Empowering animal wellness: the essential role of vet nurses

The role of an RVN is at the very heart of our clinical teams, offering both direct clinical treatment and support the vet team, both facilitating and carrying out vital tasks. Nurses do incredible work supporting the treatment and care of animals, using their specialised skills and knowledge in their work, every single day.  

What does a veterinary nurse do? Duties can include:
•    Assisting in the operating theatre
•    Monitoring anaesthetics
•    Client education
•    Bandaging wounds and fractures
•    Triaging emergency cases
•    Taking radiographs
•    Dispensing medications
•    And even performing minor surgeries, and offering post-operative care. 

Nurses support owners and offer advice on all aspects of animal care. It’s a truly rewarding career where you can really see the positive impact that your work has on animals and their families. Often you’ll be the one caring for an animal throughout its journey with the practice or hospital, and helping to ensure the best possible outcome for that patient with your work.

How to become a veterinary nurse:

If you want to work with animals and people, have a caring nature, possess good problem-solving skills and are ready to work hard, you might have the skills to become a registered veterinary nurse.  

What qualifications do you need to be a veterinary nurse?

Before you think about looking for a vet nursing course, the first step to becoming an RVN is to achieve the relevant grades in some essential subjects at school. In England this will likely be a minimum of 5 GCSEs at grade C or above, including Maths, English and a Science subject. If these feels out of reach but you still want to work with animals, you might consider pursuing a career as a veterinary care assistant

After finishing school, there are two pathways into veterinary nursing. You can undertake a vocational veterinary nursing course at college, such as a veterinary nursing diploma level 3, or pursue higher education at university and get a degree in animal nursing. Regardless of which path you choose, if you’re looking for any veterinary nursing courses, make sure that they are Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) accredited veterinary nursing qualifications. Student nurses are required by law to enrol with the RCVS to carry out the nursing procedures needed for training. Once you have completed your training or passed your degree, you’ll be able to register with the RCVS as a registered veterinary nurse.

Work experience and learning in the field

Work experience offers an opportunity to be a part of a veterinary team in a working practice, and to see if it’s the best fit for you. Having experience working with animals can be an important part of your application, this could include volunteering at your local vet practice or with an animal charity. However, many institutions understand there may be barriers to taking part in work experience, offering online alternatives that will be accepted instead. Experience in customer-facing roles in shops, bars, and restaurants is a useful transferable skill that will help prepare you for dealing the client-facing aspect of the role of an RVN. 

Studying to be a veterinary nurse is an intensive process. Getting familiar with the role in a working environment will help you determine if you enjoy the work and are suited to it. Aside from experience in a vet practice, other relevant environments include kennels and rehoming centres. Our practices are always looking for enthusiastic student nurses too.

"The passion people have for their pets is truly inspiring. It's this passion and the opportunity to make a tangible difference in the lives of animals and their owners that keeps me motivated"

Nursing manager Hannah Fletcher

Want to hear more from our nurses? Discover their stories on our Careers News blog.

Read more

Newly qualified? Join the IVC Evidensia Nurse Academy

Our Nurse Academy provides a unique opportunity for newly qualified nurses to join a structured 12-month CPD programme. Providing engaging learning opportunities, our valued IVC Evidensia Academy Nurses benefit from:

• Over 100 hours of CPD worth £2,000
• 11 online CPD days out of practice & structure eLearning programmes
• BVNA/IVNA membership & benefits
• Attendance at practical face-to-face training days
• A dedicated in-practice Coach & external practice support
•​ Career development and support

Want to work with us?

We are always on the look out for talented and enthusiastic veterinary nurses to join one of our practice teams. Check out our current veterinary nurse vacancies.