veterinary nursing


Stepping stones to a rewarding career

Career pathways in veterinary nursing

Veterinary nurses work in city and rural areas and care for large and small animals including exotic species and wildlife. These positions require a wide range of skills and abilities.

On any given day you might have to use your skills as a veterinary nurse or provide grief support. Or you may have to clean cages or carry out book-keeping or business management activities.

From the day you enter a veterinary practice as a work experience student – to the time when you become a fully qualified veterinary nurse, there are qualifications and training resources available to suit your needs.

The national training qualifications mean that your abilities are recognised anywhere in Australia at the level you work. You can get these qualifications by having your competence recognised in the workplace. Specifications for competence at the various levels are given in the Veterinary Nursing Training Package materials.

Veterinary nursing is a very popular career and when a position comes available the employer usually fills the job from the files of resumes or by word of mouth.

Jobs and qualifications

Starting out in the industry Certificate I or II in Animal Studies »
Qualified Veterinary Nurse Certificate IV in Veterinary Nursing »
Specialised Veterinary Nursing Diploma in Veterinary Nursing (General Practice) »
Nursing Manager No specified national qualification
Nursing Director No specified national qualification
Starting out in the industry

Assisting in the veterinary clinic as part of secondary school work experience program or perhaps at weekends is, for many, the beginning of a career in veterinary nursing. Duties under direct supervision usually include clinic hygiene and animal care, minor reception duties and operating equipment.

Qualified Veterinary Nurse

A qualified veterinary nurse will be called upon to perform a wide range of veterinarian support and animal care operations, including conduct of the total clinic operation, operating a wide range of clinic equipment and assisting the veterinarian in the provision of a range of animal care procedures.

Specialised Veterinary Nursing

Following the qualification as a veterinary nurse, there are then options to specialise in one of three areas: veterinary dental nursing, veterinary surgical nursing or veterinary critical care and emergency. Activities may include supervising animal emergency activities, surgical procedure support, staff supervision and patient management.

Nursing Manager

The veterinary nursing manager will have significant responsibilities in managing veterinary clinic activities. This will include management planning and implementation, clinic operations management, staff management and training and business planning and operations.

Nursing Director

Next to the veterinarian, the veterinary nursing director has the primary responsibility to ensure that the veterinary enterprise and total clinic operation are successfully managed. Responsibilities will include practice management, managing personnel and training, clinic operations management, clinic promotion and marketing and strategic planning.