It is veterinary nurse month!
Rumour has it we are professional puppy cuddlers! Alas, this is not true! However, we will always comfort your pets as well as the many tasks we are trained to do.
You have probably seen us walking by in the practice, assisting the vet with a consult, or met us in the consulting room while we vaccinate your puppy or apply flea treatment. But who are we, what do we do and how do you become one of us? And the even bigger question why do we deserve a month dedicated all for ourselves!!!!
A veterinary nurse works as a member of the veterinary team, providing expert nursing care for sick animals.
But what does that mean? As nurses we carry out all different types of technical work; a range of diagnostic tests (lab work, x-rays), medical treatment such as vaccinating, taking bloods, putting your pet on a fluid drip, preparing patients for surgery, after care, puppy parties, weight clinics, etc.
Veterinary nurses also play a significant role in educating owners on maintaining the health of their pets. Registered veterinary nurses wear a badge to show they are part of the RCVS (Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons).
Here at The Oak only registered veterinary nurses or nurses in formal training will undergo nursing duties so you can be assured your pet is in safe hands!
There are two ways to becoming a qualified veterinary nurse, either via vocational training or via a higher education qualification. Both routes lead to registration as a veterinary nurse and we currently have two vet nurse students training with us!
If you are practically minded then the vocational training is the way to go for you. Kim is one of our student nurses that is being trained that way. Kim started as an animal care assistant and is eager to join the team of qualified nurses.
So what does she have to do to become one of us?
Firstly fulfil entry requirements to be accepted onto the course, and then enrol as a student veterinary nurse with the RCVS. You would attend college-based study for a minimum of 22 weeks - over 2 years, completing a minimum of 60 full time weeks of practical experience at RCVS registered training practice as well as compiling an electronic nursing progress log (NPL). This log provides a complete record of clinical skills you learned throughout training. Throughout her training Kim has to pass written multiple choice exam questions, complete coursework and eventually pass practical exams.
Grace is our other student nurse who has been helping us out over the last year. Grace has chosen the other route, went to university and is doing her practical training this year with us. In the end she will qualify with a Bachelors degree in veterinary nursing.
What does she have to do before become a qualified veterinary nurse? Again she must fulfil entry requirements to be accepted onto course and then she completes a 3 or 4 year full time degree course including a 1 year placement at a RCVS registered training practice. Throughout this she also has to compile an electronic nursing progress log (NPL). This log provides a complete record of clinical skills you learned throughout training. She must also successfully complete: written coursework, tests, essays; written examination; practical examination; projects and presentation work.
So, when you read this, I hope you understand that while we love to cuddle your pooches and kitties there is a lot more to the job. We are proud to be part of the veterinary team at The Oak, helping your pets to stay healthy and also helping them when they feel under the weather.