ACM50412 Diploma of Veterinary Nursing
(Emergency & Critical Care)

Is your passion emergency and critical care? Do you love helping to save lives and the challenge of nursing the critical patients?

The Diploma of Veterinary Nursing (Emergency & Critical Care) will prepare you for working in the exciting field that is emergency and critical care (ECC).

In the Diploma of Veterinary Nursing (Emergency & Critical Care) you will cover a range of clinical nursing subjects and learn about leveraging your team to deliver excellence. Graduates of this program become instrumental team members, helping patients who are suffering from life threatening injuries or diseases and supporting the veterinarian.

Diploma of Veterinary Nursing (Emergency & Critical Care)

Nationally Recognised Training

This certificate is delivered in conjunction with Queensland Agricultural Training Colleges (RTO31258)

You’ll learn about emergency cases, including:

  • Trauma and wounds
  • Multiple traumatic injuries (e.g. Resulting from car accidents)
  • Abdominal emergencies such as GDV
  • Reproductive emergencies
  • Ingested toxins and snake bites
  • Diabetic ketoacidosis
  • Sepsis
  • Addisonian crisis and many more

The Diploma of Veterinary Nursing (Emergency & Critical Care) is delivered entirely by distance education using our online ‘Learning Centre’. This allows you the flexibility to study when it suits your schedule. You won’t need to attend any on-campus classes. We’ve designed the course to fit around your work and lifestyle.

Diploma of Veterinary Nursing (Emergency & Critical Care)

How is the course structured?

Our Diploma of Veterinary Nursing (Emergency & Critical Care) is a ‘taught’ course.

That means we teach you the skills and knowledge required and then you apply that knowledge to your own, real-world cases, rather than just being asked to do a stack of assessments and research.

You’ll still be required to undertake your own research for some assessments. However, we’ll guide you through what you need to know via ‘knowledge checklists,’ set textbooks, and structured self-assessment tasks to ensure you have the required knowledge before completing any exams or assessments.

Our course is divided into three distinct sections:

1. Advanced Nursing Theory

You’ll learn all the vital skills you need to nurse advanced cases, including:

  • Fluid therapy
  • Wound management
  • Pain Management
  • Advanced inpatient care
  • Animal reproduction
  • Advanced anesthetic monitoring.
  • Mentoring and inspiring your team of nurses to deliver great customer service and patient care.

2. Advanced Emergency & Critical Care Nursing

We’ll teach you about the types of emergency and critical cases you can expect when working in an emergency centre, and:

  • Preparing for and responding to emergencies
  • Sustaining life
  • CPR resuscitation
  • Dealing with toxicoses
  • Critical care nursing for a huge range of diseases across all body systems.

3. Case Logs & Practical Skills

You’ll then show off your new knowledge when writing your major case studies. In total, you will complete three major case studies, highlighting your skills and knowledge. These cases will cover a critical care anaesthesic patient, emergency response and resuscitation and a critical care nursing case. Practical skills are covered when you complete technical skill logs, video assessments and fill out nursing case logs.

Veterinary Nurse

Go the next level!


Pay in full and receive a $300 discount, pay only $4499

Veterinary Nurse

Need Interest Free Instalments?

Enrol now and pay a $639 deposit, followed by 16 payments of $260/month.

What will I learn in the Diploma of Veterinary Nursing (Emergency & Critical Care)?

Fluid Therapy

Fluid therapy is an integral part of the modern veterinary clinic. This subject will teach students about the various types of fluids available, their indications and contraindications and how to monitor patients receiving fluid therapy. Students will also learn about osmosis, and how to correctly calculate fluid rates and influencing factors on fluid rates.

Advanced InPatient and Critical Care

This subject follows on from Nursing Patients, and students will learn more advanced nursing skills such as how to map out patient care plans and specific nursing interventions for individual patients. Students also learn about correct urinary catheter care and physiology and anatomy of the urinary system itself. Feeding tube maintenance is also covered along with managing recumbent patients, neonates, blood transfusions, and the provision of oxygen therapy.

Pain Management

Indepth analgesia knowledge and the ability to recognise pain is vital in so many different aspects of veterinary nursing. This subject will teach students about the anatomy and physiology of the nervous system, pain pathways, and the drugs we use to control pain. It will look at recognising pain and pain scoring, and alternative methods of controlling pain in our patients including nursing interventions.

