Kangan Institute Blog

5 Tips for a Career in Veterinary Nursing

Veterinary nursing is highly rewarding and can also make a challenging career but the benefits are plenty. It’s an exhilarating and challenging job that requires various skills. Veterinary nursing is an extremely hands on occupation that will bring you into contact with many different animals and their owners. No day will ever be the same, so you can be assured you will never experience a dull day.

A veterinary nurse is a valuable and essential part of the veterinary healthcare team. A career in veterinary nursing requires personal skills that encompass communication, empathy, adaptability and a strong commitment to increasing their knowledge and skills.


A veterinary nurse supports veterinarians to perform inspections, procedures and operations for the treatment and wellbeing of animals. They frequently meet with clients and their animals before the veterinarian to evaluate and assess the issue or injury of the animal and will help to decide the best possible solution to the concern. Veterinary nurses should have a passion for helping animals and be able to perform a variety of tasks and services.

The veterinary industry is rich with dedicated and committed individuals who not only give their everything to their jobs, but also provide many hours of voluntary work to care for and raise homeless and orphaned animals. You will be required to learn specialised skills needed in the caring for sick and injured animals during all avenues of examination, diagnosis, treatments and surgery.

Get Certified

The current qualification that provides an individual with the skills to provide competent support to veterinary clinics is the Certificate IV in Veterinary Nursing (ACM40418). This is a national qualification recognised in all states of Australia. Students will gain skills in animal care management, reception duties, communication, basic animal care, hygiene, animal welfare, nutrition, occupational health and safety, teamwork and animal handling.

This recognised industry qualification is for people wishing to operate as a veterinary nurse within veterinary practices. Students should expect that whilst undertaking study for this qualification, it will be essential that access to a veterinary clinic is essential for meeting assessment requirements. This access may be through volunteer or paid employment or periods of work experience. These certifications are designed to provide you with the great foundational skills that will give you that much desired competitive edge. It also shows practices you are keen and taking clear steps towards becoming more employable.


Like many professions, networking is crucial. Many practices will recruit via word of mouth rather from the abundance of CVs they have on file. Online social media and websites are great tools when it comes to networking with other veterinary nurses. Ensure you maintain communication with veterinary clinics and give them an updated CV every 6 to 12 months.


Those aspiring to a career in veterinary nursing should look to volunteer at animal shelters like the RSPCA and the Animal Welfare League. You will be helping out a worthwhile cause whilst also gaining some great experience into the industry.

Employment Opportunities

Employment for a veterinary nurse has risen by a rate of 47.4% over the past 5 years and is expected to grow strongly through 2017.

Duties and Tasks

  • Advise animal owners on detailed proper care of animals, vaccines recommended and refer them to animal care supplies and facilities.
  • Carry out administrative and receptionist duties at a practice and give advice to clients.
  • Perform duties under the direction of veterinarians, assist in administering medications, lab tests, taking and developing x-rays, collecting blood samples, monitor anaesthetics and oxygen to animals.
  • Clean, sterilise and prepare examination rooms, surgical instruments and equipment and prepare required tools for procedures.
  • Clean the cages and surgery areas and perform general cleaning duties at a veterinary practice.
  • Maintain and handle animals while veterinarians examine and perform procedures.
  • Maintain stock levels and request additional supplies whenever needed.
  • Provide intake, perform diagnostics tests and keep records or owners and their animals, listening and determining the nature of concern or problem with animals providing information to veterinarians.
  • Transfer animals to recovery areas after operations or procedure and monitor their wellbeing, as well as feed and exercise animals before and after treatments and procedures.
  • Accompany and assist veterinarians on call-outs such as houses and farms.

Personal Requirements

A veterinary nurse is required to:

  • Handle stressful emergency situations.
  • Empathetic, patient and have a genuine concern for animals.
  • Great communication skills.
  • Highly organised.

In unfortunate cases, a veterinary nurse must also be able to deal with the process of putting an animal down and provide support to clients during this difficult time.

If you love caring for animals, here at Kangan Institute we will help you put your nurturing nature to great use. Students will learn in veterinary clinics with real animals for real people in a real environment.

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