How to Become a Veterinary Nurse

It has been a long road for me becoming a veterinary nurse, but I have finally made it. It has been a lot of hard work, revising and getting through the portfolio. However, now it is all done I can say that I have career that I love and a job that is fun and different every day.

My Veterinary Nurse Experience

I’ll be totally honest; on a quiet day your time could be filled with endless cleaning, scrubbing kennels and mopping of floors, not exactly fun. However, most days would be filled with the areas I love, helping animals through operations or through illnesses. These are the days where you feel like you have made a real difference, even if it is just making that particular animal comfortable during its last few minutes.

There were times I came home and couldn’t stop talking about the interesting cases that I had in that day, and I’m sure after a while my family stopped listening to me as I babbled on. Other times I could come home tired and stressed because we had been extremely busy or a vet had been particularly moody that day (like they sometimes can be!) as you can face with any career.

What are the options after practicing in a clinic?

Working in a veterinary clinic was not something that I thought I would do all my life, but getting the qualification meant that I can now work almost anywhere in the world, or do something like animal rescue work, or working with different types of animals. I could even look at animal conservation work in the UK or abroad. There are so many different routes you can take.

What’s Important for a Veterinary Nurse

Well firstly you have to like animals! A keen love of animals is essential. As they are not able to communicate with us and tell us what is wrong you have to be kind and patient to keep them comfortable.

To have a high standard of cleaning and hygiene is also essential. Making sure you eliminate as much bacteria to the veterinary environment to aid the animals recovery. The money isn’t great so it’s not something you will be doing to become rich, but to do something that offers a great deal of satisfaction knowing that you have managed to make a different.

You will need to have some qualifications to GCSE level, which should include math’s and English. If you do not have these then you can still train, but will need to do additional courses alongside.

There are two ways to qualify:

1. Training whilst working in practice.

This is how I trained. I was able to work full time whilst doing my course at the same time. This was good for me as I was able to get a wage whilst training in something that I loved. I also feel that working whilst training gave me brilliant hands on experience, something that you wouldn’t get if training full time. For me, as I am very practically minded found that I learnt best whilst I was actually doing it.

The problem that you face with working while training, was that it could get quite stressful. You are trying to complete a large portfolio and revise but also trying to put your full attention into your job whilst you are there.

Although it is a two-year course, it took me (and a high percentage of other trainees) longer to complete due to the large portfolio that is required to pass the course. So I would say that you are looking at between 2-4 years training in practice. You can find more information on this route through the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons. (RCVS)

2. Doing a full time degree in veterinary nursing.

I don’t know too much about this way but here is a website that you can check out if you think this way might be more your thing: http://www.rvc.ac.uk/Undergraduate/FoundationNursing/Index.cfm.

I have met a few people along the way that have started this and later realised that they don’t get paid or gain the hands on experience required (and the experience counts for a lot).

I hope that you have found my article useful and I am happy to answer any further questions you may have just drop me an email.

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Fat Cat

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