Wound Management

Wound Management is an area that nurses can be actively involved in. This subject starts off with learning about the integument system; it then branches into the physiology of wound healing. Students will learn about different dressings and bandages (both techniques and materials), which to use when, and how to decide on a wound care plan in conjunction with the veterinarian.

Cardiovascular & Respiratory Emergencies

This subject will cover emergency and critical care of patients suffering from diseases of the cardiovascular and respiratory systems. Full of useful reading and learning activities, this will prepare you to nurse these often difficult cases.

Endocrine, Haemolymphatic & Immunologic Emergencies

Often your critical care cases will be suffering from various diseases of the endocrine, haemolymphatic or immunological systems. This subjects supplies you with learning activities and reading to ensure you have a good grasp on some of the commonly seen disease states.

Gastrointestinal, Urogenital & Reproductive Emergencies

From GDV to foreign bodies, blocked cats and dystocia, this subject covers a large range of gastrointestinal, urogenital and reproductive emergencies, preparing for them, and nursing care. Lots of reading and learning activities to assist you. Reproductive emergencies are covered in greater detail in the Animal Reproduction subject.

Neurological, Musculoskeletal & Ocular Emergencies

Neurological, Musculoskeletal & Ocular Emergencies may not be the most common emergencies you will see, but they do involve some intensive nursing. This subject will prepare you for dealing with these cases.

Working Sustainably

This short subject covers the process required to analyse the workplace for environmentally sustainable work practices and how to implement improvements and monitor their effectiveness. This subject is included as part of the government requirements and aims to increase awareness of sustainable work practices.

Managing WHS in the Veterinary Clinic

As a senior nurse, you will be expected to have a role in the management and monitoring of WHS policies and procedures in the clinic. This short subject will take you through the legal requirements and the process of managing WHS from a nursing team point of view. During this subject, you will prepare a report on WHS issues that matter to your clinic.

Managing Your Nursing Team

All senior nurses are required to have some input into the management of the nursing team within their clinic. This subject looks at the essential areas of managing a nursing team including encouraging team cohesiveness, dealing with ‘clinic politics’, nursing care as a customer service product, and hospital rounds as an effective communication tool. We also look at improving on and developing practical gold-standard nursing care protocols, and how to implement these successfully within your clinic and team.

Professional Development & Communication

Veterinary Nursing is a profession that requires constant and ongoing learning to keep your skills and knowledge up to date. This subject looks at the various available options you can access to advance your own skills and knowledge as well as that of your nursing team. As part of this subject we will discuss how you can become actively involved in the veterinary nursing profession and effective communication methods between Veterinary Nurses and other health care professionals.

Advanced Anaesthesia & Analgesia

Having an indepth working knowledge of advanced anaesthesia, analgesia techniques and modalities is essential for any nurse working at the expected level of a Diploma nurse. This subject involves more advanced anaesthetic monitoring equipment such as capnography, ECG, and blood pressure in depth, as well as mechanical ventilation of the patient. Students will learn about the varied effects of drugs on the body, and utilising analgesia as part of their anaesthetic plan. As part of this subject you will develop indepth anaesthesia preparation protocols for your clinic as well as creating staff induction training plans for new staff to ensure they meet your clinic’s high standards of care.

Responding to Emergencies

This subject will teach students about the triage process (both phone and in clinic), primary and secondary surveys, and initial patient stabilisation. Students will also learn about the risks and benefits of telephone advice and when to, or when to not, give it. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation and crash carts are covered in detail, as is the pathophysiology and treatment of shock and post resuscitation care. As part of this subject you will be required to look at your own clinics existing protocols and implement improvements which will include training for the entire veterinary team.


This subject covers toxicoses like snail bait ingestion, chocolate toxicity, snake bites, rodenticides and more. Once again the focus is on the role of the nurse. Learning about how to triage these cases, what to have ready for their arrival, how to assist the vet, treatment options, post treatment monitoring and discharge advice, nurses will finish this subject with a good working knowledge of many of the common toxicoses they will encounter.

