.

Careers

Completion of the required veterinary nursing qualifications and training affords veterinary nurses numerous professional opportunities. Many choose to remain in first opinion veterinary practice; however others move into referral practice or in to a large veterinary hospital and specialise in a particular area, such as surgical nursing. You could also find work in related industries such as leadership and management, research, teaching, sales or rehabilitation.

Alternatively, you could train as an equine veterinary nurse. Equine veterinary nurses work in veterinary practices that treat horses, and work with vets to ensure the care and treatment of horses. You can choose to train directly, or become a small animal veterinary nurse first, and then go on to take a top up equine programme to gain the RVN (Equine) qualification.

Further information about routes into equine veterinary nursing can be found on the The Open College of Equine Studies website.

Trainee veterinary nurse jobs advertised on our job board can be found here.