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Alison Laurie-Chalmers: Could a career in veterinary nursing be right for you?

By Alison Laurie-Chalmers

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Do you have what it takes to be a veterinary nurse, helping animals and their owners?
Do you have what it takes to be a veterinary nurse, helping animals and their owners?

May is Veterinary Nursing Awareness Month. This annual campaign 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 (RVNs) are skilled dedicated professionals, working alongside veterinary surgeons to provide a high standard of care for all animals under their care. They are involved in a wide range of animal treatments and procedures.

RVNs provide skilled, professional care for all animals – 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.

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.

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

Outside general small animal practice, alternative career opportunities include focussing 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; 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 Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) and their linked approved training veterinary practices.

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 RCVS here or visit the British Veterinary Nursing Association BVNA website

Alison Laurie-Chalmers is a senior consultant at Crown Vets in Inverness

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