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Veterinary Nursing with Foundation Year BSc

Learn about the course below
October 2024
4 years full-time
£9,250 (UK)*
£16,600 (INT)*
Course leader
Charlotte French

Veterinary nurses work alongside veterinary surgeons providing nursing care to a variety of animals and making a real difference to the lives of animals and pets. Currently, there is a nationwide shortage of qualified veterinary nurses so job prospects upon graduation are excellent. This course will give you the skills and knowledge to be successful in this field and apply for entry on the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) Register of Veterinary Nurses.

Why study BSc Veterinary Nursing with Foundation Year at Middlesex University?

This course offers an alternative entry pathway onto the BSc Veterinary Nursing for those who do not meet the necessary entry requirements or are not quite ready to undertake degree level study. The foundation year introduces key veterinary nursing topics as well as preparing you to study at degree level. Those who successfully pass the foundation year will continue onto the BSc Veterinary Nursing programme. You could then even continue into postgraduate study with courses such as veterinary physiotherapy.

This programme has direct accreditation from the RCVS meaning that you will be able to apply for professional registration without the need for further assessment. It is by means of RCVS registration that veterinary nurses achieve their highly valued professional status.

Course highlights

  • Clinical work placements in veterinary practice will be arranged for you by the Placement Liaison Team
  • Upon graduation, you will be able to apply to join the RCVS Register of Veterinary Nurses and use the post nominal letters RVN
  • You will be able to use an online Virtual Learning Environment and eLibrary, allowing you to access course materials and books 24/7
  • The programme is run in collaboration with The College of Animal Welfare (CAW) at its education and training centre near Huntingdon (Cambridgeshire).

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What will you study on BSc Veterinary Nursing with Foundation Year?

During the foundation year you will look at key veterinary nursing topics whilst developing your study skills. Continuing into the BSc degree you will study the practices and principles of veterinary nursing to prepare you for professional registration through both classroom study and clinical work placement.

What will you gain?

As well as gaining veterinary nursing knowledge and skills through extensive clinical placement in veterinary practice, you will also have the confidence and skills to make professional decisions and be able to work both independently and as part of a close knit team as necessary.


  • Foundation year - Compulsory

    • Essentials for Learning (30 credits)

      This module aims to prepare you for undergraduate study on your chosen veterinary nursing programme, equipping you with the necessary soft skills and study skills to enable a smooth transition to study at level 4. The module principally aims to address the core subjects of: English and academic writing; use of number and applied mathematics; and Information Communication Technology (ICT).

    • Fundamentals of Animal Health (30 credits)

      Within this module you will gain a basic overview of what it means to join the veterinary nursing profession alongside essential basics of health, disease, behaviour and welfare. You'll gain a good grounding in animal health and care relevant to veterinary nursing in preparation for continued study on undergraduate veterinary nursing programmes.

    • Introduction to Animal Science (30 credits)

      This module explores the fundamental principles and concepts in animal anatomy, principles of genetics and basic laboratory skills in preparation for future study on veterinary nursing undergraduate programmes.

    • Applied Research (30 credits)

      You will engage in a research project specific to the veterinary nursing sector and apply the knowledge and understanding gained within the other three modules of this foundation programme. Additionally, the module provides an opportunity to develop the soft skills and employability skills that are vital to continuation on to the veterinary nursing degree and within the veterinary nursing profession post-qualification.

  • Year 1 - Compulsory

    • Introduction to Professional Issues (30 credits)

      This module aims to provide you with theoretical underpinning knowledge of the Code of Professional Conduct for Veterinary Nurses. In order to prepare for professional practice; accountability, communication skills, study skills and team working are the basis for the module. Through the use of case studies and scenarios, there will be exploration of the issues surrounding ethical and legal aspects of veterinary nursing practice. An insight into professional regulation, duty of care and negligence will also be gained.

    • Applied Functional Anatomy (30 credits)

      This module will provide you with theoretical knowledge of the normal structure and function of major body systems in a range of animals. This will provide a framework for clinical assessment of patients and ensure good nursing practice. You will be able to utilise and build upon this knowledge in placement and subsequent modules.