Additional Information on the Diploma of Veterinary Nursing (ECC)

Entry Requirements

To be eligible to enrol in the Diploma of Veterinary Nursing (Emergency & Critical Care), you must:

  • Have successfully completed Cert IV in Veterinary Nursing (ACM40412). Students holding older qualifications or overseas qualifications will need to RPL to upgrade their qualification first.
  • Be employed in a veterinary practice that sees a variety of emergency cases and has critical care facilities and equipment:
    • Work a minimum of 15 hours per week on average
    • OR If you hold a casual position at an emergency clinic, fulfil the 15hrs a week at a general practice in addition to casual hours at the emergency clinic.
  • Have suitable post qualification experience with emergency cases

In General Practice?

If you work in a smaller general practice that sees a larger proportion of emergency cases than normal clinics and has the right equipment, we may still accept your application. However, it’s likely you’ll need to undertake several work placements within an emergency centre to complete some sections of the course.

Please note: These work placements must be arranged prior to your officially enrolling on the course. You can still apply and discuss your situation with us before arranging anything.

Students falling under this entry requirement are only accepted on a case-by-case basis. Our Nurse Educators reserve the right to make the final decision as to whether we think you’ll have access to the right caseload to successfully complete the course.

Enrolling is very simple!

  1. Click on ‘Apply Now’.
  2. Fill out the form, it will only take a couple of minutes. Have proof of employment and a copy of your Cert IV ready.
  3. Once we assess your application and verify your eligibility, you will receive confirmation via email (allow a few days).
  4. You will then receive an enrolment package via email/post.
  5. Fill out the enrolment and payment forms, and send it all back in to us.

Once your enrolment and payment has been processed, you will receive an email from us with all the information you need to access the Learning Centre and get started.


Diploma of Veterinary Nursing (Emergency & Critical Care)

Veterinary Nurse

To apply you need:

– Transcripts of ACM40412

– Proof of employment

$4799, all inclusive including thorough printed Learner’s Guides.

Pay in full and receive a $300 discount, pay only $4499.00

Need Instalments?

Enrol now and pay a $639 deposit, with easy monthly payments of $260 for 16 months.

Please budget approximately $200 to $400 for additional textbooks, although many will already be on your clinic shelves, saving you money.

The Diploma of Veterinary Nursing (Emergency & Critical Care) is completed over 18 months. Students utilising work placements may need to allow up to two years to complete all the practical components. This is allowed for at no extra charge.

Graduates of the ACVN Certificate IV in Veterinary Nursing will receive a lower course fee due to internal credits for subjects already studied.

Important notes on Instalment Plans:

  1. Even if you have completed your studies, you’ll not receive your certificate until you’ve paid for your course in full.
  2. You are also responsible for paying the entire course cost, even if you decide to not complete the full course.
  3. Instalments will start from the month your course commences. Payments are by direct debit from a credit card or Australia bank account only, and to make your life easier, you can elect to pay monthly if you prefer.
  4. If you fall behind in your instalments by more than 14 days without arranging an alternative payment, you may be withdrawn from the course. So it’s important to contact us if you are struggling.
  5. International students are not eligible for instalments.
Please note:
All prices include resource fees, tuition, and administration fees. Additional fees may apply if you do not pass a subject, you need to re-enrol in a subject for any reason, or you extend your enrolment period.

Is there government funding for this course?

Unfortunately there is no government funding for this Diploma.

You can start your Diploma any time!

  • You can secure your place by enrolling and sending us your first payment.
  • You will be given 18 months to complete your course, and if you need more time, that’s ok! Arranging an enrolment extension is easy, however be aware that it attracts a fee.

ACM50412 Diploma of Veterinary Nursing (Emergency & Critical Care)

For this qualification to be awarded, you must complete seven units of competency.

The core units you will cover within your subjects are:-

  • ACMVET505A Prepare for emergency response
  • ACMVET506A Perform emergency procedures to sustain life
  • ACMVET507A Provide nursing support for critical care surgery
  • ACMSUS301A Implement and monitor environmentally sustainable work practices
  • ACMVET508A Support veterinary practice communication and professional development
  • ACMWHS501A Manage workplace health and safety processes
  • BSBCUS501C Manage quality customer service
  • BSBWOR502B Ensure team effectiveness

Why can’t I undertake the Diploma if I am working in a normal veterinary clinic?

