Veterinary Nurses (VNs) are required by law to be registered with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS). They provide supportive care for the animals receiving treatment in a veterinary practice. This can be anything from medicating animals to monitoring anaesthetics during operations. But it's not all glamorous work or cuddling sick pets! You have to be prepared to work hard, deal with difficult situations and clean a lot! If you're happy to do that, you are over the first hurdle. Qualified VNs traditionally wear green uniforms with student VNs wearing green and white stripes.
People wishing to pursue a career in veterinary nursing need to be good communicators, work well as part of a team and be caring and calm in an emergency. When it comes to training, these days there are plenty of options. If you are lucky enough to find a veterinary practice that is willing to take you on, you can study through the apprenticeship route. This normally involves working full-time with one day a week at college for 3 years (known as the part-time course). Some colleges are now offering a full-time course, run over 2 years, where students attend college for two days a week and complete placements in practices the rest of each week. Throughout their training, students may have to travel to reach placements. Alternatively, you can choose to do A-Levels (normally to include Biology) and then go to university and study a degree in veterinary nursing, these generally have a 3 or 4-year duration. In addition to working in practice, this gives you further opportunities to move into the fields of research, pharmaceuticals or teaching. Most university courses require you to do placements throughout the course and you may need to source these yourself, so it is vital to check these details when choosing a course appropriate for you.
The best advice we could give you, whichever route you choose to become a Registered Veterinary Nurse, is get plenty of work experience such as volunteering in kennels, catteries, stables and veterinary practices. Finding work experience can be difficult but if you put in the effort, it will pay off in the future as you embark on your journey to becoming a veterinary nurse. The RCVS website provides in-depth information on training, including lists of colleges who run VN training courses and veterinary practices which are registered to provide training. Veterinary nursing is a rewarding job but takes dedication.
For further information on a veterinary career, have a look at the following sites: