Veterinary Nursing Awareness Month - #whatVNsdo - the many roles of the RVN in practice

Anaesthesia

Veterinary nurses are delegated the responsibility of monitoring patients prior to, during and following an anaesthetic. During procedures they act as the vet’s eyes, ears and hands, administering medication and adjusting levels of anaesthesia as appropriate.

Phlebotomy

Veterinary nurses know how to obtain a blood sample quickly, effectively and with minimal pain and stress to the animal. They place cannulas and provide IV fluid therapy. They are trained how to do this for many different species. They are also responsible for the use and maintenance of blood analyser machines and for preparing samples to be sent to external labs.

Laboratory technician

As well as blood sampling, veterinary nurses collect and process a whole host of diagnostic samples including urine, faeces, swabs and skin scrapes. They can identify everything from urinary crystals to ringworm!

Radiography

Veterinary nurses prepare and position patients and calculate the correct machine settings to produce x-rays to aid in diagnosis. For this they have to display a thorough knowledge of anatomy and the principles of radiography, as well as managing the health and safety aspects of radiation use in practice.

Consulting

Veterinary nurses have to be effective communicators as they see clients in practice for all aspects of preventative healthcare. This can include: weight management, new puppy and kitten advice, nail clipping, dietary advice, wound management, dental checks and advice, blood pressure checks, final vaccinations, worming, flea control, microchipping, bereavement care, neutering advice, basic behavioural training, noise phobia advice – and more…!

Learning

Veterinary nurses have to continually maintain, improve and broaden their skills and knowledge by undertaking set amounts of continued professional development. Many nurses use this as an opportunity to develop areas of special interest or to pursue a post-registration qualification.

Dispensing

Veterinary nurses are responsible for ordering and dispensing drugs within the practice, as well as the unenviable task of stock control.

Team Players

Nursing duties cross over with many other roles in the practice and you might see nurses on reception answering phones, triaging emergencies, cleaning and maintaining equipment and undertaking managerial duties in addition to their usual tasks (as well as making the occasional cuppa!) The veterinary profession is a close-knit one and we all work together and support each other.

Surgery

Veterinary nurses prepare and care for patients during surgery by administering medication, maintaining a hygienic operation site and theatre environment, monitoring anaesthesia, recording vital signs, supervising post-op recovery and providing care instructions to the owner.

Did you know? Under the supervision of a veterinary surgeon, nurses can also undertake acts of minor surgery.

Dentistry

Veterinary nurses carry out routine dental hygiene work and have a thorough knowledge of dental/oral anatomy, periodontal disease and preventative dental care