Career guide & advice: pursuing a career as a veterinary nurse

A veterinary nurse helps a veterinary surgeon perform everyday tasks at the veterinary. The nurse provides nursing care for injured, sick and hospitalised animals. In addition to providing nursing care for sick animals, a veterinary nurse helps the surgeon handle owners of the animals, educating owners on proper animal care and welfare. If you love animals and would like to pursue a career helping and looking after their health, becoming a veterinary nurse could be a highly satisfying job for you.

Roles of a veterinary nurse

Like most other careers in the health sector, the job of a veterinary nurse is both stimulating and challenging. The job demands that you have a strong passion for pets and capacity to cope with unpleasant sights and smells at the veterinary. In addition, you need to have stamina and patience to stand on your feet long hours when at work.

On a typical day, the roles of as a veterinary nurse may begin with feeding animals residing at the vet followed by a busy day at the clinic, assisting with bandaging, injections, operations and other animal treatments. Because pets come with owners, a vetinary nurse will also handle worried pet owners regularly too.

Training and qualifications

To qualify as a veterinary nurse in the UK, you need to take a Level 3 Diploma in Veterinary Nursing course, ideally at the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeon (RCVS) school in London. The Diploma in Veterinary Nursing opens the doors to a broad sprecrum of animal health careers, including at animal shelters, vet clinics, pet shops, zoos and animal wildlife parks.

Level 3 Diploma in Veterinary Nursing is the standardd route of training and takes between two and three years to qualify. You can pursue the diploma full time or as an apprenticeship alongside a job in veterinary practice.


Veterinary nurses earn anywhere between £14,000 and £22,000 per year, depending on level of experience. Senior vet nurses with more experience can make as much as £25,000 a year.

While the duties of a veterinary nurse may be challenging, the rewards of a job well done are immensely gratifying, especially among nurses who have a strong passion for animals

Visit The British Veterinary Nursing Association for more information on job prospects, qualification and training requirements at bvna.org.uk.

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