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.
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. After the foundation year, 50% of your time will be spent on clinical placement in veterinary practices arranged for you by the Placement Liaison Team, gaining vital practical skills and experience.
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.
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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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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. The module aims to ensure that you have a good grounding in subject areas relevant to veterinary nursing in preparation for continued study on undergraduate veterinary nursing programmes.
This module provides you with the theoretical underpinning knowledge relating to the health and safety within the practice environment. It also includes a broad foundation for communication and study skills which will stay as a lifelong skill for the Veterinary Nurse in practice, as well as providing an insight into ethics, legal theories and professional issues.
This core module will provide you with the theoretical underpinning knowledge relating to the care of companion animals, observation, nutrition and care of the hospitalised patient and first aid (relating to animals). Theory and legislation relating to practice organisation and ethics, pharmacy and dispensing is also included in this module to provide a broad foundation for your practical placements in veterinary practice.
During this core module, you will undertake two blocks of practice experience, each 14 weeks in length, totalling 28 weeks in practice (taught via External Practice placement).
An introduction to physiology and anatomy which is fundamental to understanding the biological processes occurring in dogs, cats, equines and exotics. You will also develop your practical skills in identifying key anatomical features and landmarks required in your day to day nursing practice.
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.
This module provides an understanding of some of the body's responses to disease processes, trauma, and the pathological changes which occur in illness and which inform the planning and assessment of client care. This module is science based and incorporates approximately 50% laboratory based work. The module covers the areas of general pathology, clinical pathology and an overview of diseases in different organ systems.
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.
You will develop skills in research criticality and appraisal of evidence using a team based approach. You will look at evidential literature, evaluation of evidence, and the use of evidence to support problem solving and decision making.
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.
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.
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.
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. The module aims to allow development of the necessary knowledge and skills in theory and practice sessions.
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 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.
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.
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.
This elective module aims to prepare you for clinical practice and to deepen understanding and promote critical appreciation of the theories of learning and principles of teaching to enable effective facilitation and assessment of a variety of learners within the clinical field. It will draw upon the concepts of reflection, nursing models and the VN's role in teaching and assessing in clinical practice.
You can find more information about this course in the programme specification. 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.
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.
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.