Training to be a Veterinary Nurse

After 3 years of hard work and dedication, I am so pleased to say that I’m coming towards the end of my veterinary Nurse training and by Christmas I should be a fully qualified, registered veterinary Nurse RVN (Hopefully!!).

Training to become a veterinary nurse is extremely hard work, time consuming and mentally and physically challenging – but also the most rewarding job in the world! There are various ways to become a veterinary nurse, including an apprenticeship through a local college such as Kirkley Hall, completing a degree in veterinary nursing at a university, or as I have done , completing my training and qualification through work based learning and a part time college course based at an approved RCVS veterinary nursing college. I have worked 40 hours per week in practice at St Clair alongside my clinical coach and head nurse Natasha (who keeps me in line!), during this time I have completed my Nursing Progress Log (NPL) which is an online portfolio of over 400 nursing tasks. The Idea of the ‘NPL’ is for Natasha to demonstrate nursing skills to me, I record all my logs for each skill as I complete them in practice and once competent, I claim each skill and then my clinical coach signs each off until the portfolio is 100% complete. Once this has been verified by my college who are trained RCVS verifiers then I can apply for my final exam (Which I will be completing in October! Scary!).

Every 6-8 weeks I visited Myerscough college of Veterinary Nursing in Preston, where I lived on campus for two weeks each time and attended lectures each day. Throughout my theory learning, I was required to complete 6 written exam’s, and 5 written assignments over the course of 2 years which covers the syllabus of veterinary nurse training as well as completing my NPL– as you can imagine I have dedicated A LOT of my personal time over the past two years to revision and assignment writing! Finally I am approaching my most scary, and last exam – the dreaded OSCEs. The OSCE exam is the practical nursing exam where I complete a variety of nursing skills complying with RCVS guidelines all whilst being timed and examined. Wish me luck!

Veterinary nursing is a very caring, heart touching profession where I have a number of responsibilities… far too many to talk about! Our main duty is assisting the veterinary surgeon in practice, giving advice to clients regarding animal welfare and of course nursing sick animals ensuring they have the best care possible. I have always known since being a little girl that I wanted to work within the veterinary profession, I spent a lot of time as a child playing with my huge animal hospital, nursing the animals and driving them around in my toy animal hospital truck! I have also always been absolutely dog mad, owning a bunch of working Springer and Cocker Spaniels.

Although the past couple of years have been very straining, as working full time and completing a qualification on top is very stressful, and there have been many tears and tantrums! I can finally see the light! All my hard work and dedication is finally paying off. I couldn’t be more proud for all my hard work throughout my veterinary nurse training, and I couldn’t thank my clinical coach, Natasha and the team at St Clair Vets enough for being so supportive throughout and believing in me when I didn’t and felt like giving up. Once qualified I plan to stay within the veterinary nursing profession for a number of years, and I hope to continue learning and progressing in my career

Amy Fletcher SVN