    • Working in a Veterinary Environment (30 credits)

      This module is a practice-based module, which is delivered via e-learning and application in practice. It will introduce the principles of veterinary practice and support you in developing competence and confidence in practice. You must participate in all activities and you need to employ time management skills during the practice day and in your own time, to complete this work effectively.

    • Introduction to Nursing Care (30 credits)

      This module provides you with the theoretical underpinning knowledge related to the care of patients in the veterinary environment. The role of the veterinary nurse in practice will be discussed, incorporating patient assessment, the provision of accommodation, nutrition and the administration of medication. You will gain practical skills that will be required for practical placements in veterinary practice.

  • Year 2 - Compulsory

    • Clinical Nursing (30 credits)

      This module aims to build upon the Basic Nursing Care module taught in the first year. You will learn more specialised techniques in nursing and will also develop skills in helping to support clients in caring for their unwell pets.

    • Appraising and Using Evidence for Practice (30 credits)

      The focus of this module is to facilitate the development of skills in research critically and appraisal of evidence using a team based learning approach. The module aims to enable you to: use the knowledge and skills acquired to effectively engage with evidential literature; evaluate the quality of its evidence; apply concepts to theoretical contexts - particularly to the year three dissertation and to practice contexts and facilitate the use of evidence to support problem solving and decision making through effective team working.

    • Theatre Practice (30 credits)

      The aim of this module is to teach the principles of theatre practice in a practical context, using the NPL as a tool for recording competence. A range of resources will be provided online to assist with your knowledge. Participation in all activities is compulsory and time should be allocated during the day and in your own time, to complete this work. You will undertake two blocks of practice experience, one 10 weeks long and the other 14 weeks, totalling 24 weeks in practice.

    • Pathology for Veterinary Nurses (30 credits)

      This module provides you with an understanding of pathological processes which occur within the body following injury or illness and to inform planning and assessment of patient care. You will be able to build on knowledge gained in the first year and in placement to evaluate the nursing needs of individual patients.

  • Year 3 - Compulsory

    • Pharmacology for Veterinary Nurses (30 credits)

      The aim of this module is to build on knowledge gained throughout the programme in order to develop an understanding of some basic pharmacological principles and their application to patient care. In addition, to facilitate the acquisition of relevant practical skills in order to produce practitioners who are safe and competent in the administration of drugs.

    • Dissertation and Professional Practice (30 credits)

      This module aims to synthesise your learning, providing an opportunity for you to study independently and investigate a topic in depth. It fosters academic curiosity, an inquiry based approach, and the employment and application of research skills thus facilitating the development of a higher level of theorising. You will select a topic of personal interest you wish to study further and will manage your own learning during this module, with the support of an allocated supervisor for this period of independent study.

    • Principles of Imaging and Anaesthesia (30 credits)

      This module enables you to build on current knowledge, skills and experience within the surgical area. The module will cover surgical nursing, anaesthesia, radiography and triage. The module will incorporate the relevant sections of the RCVS Veterinary Nursing Day-One Skills. You will undertake one block of 14 weeks practice experience.

  • Year 3 - Optional (take one of the following)

    • Veterinary Education and Professional Development (30 credits)

      This elective module equips you with the tools to coach, mentor and teach others within a veterinary context. You'll explore learning theory and teaching methods alongside learning the skills needed in order to plan and deliver a teaching session and act as coach in a veterinary practice setting.

    • Equine Nursing (30 credits)

      This elective module provides the necessary understanding and experience required for nursing in equine practice or other areas of equine work. Horses are uniquely susceptible to a variety of illnesses and injuries that require skilled nursing management. Working with horses requires specific skills in restraint, handling and management. An insight into the equine industry and people involved at various levels will also be approached.

    • Companion Animal Behaviour and Training (30 credits)

      The aim of this elective module is to equip you with the necessary knowledge and skills required for the understanding of behavioural problems presented to the typical small animal veterinary practice.

    • Nursing Exotics and Wildlife (30 credits)

      This elective module analyses the concepts of housing, handling, husbandry and environment of exotics and wildlife to include 10 of each species such as birds, reptiles and mammals. It will equip you with the necessary knowledge, skills and experience required for nursing wildlife and exotics. Working with wildlife requires specific skills in restraint, handling and management whilst working within the constraints of legal requirements.

