Posted By: Emma Maguire Veterinary Nurse

What is a Veterinary Nurse?

It’s May, so welcome to National Veterinary Nursing Awareness Month!

 I am proud to be a Registered and listed Veterinary Nurse and have worked in practice for over 30 years. I was recently taken aback to discover that (according to a British Veterinary Association survey) some 57% of people don’t know what a Veterinary Nurse does. That will never do!

We are a dedicated team with a passion for pets. Our job is certainly never dull. We work long and sometimes anti social hours alongside our vets. We are, as a profession, predominantly female and I can say with confidence that I continue to learn something new every day.

Our early theatre shift may comprise of preparing drapes, gowns and instruments, setting up the anaesthetic equipment, taking blood and urine samples, drawing up medications or “scrubbing up”(a seriously rigorous hand wash) to assist with some surgery.

 Our wards nurses will be busy caring for our hospitalised patients and welcoming our ops for the day.  This can be a lengthy process involving observing, monitoring and recording. However there is plenty of time for feeding, grooming and lots of cuddles to help our patients feel relaxed and happy.

The dispensary is a busy place and the nurse’s role there is a vital one. Dispensing medication, as prescribed by the vet and advising owners on how best to dose their pet, falls into the remit of the Veterinary Nurse. Attention to detail is crucial whilst dealing with stock levels and rotation, ensuring drugs are stored correctly and handled safely.

Personally, I am at my happiest in the consulting room. Here we examine wounds, change dressings, remove sutures, give medication, insert microchips, clip nails and assess dental health. We run diabetic and weight management clinics and offer advice from puppy and kitten hood through adolescent challenges and into the senior years. We can help with guidance on feeding, behaviour, parasite prevention and vaccinations. We even run a “Travelling with your Pet” clinic and a very popular Puppy Preschool!

If I have inspired you (and I do hope so!) to think about a career in Veterinary Nursing you will find all the details you need at  If you do get the opportunity to complete some work experience, my advice would be -  ask questions, get involved and above all be cool with bodily fluids... Inevitably there will be kennels to clean, kits to scrub and floors to wash but there are also moments of absolute joy when a poorly cat starts to eat or a dog with a fractured leg takes his first tentative steps. J



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