The Diploma of Veterinary Nursing (Emergency & Critical Care) is extremely complex. It requires access and exposure to an extensive range of emergency and critical care cases, including:


  • Toxicoses
  • Diseases of all the body systems
  • Triage and Primary Surveys performed by nurses
  • Involvement in CPR and sustaining life regularly
  • Critical care nursing and monitoring, and
  • Advanced anaesthetic monitoring.


It also requires access to a veterinary clinic or hospital where there is a high emergency and critical care case load and you can access the equipment, instruments and resources required by the training package rules.

The above necessitates set criteria about who can undertake the course. You will need access to the right caseload to fully understand the course and complete the necessary assessments.

If you’re currently part of a general practice that has more emergency and critical care cases than normal clinics and has the right equipment, we may still accept your application. However, it’s likely you’ll need to undertake several work placements within aan emergency centre to complete sections of the course.

Students will be accepted on a case-by-case basis – we will discuss this with you when reviewing your application.

Will my previous experience or study count?

We can take into account the knowledge and skills you’ve already gained through your previous education and work, including:
<li>Formal or informal training</li>
<li>Paid or unpaid work experience</li>
<li>Credit if your work is relevant to the course.</li>
Please speak to us to gain recognition for your previous studies and work skills.
Your previous studies may also count as credits towards your new qualification. If so, you’ll be entitled to a lower course fee (depending on units of competency completed).

To claim a credit transfer, please include transcripts of your previous qualifications with your application form. We will then advise you of any adjustments to your course fee. Certified copies will need to be supplied when you enroll for the credits to be officially granted.

How long will the course take, and how much study will I need to do?

You will have 18 months to complete the course in. For some students, we may allow 2 years where work experience will need to be coordinated.

Generally, you will need to dedicate approximately 10 hours per week to your studies, completing assessments and undertaking the required reading.

Please note: Additional fees apply if you want to extend your study beyond your original enrollment period.

How is the course delivered?

The course is delivered entirely by distance education using our online ‘Learning Centre’.

This allows you the flexibility to study when it suits your schedule. You won’t need to attend any on-campus classes. We’ve designed the course to fit around your work and lifestyle. Many of our students work full time in addition to their study.

Once the course starts, you’ll receive printed learner’s guides, which will guide you through your studies and prepare you for assessments. You’ll also have access to the extra study resources available via our ‘Learning Centre’ online. You can submit assignments through this portal, too.

Each subject contains various assessment tasks:
<li>Expect to complete written assessments like assignments, case studies, projects, and reports.</li>
<li>Multiple choice questions are in our learning activities so you can check your learning as you progress through the course.</li>
<li>Workplace-based assessments for practical skills will be completed at the clinic in which you work or at your placement clinic. These will include completing skills log books and some video assessments. Don’t stress, we provide full instructions for the video assessments so you know what to include.</li>
<li>On average, expect to submit one short assessment task each week to keep on track.</li>

Do you take international students?

Yes! We welcome international students! You will still need to meet the same entry requirements. This generally means you will have to complete the Cert IV via RPL frst.

As an international student, instalment plans are not available. You will be required to pay the full course fee prior to starting. We also do not offer the pay in full discount to international students however we do not charge you extra for resources to be sent to you, or for bank fees.

It is your responsibility to ensure that you can legally perform the practical tasks required in your country. In some countries, like the UK, it is illegal for a non-qualified person to perform some of the practical skills necessary to complete the course. Check with your local veterinary surgeons board.

If you are completing placement, you will also need to arrange your own insurance and provide evidence of this to us.

I have credits from other qualifications or study. What do I do?

If you have completed units of competency elsewhere relevant to your Diploma of Veterinary Nursing, we will apply these credit transfers to your course.

You will not be required to pay for enrolment in these units. However some of our subjects cover more than one unit of competency, so you may find you’ll need to pay for and complete an associated subject.

It’s vital you supply us with a copy of your transcript as part of your application. This will allow us to give you an accurate price and tell you exactly what units and subjects you’ll need to complete. A certified copy of the transcript must be supplied with your enrolment for the credits to be applied.