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St Anne's Veterinary Group Blog
Veterinary Nurse Awareness Month occurs in the month of May, this is just to highlight the amount of things that Vet Nurses do in their day to day job. It’s probably one of the most versatile jobs out there and there are definitely no two days the same. There are now two different routes to become a Veterinary Nurse, there is the apprenticeship in a training practice like St. Anne’s where you go to college on day release and complete a portfolio of cases that you see in practice. And have to take regular theory and practical examinations which have to be passed to get the qualification. The second route is the Veterinary Nursing degree where students study at university and have a block period in practice. St. Anne’s has been a training practice for many years and our student nurses uphold our high standards and levels of care.
Once qualified most nurses are put on the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons register. This allows VN’s to do what is known as Schedule 3 things such as small lump removals, taking blood, putting cannulas into patients and so much more. Being on the register means we have to be regulated and have to complete 45 hours of CPD (continued professional development) over a 3 year period, although most VN’s do much more. This is to ensure that we keep up to date with the most efficient methods and in-keeping with recent research. Things are constantly changing as we get better equipment and find quicker and more efficient ways to treat your pets.
Many people aren’t aware of how many different roles VN’s have to take on, here are some of them:
-Consultations- Nurses run clinics for a variety of things, nutrition, weight management, suture removal, wound management and dressing changes, behaviour, puppy and kitten growth checks, senior checks, nail clips, microchipping, taking blood, post op checks, dental checks, medicating animals, diabetes checks and getting owners comfortable with injecting insulin and there’s more!
-Phlebotomist- VN’s take blood from various blood vessels according to how much they need and how comfortable the animal is with having it taken and being held.
-Radiographer- VN’s regularly take x-rays ready for the Vet to interpret, wether the patient is anaesthetised, sedated or calmly comforting them whilst taking them consciously.
-Anaesthetist- We have to monitor anaesthetics, making sure the patient is kept stable and on the right plane of anaesthesia for the procedure taking place. We have equipment to assist our monitoring but nothing replaces the most reliable monitor – US! We have a separate theatre nurse who preps the animal for the surgery leaving the anaesthesia nurse to merely concentrate on the patient’s vitals. Having this extra person means the nurse isn’t trying to do two things at once and doesn’t disturb their concentration.
-Surgical assistant- VN’s regularly have to scrub in to assist the Vet in surgery when they need a helping hand. We can also suture wounds and perform small lump removals.
-Diagnostic tests- We often do blood pressure monitoring and ECG’s to get results for our Vets.
-Lab technician- We are trained in running blood and urine tests in house, identifying cells and crystals under the microscope along with skin cells and parasites too. Our findings are then given to the Vet for treatment.
-Infection control- Nurses are trained in inflectional control and making sure the environment we work in is as sterile and bacteria free as possible.
-General nursing- There is so much that nurses have to do to care for their patients, monitoring fluid therapy, feeding, syringe feeding, giving oxygen, monitoring of vital signs, comforting and giving the animals love as they are away from their owners and often need time just to stroke and cuddle them.
Veterinary Nursing, is a career and not a job, you have to be passionate and caring in order to be a good nurse. Team work is imperative when working so closely with others and we certainly have that at St. Anne’s. We’re often texting the nurses who are on duty to find out how our patients are doing, just because we’ve gone home it doesn’t mean we’ve forgotten the animals we have been caring for. And I think it is things like that that make us special here at St. Anne’s!
Author: Menna Field RVN MBVNABlog topics