    • Management and Business (30 credits)

      The aims of this elective module are to enable you to play a key role through a process of critical reflection and planned action in developing managerial competence within the veterinary practice. These aims will be achieved through the establishment, maintenance and improvement of the quality of veterinary nursing you provide, the use of a problem-solving approach for effective nursing management and leadership, and through the awareness, control and monitoring of the use of appropriate veterinary care resources for quality and effective nursing management.

    • International Veterinary Nursing (30 credits)

      The module promotes a greater awareness of the influence and impact of culture and global issues on veterinary health and veterinary nursing. You'll gain experiential learning through an international placement and be able to consolidate, and extend a systematic and coherent body of knowledge gained throughout the programme. Areas of focus will be personal relationships, adaptability, ability to take responsibility, interest, knowledge/cognitive ability, skill and efficiency.

    • Applied Emergency and Critical Care (30 credits)

      This module will give you the knowledge and skills you need to work effectively with a range of emergency and critical care veterinary patients. In addition to this, you'll also be able to develop evidence-based nursing care strategies, using nursing models and frameworks to recognise, assess and successfully manage emergency and critically ill patients.

More information about this course

See the course specification for more information about typical course content outside of the coronavirus outbreak:

Optional modules are usually available at levels 5 and 6, although optional modules are not offered on every course. Where optional modules are available, you will be asked to make your choice during the previous academic year. If we have insufficient numbers of students interested in an optional module, or there are staffing changes which affect the teaching, it may not be offered. If an optional module will not run, we will advise you after the module selection period when numbers are confirmed, or at the earliest time that the programme team make the decision not to run the module, and help you choose an alternative module.

  1. Overview
  2. Campuses
  1. Standard entry requirements
  2. International
  3. How to apply
  1. UK
  2. International
  3. Additional costs

How can the BSc Veterinary Nursing with Foundation Year support your career?

There is a UK nationwide shortage of registered veterinary nurses meaning the profession offers excellent career prospects within veterinary practice and the wider industry.

Veterinary nurses are respected throughout the animal welfare sector. Although many veterinary nurses are employed in general veterinary practice, others work in referral centres, universities, colleges, zoological/wildlife parks, charities and for pharmaceutical companies.

Post-graduation opportunities, with further training, exist in areas such as research, veterinary physiotherapy and animal behaviour.

Head of Veterinary Studies

Dr De Franco qualified as a Vet from the University of Glasgow and worked for many years in Small Animal practice. She has been lecturing at The College of Animal Welfare since 2010 and has been involved in many aspects of work there. She is on the BSAVA Education Committee and has also worked as a technical consultant for Awarding Bodies. Her MSc in Educational Leadership involved lots of research on veterinary nurse training so she is always keen to explore ways of improving things.

Claire Defries
Programme Leader (London campus)

Claire Defries qualified as a Veterinary Nurse in 2001 and developed interests in endoscopy, laparoscopic procedures and anaesthesia. She gained a Diploma in Advanced Veterinary Nursing (Medical) whilst working in a university referral hospital where she coordinated all of the diagnostic areas of the hospital. Claire also worked as a head nurse in a North London hospital before moving into teaching. When Claire is not teaching she is also working as a locum registered veterinary nurse, which helps her keep up to date with current advances in clinical practice.  She has lectured at BSAVA, BVNA and AVSPNI conferences on various clinical and educational topics within the profession.

We’ll carefully manage any future changes to courses, or the support and other services available to you, if these are necessary because of things like changes to government health and safety advice, or any changes to the law.

Any decisions will be taken in line with both external advice and the University’s Regulations which include information on this.

Our priority will always be to maintain academic standards and quality so that your learning outcomes are not affected by any adjustments that we may have to make.

At all times we’ll aim to keep you well informed of how we may need to respond to changing circumstances, and about support that we’ll provide to you.

Other courses

Veterinary Nursing BSc Honours

Start: September 2024

Duration: 3 years full-time

Code: D313 (London), D316 (Leeds), D315 (Huntingdon)

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