ACM50212 Diploma of Veterinary Nursing

If you’re a qualified vet nurse who enjoys assisting with surgery, our Diploma of Veterinary Nursing (Surgical) allows you to specialise and grow your surgical technical skills and nursing knowledge.

The Diploma of Veterinary Nursing (Surgical) ensures you’re well equipped to work within a specialist or referral centre or university vet hospital, supporting registered specialist veterinary surgeons and nursing advanced surgical cases. We also accept nurses from general practice where a veterinary surgeon performs non-routine cases regularly and the clinic is well equipped. This course is perfect for ensuring you are delivering the best patient care you can and your team is practicing a high level of nursing.

Diploma of Veterinary Nursing (Surgical)

Studying our Diploma of Veterinary Nursing (Surgical) means you can expect to assist with:

  • Neurosurgical and thoracotomy patients
  • Advanced orthopaedic procedures
  • Complicated wound care
  • Physical therapy and rehabilitation

Some of the duties you’ll perform include:

  • Advanced anaesthetic monitoring.
  • Scrubbing in to assist with surgical procedures.
  • Nursing cases with feeding tubes, chest drains, etc.
  • Developing nursing care and physical therapy plans.
  • Mentoring teams of nurses working with you.

Nationally Recognised Training

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

The Diploma of Veterinary Nursing (Surgical) is delivered entirely by correspondence using our online ‘Learning Centre’ and printed learner’s guides. We know you need flexibility to fit your study in around your surgical shifts.

Using all the cool surgical procedures you are involved in at your clinic as a base, you can complete the practical components at work. No campus to attend, unless you want to come and hang out with our Nurse Educators at our optional practical skills workshops around the country.

Diploma of Veterinary Nursing (Surgical)

How is the course structured?

Our Diploma of Veterinary Nursing (Surgical) 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
  • Physical therapy techniques
  • Advanced inpatient care
  • Pain management
  • Workplace sustainability and managing OH&S within the vet clinic
  • Advanced anaesthesia monitoring
  • Advanced instrumentation, and
  • Mentoring and inspiring your team of nurses to deliver great customer service and patient care.

2. Advanced Surgical Nursing

We’ll teach you about the types of surgical cases and procedures you can expect when assisting a registered specialist veterinary surgeon, including:

  • Being a scrubbed surgical assistant
  • Soft tissue surgery
  • Orthopaedic surgery
  • Thoracic surgery
  • Neurosurgical cases.

3. Case Logs & Practical Skills

You’ll then put this knowledge into practice in your real-world cases. You’ll need to complete a range of case studies (in conjunction with section 2), complete technical skill logs, and fill out nursing case logs.


Surgical Nurse Extraordinaire!

$4599, or pay in full and receive $300 off – pay only $4299

Apply Now

Need Interest Free Instalments?

You’re welcome to pay by instalments.  Enrol now with a $699 Deposit and 15 monthly payments of $260.00

What will I learn in the Diploma of Veterinary Nursing (Surgical)?

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.

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.

Scrubbed Surgical Assistance

This quick subject will take you through the correct procedures for scrubbing in to assist with surgery. From proper scrubbing techniques and gloving and gowning, to acting as an assistant and handling instruments and tissues correctly.

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

This quick subject will take you through the correct procedures for scrubbing in to assist with surgery. From proper scrubbing techniques and gloving and gowning, to acting as an assistant and handling instruments and tissues correctly.

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.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy is an essential part of the post op recovery period and an area of care where nurses can be actively involved. Providing physical therapy is a great way to improve owner compliance with post op care, and allow regular contact with the clinic to monitor the patient’s progress. This subject will prepare students to discuss physical therapy with clients, devise routines they can follow, and recognise when to refer to a Veterinary Physiotherapist. It also covers techniques they can implement in clinic to help speed up the recovery of the post op patient. This subject will also teach students about the various muscles and muscle groups.

