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Awareness for Vet Nursing

Raising Awareness for Veterinary Nursing

May is Veterinary Nursing Awareness Month. This annual campaign, held throughout the month of May, is led by the British Veterinary Nursing Association (BVNA), and aims to raise awareness of the importance of the role of the veterinary nursing profession to the public.  

We are extremely proud of all our veterinary nurses; they are an inspiration to us all, and an integral part of the clinical team at Crown Vets. We have an amazing, varied team of nurses across the three clinics who are dedicated to supporting our clients and their pets.  

During these challenging few years, these nurses have been working extremely hard to support the Vets and look after all the patients under their care and they play a vital part in the smooth running of the practice.  

Registered Veterinary Nurses (RVN)'s are skilled dedicated professionals, working alongside Veterinary Surgeons to provide a high standard of care for all animals under their care. Working generally within a Veterinary Surgery, or in a Veterinary Hospital or Referral Clinic, they are involved in a wide range of animal treatments and procedures. 

RVN's provide skilled, professional care for all animals, both sick and healthy. They give trained advice on preventative healthcare for all ages of animals, from the young to the elderly, giving healthcare advice tailored to the specific species, age, and life-stage of your pet. As well as providing expert nursing care for the sick animals, veterinary nurses also play a significant role in supporting pet owners in keeping their pets healthy from puppyhood to old age. Registered Veterinary Nurses have the technical knowledge and hands-on practical expertise to care for animals with skill and empathy. 

Vet Nurses carry out essential clinical work and are skilled in undertaking a wide range of diagnostic tests and treatments, and some minor surgical procedures, with veterinary supervision. Their varied skill sets include: Carrying out essential clinical work and administering medical treatments and carrying out diagnostic tests as advised by the attending Vet; Giving Intensive nursing care to hospitalised in-patients; Monitoring anaesthesia during investigative procedures, surgeries and dentistry procedures, undertaking carefully logged monitoring of these patients during anaesthesia, throughout the crucial recovery phase after anaesthesia and they are skilled in all aspects of

 post-operative nursing care; They carry out , prepare and place patients for Radiography and Advanced Imaging;  They offer client advice and education on on-going preventative pet healthcare at the Vet Nurse clinics, these nurse clinics cover a wide range of healthcare checks and include: Geriatric clinics, (for example our Silver Whiskers Club covers Blood Pressure and urinalysis checks for elderly cats, and on-going monitoring for Kidney, Hyperthyroid and cardiac and hypertensive cases); Post operative checks; Bandaging and dressing changes; Nail clipping; Anal gland expression; Some vaccinations; Microchipping ; Behavioural and desensitisation clinics; Preventative dental treatment and dental care advice and also Weight Management clinics.

The RVN training does takes time and some commitment, but the rewards of an excellent career after this training are well worth it. It is a rewarding career that offers job satisfaction, variety and contact with animals of all species, and at the same time helping and educating pet owners about on-going healthcare for their pets. 

Many qualified RVN's continue to work throughout their career in Veterinary General Practice in a local Vet practice, where they can go on to assume greater responsibilities and can continue with further advanced and specialist training in Veterinary Nursing. They can also progress into Veterinary Practice Management and become Vet Nurse heads of department and team leaders, supervising the clinical staff and Hospital wards in the practice, or they can go into teaching, trainee Vet Nurses and their support staff. 

Outside General Small Animal Practice, alternative career opportunities include focusing on Mixed Practice: Small and Large animal, or in Large Animal, or Equine practice: work in research establishments and Laboratories; work in Veterinary Colleges and Universities; work in Zoological or Wildlife parks; work with Animal Charities ( e.g. Guide Dogs for the Blind , Hearing Dogs , Assistance Dogs , The Peoples Dispensary for Sick Animals, The Blue Cross); working with Breeding/Boarding and Rescue Kennels; working as key representatives for the Pharmaceutical and Animal Food and health supplement Companies; or work with Pet Insurance Companies. The possible career opportunities for vet nurses are now wide and varied. 

The Vet Nurse training is conducted through colleges and Universities that offer qualifications approved by the RCVS and their linked approved training Veterinary Practices. To achieve a RVN qualification student Vet Nurses can choose one of two routes for their training: a)  To study for a Level 3 Diploma , a three-year flexible, block-release, practically focused course , ( which could be useful for a mature student with family commitments) ,  or b)  To study at a higher education level for a Diploma to BSc (Hons), a four-year more academic Degree course. In both cases trainee nurses will be working closely with an approved training Veterinary Practice throughout their training. There are now other avenues to enable you to pursue a career in Veterinary Nursing, and age is not a restricting factor.

The title of Registered Veterinary Nurse (RVN) can be used by nurses who have undergone the required training and education. Once they have passed their final nursing exams, nurses are entered onto the VN register and are regulated by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS). They then follow the Code of Professional Conduct for Veterinary Nurses, which includes requirements to undertake Continuing Professional Development (CPD) to keep their skills up to date. 

To find out more about the role of RVNs in veterinary practice, or if you are interested in finding out more about a career in veterinary nursing, you can contact the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons RCVS website at: 

 I want to be a veterinary nurse - Animal Owners (rcvs.org.uk) . 

Or, visit the British Veterinary Nursing Association BVNA website at:

 Careers - British Veterinary Nursing AssociationBritish Veterinary Nursing Association (bvna.org.uk) 


Alison Laurie-Chalmers 
Senior Consultant 
Crown Vets