Veterinary nurses play a very important role in the veterinary practice working alongside us vets in the background to provide care for sick and injured animals.
May is Veterinary Nursing Awareness month and so we thought we would take the opportunity to celebrate our nurses and let you have an insight into all the wonderful work our veterinary nurses and nursing assistants do at St Vincents.
Veterinary nurses can be trained at college or at Universities approved by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons.
Our nurse Emma completed a four-year degree in Veterinary Nursing at the University of Bristol.
Claire carried out her training part-time in practice and at college as part of an intensive programme that took two years. Once nurses have completed these courses they become a ‘registered veterinary nurse’ or RVN.
Veterinary nursing is a very challenging but rewarding job. One of the main roles in practice is looking after in-patients. This can involve giving medications, bandaging, taking blood tests, placing intravenous catheters and comforting patients.
A significant part of the RVN’s role is monitoring patient anaesthesia throughout an operation. Nurses can also carry out minor procedures such as suturing or dental scale and polishing and are trained to take X-rays to assist us vets.
It is likely that many of you may have encountered their lovely smiley faces at nurse clinics. This may be at a discharge after an operation, post-operative checks, weight clinics, bandage changes or socialisation visits.
Our nursing assistant Goulla works closely with the RVNs.
Her role can involve helping to hold the animals for examination, exercising, feeding and helping to process the in house laboratory blood and urine samples. It’s safe to say her favourite part of the job is cuddling the animals!
Our nurses work incredibly hard and although there are so many benefits to the job, there are a few downs.
The job is very physically demanding and they are on their feet all day.
They also often have to have a strong stomach for many unpleasant sights and smells.
Without doubt the hardest part is helping us say goodbye to our beloved pets, and something that never gets easier for any of us.
We are always incredibly grateful for our fantastic nurses and we couldn’t carry out all our good work without them. If you have any questions about becoming a veterinary nurse please feel free to contact us here at St Vincent’s.
Katie Love is a veterinary surgeon at St Vincents Veterinary Surgery, an independent practice offering personal care for all your pets. Katie has a keen interest in feline medicine and can be contacted at the surgery if you have any concerns about your pet’s health.