Profession veterinary nurse

Veterinary nurses support animals undergoing veterinary treatment and give advice to veterinary clients in the promotion of animal health and disease prevention in accordance with national legislation.

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Personality Type

  • Realistic / Investigative
  • Realistic / Social


  • Environmental enrichment for animals

    Types, methods and use of enrichment for animals to allow the expression of natural behaviour, including the provision of environmental stimuli, feeding activities, puzzles, items for manipulation, social and training activities.

  • Physiology of animals

    The study of the mechanical, physical, bioelectrical and biochemical functioning of animals, their organs and their cells.

  • Animal welfare

    Universally recognized animal welfare needs as applied to species, situation and occupation. These are: need for a suitable environment need for a suitable diet need to be able to exhibit normal behaviour patterns need to be housed with, or apart, from other animals need to be protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease.

  • Biosecurity related to animals

    Awareness of hygiene and bio-security measures when working with animals, including causes, transmission and prevention of diseases and use of policies, materials and equipment.

  • Animal recovery procedures

    Strategies for supporting animals recovering from anesthesia and/or specific veterinary medical or surgical procedures.

  • Safe work practices in a veterinary setting

    Safe work practices in a veterinary setting in order to identify hazards and associated risks so as to prevent accidents or incidents. This includes injury from animals, zoonotic diseases, chemicals, equipment and working environment.

  • Signs of animal illness

    Physical, behavioural and environmental signs of health and ill health in various animals.

  • Anatomy of animals

    The study of animal body parts, their structure and dynamic relationships, on a level as demanded by the specific occupation.

  • Animal welfare legislation

    The legal boundaries, codes of professional conduct, national and EU regulatory frameworks and legal procedures of working with animals and living organisms, ensuring their welfare and health.

  • First aid for animals

    Animal emergency treatment, including the principles and aims of the provision of first aid treatment to animals.

  • Animal behaviour

    The natural behavioural patterns of animals, i.e. how normal and abnormal behaviour might be expressed according to species, environment, human-animal interaction and occupation.


  • Maintain veterinary clinical records

    Create and maintain clinical records for animals according to national regulatory requirements.

  • Manage care of veterinary patients in accommodation

    Manage the care for veterinary patients in accommodation including the preparation, suitability, hygiene, and monitoring of the condition of animals. Monitor and maintain animal accommodation. This includes selecting and preparing the accommodation for animals, cleaning, and maintenance.

  • Supply veterinary medicine under professional direction

    Supply veterinary medicines under the direction of a veterinary surgeon.

  • Prepare environment for veterinary surgery

    Prepare the surgical environment, including preparation rooms, operating theatres, equipment and materials. prior to surgery.

  • Assess animal behaviour

    Observe and evaluate the behaviour of animals in order to work with them safely and recognise deviations from normal behaviour that signal compromised health and welfare.'

  • Manage clinical environments

    Ensure that clinical environments, including equipment and materials, are properly prepared and maintained for use. Prepare and maintain working environments and ensure that equipment and materials are available.'

  • Provide first aid to animals

    Administer emergency treatment to prevent deterioration of the condition, suffering and pain until veterinary assistance can be sought. Basic emergency treatment needs to be done by non-veterinarians prior to first-aid provided by a veterinarian. Non-veterinarians providing emergency treatment are expected to seek treatment by a veterinarian as soon as possible.

  • Provide support to veterinary clients

    Assist clients seeking veterinary treatment and during the provision of veterinary services. Aid clients with the care of their animals by demonstrating care techniques and use of veterinary products. Provide support during difficult situations.

  • Manage animal welfare

    Plan, manage and evaluate the application of the five universally recognised animal welfare needs as appropriate to species, situation and own occupation.

  • Protect health and safety when handling animals

    Protect health and welfare of animals and their handlers.

  • Collaborate with animal related professionals

    Collaborate with veterinary and other animal related professionals through communication of animal details, case records and summary reports orally or via written or electronic transfer.

  • Support veterinary diagnostic imaging procedures

    Prepare the equipment and animal for diagnostic imaging. Conduct or support diagnostic imaging procedures. Provide care for the animal undergoing diagnostic imaging.'

  • Manage personal professional development

    Take responsibility for lifelong learning and continuous professional development. Engage in learning to support and update professional competence. Identify priority areas for professional development based on reflection about own practice and through contact with peers and stakeholders.

  • Practise veterinary professional codes of conduct

    Adhere to veterinary professional codes of practice and legislation.

  • Administer treatment to animals

    Administer animal medical interventions, including the treatments performed, medicines used, and assessments of the state of health.'

  • Assist in veterinary surgery

    Assist the veterinary surgeon during surgical procedures by carrying out the duties of a general theatre assistant.

  • Evaluate information in the field of veterinary nursing

    Be able to read, understand and utilise the most current research available to justify decisions based on best practice.

  • Assist the veterinary surgeon as a scrub nurse

    Provide assistance in the handling of equipment and materials in a sterile manner during surgical procedures in operating theatre.'

  • Manage animal biosecurity

    Plan and use appropriate biosafety measures to prevent transmission of diseases and ensure effective overall biosecurity. Maintain and follow biosecurity procedures and infection control when working with animals, including recognising potential health issues and taking appropriate action, communicating site hygiene control measures and biosecurity procedures, as well as reporting to others.

  • Apply safe work practices in a veterinary setting

    Apply safe work practices in a veterinary setting in order to identify hazards and associated risks so as to prevent accidents or incidents. This includes injury from animals, zoonotic diseases, chemicals, equipment and work environments.

  • Prepare animals for anaesthesia

    Prepare animals for anaesthesia, including performing pre-anaesthetic checks and procedures and reporting findings.'

  • Control animal movement

    Direct, control or restrain some or part of an animal's, or a group of animals', movement.

  • Assist in administering veterinary anaesthetics

    Assist the veterinary surgeon in administering anaesthetics to animals including the maintenance and monitoring of anaesthesia during veterinary procedures.

  • Assist in general veterinary medical procedures

    Assist veterinarians by preparing both the animal and the equipment for medical procedures, and providing care and support to the animal undergoing a medical procedure.

  • Support veterinary diagnostic procedures

    Prepare equipment and animals for veterinary diagnostic tests. Conduct or support sample collection. Preserve samples from animals for analysis and communicate the results. Provide care for the animal undergoing examination.'

  • Prepare veterinary anaesthetic equipment

    Prepare the equipment and materials required for animal anaesthesia.'

  • Monitor the welfare of animals

    Monitor animals’ physical condition and behaviour and report any concerns or unexpected changes, including signs of health or ill-health, appearance, condition of the animals' accommodation, intake of food and water and environmental conditions.

  • Handle veterinary emergencies

    Handle unforeseen incidents concerning animals and circumstances which call for urgent action in an appropriate professional manner.

  • Provide mentorship

    Guide and support less knowledgeable or less experienced colleagues.

  • Treat animals ethically

    Carry out activities according to accepted principles of right and wrong, including transparency in work practices and conduct towards clients and their animals.

  • Manage infection control in the facility

    Implement a set of measures to prevent and control infections, formulating and establishing health and safety procedures and policies.

  • Prepare animals for veterinary surgery

    Prepare animals for minor and major surgical procedures and carry out the correct positioning and use of aseptic skin preparation.'

Optional knowledge and skills

animal production science maintain administrative records in the veterinary office deal with challenging people follow work schedule cope with challenging circumstances in the veterinary sector plan schedule process payments apply numeracy skills handle customer complaints maintain stocks of veterinary materials veterinary terminology manage veterinary practice waiting area understand the animal's situation make decisions regarding the animal's welfare administer appointments