I am currently six months into my course to train as a veterinary nurse. I am completing the course part-time.
Why did you choose TAFE NSW?
I decided that the vocational road was more suited to my learning style, so I chose to attend TAFE NSW. I go to classes at TAFE NSW one day a week and work in the surgery the rest of the week, which I love. if you are passionate about a career with animals and want a hands on learning style, I couldn’t recommend the course more. The Certificate IV in Veterinary Nursing takes two years to complete if you attend full-time, though I am currently studying part-time.
What are the entry requirements?
There are no entry requirements for this course, but I decided to do my Certificate III in Animal Studies online before I enrolled in Veterinary Nursing. You have a year to complete the online course but I did it in three months because I enjoyed it so much! Doing the online course showed me that I was really interested in the course subject and it made it clear that’d I love the vet nursing Certificate IV.
How did you get your job in the animal clinic?
I just applied … I said that I was studying vet nursing and that I had my certificate in animal studies already. They were really keen to take someone on who was studying the course.
What is a day in your clinic like?
Before the clinic opens I prepare the surgery by setting up reception, consultations rooms and then the equipment such as the dental machine, X-ray processor, turn the oxygen on and set up theatre for the days procedures. Sometimes there may be an inpatient, so I would then do the morning checks on the animal such as taking a heart rate, respiratory rate, checking their temperature and overall condition, if the animal has been to the toilet, had anything to eat or drink and its overall demeanour.
I clean their kennel, change and clean their litter tray if they are a cat or take them out to the toilet if they are a dog. When the vets arrive, they do a thorough examination of the animals and I report any findings to them. The vet then decides what course of treatment and medications they would like the animal to have that day, which we would then administer.
Once we do open, the nurses and I admit the patients for the procedures that day. They are admitted we weigh them and get them settled in their kennels. I then double check which medications the vet would like to use for their procedures, then I calculate the dosages and draw up the medication ready for when the vet has finished consulting that morning.
We place intravenous catheters into all our patients so that we always have access to a vein if needed; this is also where we put the anaesthetic medication that makes them fall asleep. As a student nurse, I am shown procedures like placing IV catheters, giving injections or taking blood at TAFE NSW and by the vets at the clinic.
Our job is not just looking after the animals, nurses play a very important role in infection control, which means cleaning, a lot of cleaning. After procedures have finished and all the animals have recovered nicely we begin to clean and tidy up. In theatre, it is cleaned top to bottom with disinfectant spray, then hoovered and mopped with disinfectant using a mop specifically for theatre.
What do you like about your course?
I like how encouraging and supportive my teachers and class are. I have wanted to be a vet nurse since I was a kid and now I am finally doing it. I can’t imagine doing anything different!