CAW Blog

The College of Animal Welfare

What Makes a Good Veterinary Nurse

What Makes a Good Veterinary Nurse?

If you’ve considered training as a veterinary nurse before, you may have wondered whether the role is right for you and asked yourself: what makes a good veterinary nurse? To answer that question, have a look at the qualities we think make a great veterinary nurse:

Passion and understanding of the role

Veterinary nursing is varied profession. In any given day you may find yourself: taking x-rays, medicating patients, doing consults, maintaining equipment, monitoring anaesthetics, dressing wounds, answering phones, cleaning and the list goes on! You need to make sure you have a realistic expectation of what the job will be like, so that you’re ready to get stuck in and make a real difference.

Good team working skills

Teamwork is essential among veterinary nurses, as often you will be required to work together to complete certain tasks. It’s critical to your practice’s success that everyone gets along and is willing to help each other.

Commitment to professional development

As a veterinary nurse you should be passionate about learning new skills and undertaking regular continuing professional development (CPD). Not only is it a professional requirement, but being committed to lifelong learning will ensure veterinary practices continue to provide the best possible care to patients. What’s more – CPD allows you to pinpoint where you want your career to go in the future. For example, you may wish to pursue a specialist area of nursing, take on a clinical coaching role, or become a head nurse.

Willingness to work flexibly

Not all veterinary practices offer emergency or out-of-hour services, but many do, so you should consider whether you would be open to working out-of-hours and stepping in during emergencies. Veterinary Nurses also often work on weekends, bank holidays and evenings.

Good technical knowledge and communication skills

Veterinary nurses often provide information, advice and guidance to owners on the care of their pets. You could be asked about any form of nursing or procedure, from blood work and IV catheter placement to recovery from anaesthesia. To this end, it’s important to have a good technical knowledge base in order to deal with client questions that go beyond simply “yes” or no”. You should also be able to act confidently in high pressure or emergency situations.

Resilience

Veterinary nursing is a rewarding profession, but it’s not always sunshine and rainbows! Seeing animals suffer from an illness or accident can be difficult to experience, especially for passionate animal lovers. In these situations it’s important to be able to separate your own feelings in order to get on with the job. You need to get the right balance between being compassionate and doing your job without breaking down.