Veterinary Nursing as a Career

Veterinary Nursing: Job Description

Veterinary Nurses assist Veterinarians in all aspects of patient care, including:

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Medical treatment and hospitalisation

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Laboratory testing

A large part of your job is the education of pet owners. So you’ll also need great communication and people skills to impart important pet care information.

To be a successful Vet Nurse you will also need:

A good foundation in Maths and English

Ability to work as part of a team

Ability to follow directions and think for yourself

Excellent observational skills

Computer skills
(as most clinics are computerised)

Animal Handling Techniques

Confidence handling a variety of animal species.

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And, of course, you’ll need to enjoy working with animals!

A day in the life of a Vet Nurse

Veterinary Nurses perform a huge array of tasks in the clinic.

The exact tasks you’ll need to undertake will depend on your experience, qualifications, and the type of clinic you’re working in – whether it’s a small, large or mixed animal practice, a general practice or a specialist centre (such as a 24-hour emergency centre, or working with registered veterinary specialists). Your day could include:

  • Animal restraint during procedures and examinations
  • Preparing patients for surgery
  • Assisting with surgery (by holding instruments, etc.)
  • Booking appointments
  • Handling phone queries
  • Monitoring patients under anaesthetic
  • Obtaining pathology samples and performing diagnostic tests
  • Administering first aid to animals
  • Administering medication to patients under direction
  • Caring for hospitalised animals
  • Responding to and recognising emergencies
  • Obtaining and recording patient vital signs
  • Giving advice to clients on a multitude of topics
  • Assisting with radiography
  • Assisting with pet euthanasia
  • Lots and lots of cleaning!

Your typical working week

  • Most nurses work Monday to Friday with some overtime as required.
  • However, you should expect to work long shifts, with weekend and even after hours work common – again this varies from clinic to clinic. Many clinics are open on the weekends, and it’s not unusual to be rostered regularly on weekends.
  • If you work for a 24/7 emergency centre, night shifts are often required.

Compensation for a job well done

  • The majority of Veterinary Nurses are employed under the ‘Animal Care and Veterinary Services Award 2010’. A copy of this award can be found at on the FairWork site. It details information about wages and other working conditions you can expect as a veterinary nurse.
  • Generally speaking, veterinary nursing pay is scaled to your qualification and experience, so there are immediate benefits to being a qualified nurse through our Nationally Recognised Training courses
  • The reward of seeing an animal come back to health!
  • Many clinics also offer great staff discounts on veterinary care.

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