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Veterinary NurseAlternative titles
This job is sometimes referred to as:
- Animal Nurse
- Rural Animal Technician
- Veterinary Assistant
- Veterinary Technologist
Veterinary nurses help in the examination, treatment and rehabilitation of sick and injured animals. They also interact with clients and perform receptionist duties.
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There are no specific requirements to become a veterinary nurse, but most employers prefer people who have a certificate or diploma in veterinary nursing, or a qualification in animal care. There are a number of veterinary nurse training courses, some of which can be done part-time through correspondence.
New veterinary technician role
Some veterinary nurses may choose to train as veterinary technologists or rural animal technicians. These are new roles, developed partly because of a shortage of rural vets, and they qualify people to do a wider range of tasks than veterinary nurses are able to do.
There are two veterinary technologist/rural animal technician qualifications:
- Certificate in Rural Animal Technology – Otago Polytechnic
- Bachelor of Veterinary Technology – Massey University.
- Massey University website - information about Bachelor of Veterinary Technology
- Otago Polytechnic website - information about the Certificate in Rural Animal Technology
- NZ Veterinary Nursing Association website - information on training courses (PDF- 50KB)
There are no specific secondary education requirements to become a veterinary nurse. However, science subjects, computing and English are useful. Entrance requirements for tertiary study courses vary, but NCEA Level 2 in English and Biology (or equivalent) is usually a minimum.
Veterinary nurses need to be:
- able to handle stressful emergency situations
- empathetic, patient and concerned for animals
- good communicators
Veterinary nurses must also be able to deal with the process of putting an animal down (euthanasia), and providing support to clients during this difficult time.
Useful experience for veterinary nurses includes:
- any work with animals, for instance as an SPCA volunteer or kennel hand
- voluntary work for a veterinary practice.
Veterinary nurses need to be reasonably fit, healthy and strong as the work can be physically demanding.
View information on courses in the course database
Find out more about training
Updated 26 Mar 2013