Orthopaedic Surgical Nursing

Orthopaedic cases form a large part of any surgeons case load, and nursing these patients has their own challenges. Students will learn about various orthopaedic cases including internal and external fracture fixation methods, corrective operations like Tibial Plateau Leveling Operation (TPLO), ulna osteotomies, total hip replacements and much more. For each procedure covered, students will learn what is involved in the procedure, patient preparation, assisting in surgery, instrumentation required, and how to nurse the cases post-operatively including physical therapy suitable for these cases.

Soft Tissue Surgical Nursing

Similar in structure to orthopaedic nursing, this subject will look at various soft tissue procedures and what is involved in the procedure, patient preparation, assisting in surgery, instrumentation required, and how to nurse the cases post-operatively. Procedures covered include cystotomy, enterotomy, mast cell tumor removal, various -pexy procedures, shunt related procedures and large wound reconstructive surgeries. Students will also learn about ophthalmic nursing.

Thoracic Surgical Nursing

Once again following the same overall layout as orthopaedic and soft tissue nursing, this subject looks at thoracic surgeries like lung lobectomies, PDA ligations, chest wall resections, and oesophageal foreign body removal when the thoracic cavity needs to be opened.

Neurosurgical Nursing

The final subject of the surgical Diploma looks at neurosurgical procedures like the various laminectomies for intraverterbral disc disease and spine stabilisation for conditions like Cervical Vertebral Instability. A large portion of this subject is aimed at the post operative rehabilitation of these patients and their special requirements.

Additional Information on the Diploma of Veterinary Nursing (Surgical)

Entry Requirements

To be eligible to enrol in the Diploma of Veterinary Nursing (Surgical) course, 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 for a minimum of 15 hrs a week that:
  • Has a registered specialist Veterinary Surgeon either employed, or on a regular visitation schedule
  • OR Is a large general practice clinic that sees referral cases and has the right equipment to complete the majority of the course. You’ll be required to undertake work placements with a registered specialist Veterinary Surgeon to complete some parts of the course before being able to graduate.
  • Have suitable post qualification experience with surgical cases.

In General Practice?

If you work in a smaller general practice that has a more advanced surgical cases than normal general practice clinics and have the right equipment, we may still accept your application. However, it’s likely you’ll need to undertake several work placements within a specialist 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 (Surgical)

Veterinary Nurse

To apply you need:

– Transcripts of ACM40412

– Proof of employment

Is there government funding for this course?

Unfortunately there is no government funding for this Diploma.

$4599, all inclusive including thorough printed Learner’s Guides.

Pay in full and receive a $300 discount, pay only $4299

You’re welcome to pay by instalments, enrol now with a $699 deposit, followed by 15 monthly payments of $260.00

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 (Surgical) 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.

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.

ACM50212 Diploma of Veterinary Nursing (Surgical)

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

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

  • ACMSUS301A Implement and monitor environmentally sustainable work practices
  • ACMVET501A Manage nursing requirements for specialised surgical procedures
  • ACMVET502A Carry out post-operative nursing routines
  • 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 (Surgical) is extremely complex. It requires access and exposure to an extensive range of specialised surgical procedures, including:

  • Intrathoracic
  • Internal fixation
  • External fixation
  • Soft tissue
  • Ophthalmic
  • Skin grafting
  • Oncological surgery
  • Advanced corrective orthopaedics
  • Advanced anaesthetic monitoring.

It also requires access to a veterinary clinic or hospital where specialised surgical procedures are performed 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 sees more advanced surgical 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 a specialist 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:

  • Formal or informal training
  • Paid or unpaid work experience
  • Credit if your work is relevant to the course.

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:

  • Expect to complete written assessments like assignments, case studies, projects, and reports.
  • Multiple choice questions are in our learning activities so you can check your learning as you progress through the course.
  • 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.
  • On average, expect to submit one short assessment task each week to keep on track.

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.