VETERINARY nursing is a very rewarding career with numerous opportunities for progression and development.

Veterinary nurses have many responsibilities, including handling patients, providing nursing care in hospitals, administrating medication, monitoring anaesthesia, performing minor surgical procedures, performing diagnostic images/testing and preparing the patients for surgery.

Nurses can train as either a small animal nurse or an equine-only nurse. Veterinary nurse training is conducted through colleges and universities that offer qualifications approved by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) and their linked veterinary practices. Qualification can be gained via two main routes, vocational training or high education.

Vocational training involves completing a level three diploma on an apprenticeship basis alongside a job or placement in veterinary practice, usually taking two years to complete.

Higher education involves undertaking a veterinary nursing degree at university which takes three to four years depending on if a Foundation (FdSc) or Bachelor (Bsc) route is chosen. Degree courses include a significant proportion of practical training based in approved training practices alongside an academic programme.

Both routes produce fantastic veterinary nurses however the degree route allows additional opportunities for career development, including teaching, research and aspects of the pharmaceutical industry.

Once you qualify as a nurse you must enrol with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons and complete continuous professional development each year to remain registered, this includes lectures, reading and attending teaching sessions to keep up to date on changes within the profession.

Opportunities for qualified veterinary nurses include small animal general practice, referral practice, and university hospitals. Additional qualification can be gained once you become a registered nurse, these allow an in-depth knowledge of a specific area of interest including but not limited to wounds healing, pain management, weight management and surgical nursing.

Veterinary nursing is much more than cuddling puppies and kittens all day.