- Work in a veterinary practice or other setting, assisting vets in the care of sick or injured animals
- You'll need to be good with animals and people, and be caring but also emotionally strong
- Progress into practice management, supervision or specialise in an area like wildlife, zoological or equine nursing
Most veterinary nurses work in general veterinary practices helping to treat and care for sick and injured animals. You'll need to care about animal welfare, but be strong enough to cope with seeing unwell animals every day.
- Speak to animal owners to find out the problem
- Take blood and urine samples from animals
- Take x-rays
- Prepare animals for treatment and assist vets during treatment
- Give injections, medication and remove stitches
- Talk to pet owners about how to care for their animals
- Take care of in-patient animals
- Supervise and help to train other assistants
- Update record
- In smaller practices you may also work on reception
You may need to work some evenings and weekends, and you'll usually wear a uniform and protective clothing.
You'll need the ability to handle animals in a calm, confident manner, practical skills, the ability to be tactful and sympathetic with pet owners, plus administration and IT skills.
You'll also need a Level 3 diploma in veterinary nursing, or a foundation degree or degree in veterinary nursing to register with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS).
Alternatively you could do a veterinary nursing advanced apprenticeship.
You'll normally need some work experience before you start training. You could volunteer with a vet, a local kennel or animal welfare centre, or with animal charities like the PDSA or RSPCA.
With experience, you could take on more responsibility, like practice management, supervising and training new staff, or working in veterinary supplies. You could also train to specialise in working for a zoological/wildlife park, charity, pharmaceutical company or breeding/boarding kennels. With further study you could work towards becoming a lecturer or researcher.