Overview of the role

Providing expert nursing care for sick animals.

Veterinary nurse

Reference Number: ST0343

Details of standard


Veterinary nursing is the supportive care of animals receiving treatment within a veterinary practice. A veterinary nurse works as a member of the veterinary team, providing expert nursing care for sick animals. Veterinary nurses also play a significant role in educating owners on maintaining the health of their pets. They carry out technical work and are skilled in undertaking a range of diagnostic tests, medical treatments and minor surgical procedures, under veterinary direction. Veterinary Nurses are registered professionals and work within the standards and scope of practice defined by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) http://www.rcvs.org.uk/about-us/the-role-of-the-rcvs/

Entry Requirements

Statutory requirement - 5 GCSEs to include Maths, English and Science of grade C and above or equivalent.

Requirements: Knowledge, Skills and Behaviours


The veterinary nurse will require a comprehensive understanding of:

Legislative compliance and regulatory requirements

The RCVS Day One Competences for Veterinary Nurses

The RCVS Code of Professional Conduct and its associated guidance

Organisational requirements and legislation related to a veterinary business and animal welfare

The aims of effective health and safety within a veterinary practice

Comparative functional anatomy for veterinary nursing practice

Anatomy and physiology in relation to veterinary nursing practice

Normal form and function of body systems in a range of species

The relationship between normal form and function and the effects of disorder in disease processes and the consequent nursing requirements of sick animals

Infection control in veterinary practice

The role of infection in animal and human health

The principles of disease transmission in veterinary practice

The principles of disinfection and sterilisation

How to maintain personal hygiene especially in relation to cross-infection

The principles of infection monitoring and control

Materials, equipment and resources

Correct usage, handling, storage, maintenance and disposal materials, equipment, instruments and veterinary pharmaceuticals

The principles of record keeping

Veterinary Nursing Care

The principles of medical veterinary nursing and support

The principles of surgical veterinary nursing and support including anaesthesia

The principles of pharmacology and administration of medication

Emergency and critical care

The principles of first aid

The principles of nursing support and the triage, stabilisation and treatment of emergency patients

Nursing requirements of critically ill or injured animals

Intensive nursing care techniques and requirements for a range of species

Diagnostic techniques for veterinary nurses

The principles of radiography and imaging techniques

How to take and process radiographs

How to handle and store diagnostic images

The function and use of laboratory equipment

How to collect, prepare and test pathological samples

How to prepare specimens for transportation


The principles and methods of effective communication and their effect on client care

Factors affecting working relationships with clients and within the veterinary team


The principles relating to evidence based approaches to learning

Personal and professional limitations

How to seek and use feedback and advice


The veterinary nurse will comply with RCVS Day One Skills for veterinary nurses and be able to:

Legislation affecting practice

Work within the requirements of the health and safety legislation

Work within the requirements of the data protection legislation

Follow relevant  operating procedures and manufacturers guidelines when using equipment, materials and pharmaceutical products


Communicate effectively, appropriately and accurately using a variety of methods

Conduct nursing clinics

Clinical skills

Prepare and maintain all areas of the veterinary practice at all times

Prepare records, equipment and resources

Work in a safe and effective manner

Manage and perform effective infection control procedures

Provide nursing support as required

Prepare, use, maintain, store and dispose equipment, pharmaceuticals and materials appropriately


Manage own performance and development

Take measures to improve performance and competence

Engage in continued professional and personal development

Use professional standards of practice to self-assess performance


Practise in accordance with the RCVS Code of Professional Conduct


The veterinary nurse will abide by the RCVS Code of Professional Conduct for veterinary nurses and

Work within legal and ethical limits

Conform to approved procedures

Work ethically in veterinary practice


Work reliably to high standards

Adjust to change

Take responsibility for personal and professional behaviours and decisions

Develop and maintain effective working relationships

Communicate effectively including the use of empathy and sympathy where appropriate


Maintain a professional appearance and follow Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) protocols

Take responsibility for own development

Apply knowledge and skills effectively

Prioritise and plan work


Commit to learning and professional development

Identify and implement measures to improve performance and competence

Accept and act on constructive advice and guidance, seeking clarification to recognise own limitations



Typically 30 – 36 months


On successful completion of the End Point Assessment the learner will be awarded the RCVS – accredited Licence to Practise Veterinary Nursing qualification at Level 3

Link to professional registration

Students achieving this apprenticeship standard will be eligible to apply for professional registration with the RCVS



Review date

After 3 years   

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Status: Approved for delivery
Level: 3
Reference: ST0343
Version: 1.1
Date updated: 11/10/2018
Approved for delivery: 8 August 2018
Route: Agriculture, environmental and animal care
Typical duration to gateway : 30 months (this does not include EPA period)
Maximum funding: £15000
LARS Code: 333
EQA Provider: Ofqual
Employers involved in creating the standard: Medivet Group Limited, Mimram Veterinary Centre Limited, Ministry of Defence - Army Headquarters, Independent Vetcare Limited, Pennard Practice Limited, PDSA, Vets4Pets Companion Care Services Limited, Proacta Limited, MYF Training Limited, Warwickshire College Road Limited, The College of Animal Welfare Limited Park, Society of Practising Veterinary Surgeons (SPVS) Limited, Goddard Veterinary group

Version log

Version Change detail Earliest start date Latest start date Latest end date
1.1 End-point assessment plan revised 11/10/2018 Not set Not set
1.0 Retired 08/08/2018 10/10/2018 Not set

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