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Veterinary Nurse

The qualified veterinary nurse plays an invaluable part in the veterinary team. Their main role is to providing a high standard of care of the sick animals, however the VN also undertakes a number of different roles from assisting the veterinary surgeon during surgery to producing diagnostic radiographs, processing blood and urine samples in the practice laboratory, assisting with anaesthesia and ensuring medical treatments are administered correctly. Veterinary nurses also play an important role in educating clients about their pets and running nursing clinics. No day is ever the same!
To become a VN you need to ensure you meet the RCVS enrolment requirements. These are five GCSE’s at grade C or above including English language, mathematics and a science.

Vocational training
The apprentice style training currently requires students to undertake level 2 and 3 in NVQ veterinary nursing. In order to train via this route you need to find a job at a veterinary practice which is approved to train veterinary nurses. You will be mainly studying on the job and attend a local college either one day a week or by block release. In order to qualify, nurses must complete at least two years of vocational training which is assessed at work and through examination by the RCVS Awarding Body.

Degree based training
You may want to obtain a degree in veterinary nursing and this is currently offered at two levels; Foundation degree or BSc in veterinary nursing.
Foundation degrees are usually 3 yrs in length including all your practical training and a BSc in veterinary nursing is usually 4yrs in length.
For further information on degree courses please see

Student VN’s undergo at least 70 weeks of practical placements as part of their course. Most degree courses are not yet accredited by the RCVS and therefore the students also take the national RCVS examinations in addition to their university exams. 

Once you have qualified a variety of positions are available, including working universities, colleges, zoological/wildlife parks, animal charities, pharmaceutical companies, breeding/boarding kennels, research establishments, and animal laboratories.

Many qualified VN's continue to work in veterinary practice, taking on greater responsibilities, such as practice management, supervision of staff, hospital wards, and teaching/training other nurses or supporting staff.