My patient can't tell me when and where they hurt!
Veterinary nursing is a rewarding and challenging career. The benefits are many. It is a hands on occupation that brings you into contact with many animals and their owners. No day will ever be the same so you can be assured that you will never experience a dull day. The veterinary industry is rich with dedicated and committed individuals who not only give 100% to their jobs, but provide many hours of voluntary work raising orphaned and homeless animals.
Veterinary nurses are a valuable and essential part of the veterinary healthcare team. Their personal skills encompass communication, empathy, adaptability, and a commitment to increasing their knowledge. They learn specialised skills needed in caring for sick or injured animals during all avenues of examination, diagnosis, treatment and surgery.
Every day is a journey
A cat has just been admitted with kidney failure, a motor vehicle accident victim has just walked through the door, and the waiting room is full of clients. Not only does the nurse assist the veterinarian in medical procedures and surgery, they also are a hub of information and communication for their clients.
In addition, their daily schedule includes cleaning, sterilising and preparing surgical instruments, monitoring the anaesthetic during operations and giving medication and injections under veterinary supervision. They also may insert catheters for intravenous fluids, develop x-rays and perform clerical duties and receptionist work.
A passion for animals is a major attraction for potential candidates for the veterinary industry however new recruits find out soon that there are also a number of menial tasks that must be done each and every day. Even the most senior of nurses may need to lend a hand to cleaning kennels or picking up dog faeces.
In addition, a nurse must be able to cope with the fact that some people may not treat their animals with the same respect that you and I might. Or at the same time some owners can't cope with a healthy pet and may choose to have their animals euthanased.
A veterinary nurse salary is usually reflective of their age and experience. Junior veterinary nurses earn approximately $30,000 per year and senior nurses or hospital managers can earn up to $50,000.
Where to start - turning dreams into reality
The current qualification that provides an individual with the skill to provide competent support to a Veterinary Practice is a Certificate IV in Veterinary Nursing. Prior to this, a Certificate II provides the progression towards the final certificate. This is a national qualification recognised in all states in Australia.
All training providers in Australia offer accreditation to this qualification through the Veterinary Nursing Training Package. Once this initial qualification has been gained further units of study can be achieved up to Diploma level.
There are a number of ways of achieving certification. Fore more information we recommend contacting the Vet Nurses Council of Australia, www.vnca.asn.au. The VNCA offers support and direction for Veterinary Nurses and sets and maintains standards for excellence in animal care through quality education and support.
There is also more information available at Australian Apprenticeships www.australianapprenticeships.gov.au
For the list of Registered Training Providers go to the National Training Information Service at www.ntis.gov.au
Fast Track your Veterinary Nursing Career
There are a number of options with regard to obtaining this qualification depending on what state of Australia you live in.
Full/or part time study at Box Hill Institute of TAFE www.bhtafe.edu.au
Full/or part time study at Goulburn Ovens Institute of TAFE www.gotafe.vic.edu.au
Full/or part time study at Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE (NMIT) www.nmit.vic.edu.au
In New South Wales
In Western Australia
Full/or part time study at Polytechnic West www.polytechnicwest.wa.edu.au
Full/part time/or external study Applied Vocational Training www.appvoc.com
For advice on Veterinary nursing contact VET (Vocational Education and Training). If you are already studying or in the workforce, please visit the Career Centre's website.
In South Australia
Full/or part time study at Gilles Plains www.tafesa.edu.au
You must already be employed by a Veterinary practice to start the full time or part time course at Department of Employment and Training trading as Brisbane and North Point Institute of TAFE Tel: 07 3259 5127 www.bn.tafe.qld.gov.au
External study with the Australian Veterinary Nurse Resource Centre www.avnrc.com.au