The job description for a Veterinary Nurse centres on delivering medical care to animals alongside a Veterinary Surgeon; ensuring the health and welfare of the animal goes beyond the technical nursing aspect. A Veterinary Nurse plays an important role in not only the animals welfare but also educating owners on properly caring for the animals.
If you’re looking for another interesting career in the animal care industry, check out dog grooming as a possible career choice. Vet nursing is a popular career path for those working in the veterinary industry, but there are actually some common misconceptions about this important role within a veterinary practice that need to be debunked.
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What is Veterinary Nursing?
The Veterinary Nurses Council of Australia defines the career as someone who “holds a formally recognised veterinary nursing qualification and maintains their currency of knowledge and skills within the veterinary nursing profession.” Many people often mistake Veterinary Nursing to be the same job as a Veterinarian, but they actually have very different responsibilities and duties when it comes to animal welfare.
Within a Veterinary team, the nurse often has the largest variety of work as they provide both routine and emergency care alongside the Veterinarian as well as assisting the Veterinary Technician. A Vet Nurse is qualified to perform higher-level task such as the administration of anaesthesia, running blood tests, performing dental procedures and other similar tasks, yet one of the most important jobs is educating the general public and owners on proper animal welfare.
This career path for animal lovers is difficult, being both physically and emotionally exhausting, but it can turn out to be a very rewarding experience. If you’re a Vet student thinking about becoming a Veterinary Nurse or even a Veterinary Assistant, take a look at some of the most common myths and misconceptions about this important career path.
Check out these animal care coures if you’re interested in becoming a veterinary nurse.
Myth No. 1: Job Shortages
In Australia, Veterinary Nursing comes under the Animal Care and Management Industry but makes up 42% of the Veterinary Services workforce with approximately 9,300 Vet Nurses in 2018, a number which is expecting to grow by another 9% due to consumer’s pet-related expenditures.
Vet Nursing Workers
Increase in Job Openings
There has also been a sharp increase in the number of Vet graduates due to more institutions opening; there is however a shortage of Vet Nurses and clinics in rural areas. Whilst there are job vacancies available, there is a lack of those having job training is niche areas of practise such as large animal medicine, equine medicine and exotic animal medicine.
Myth No. 2: High Wages
Contrary to belief, Veterinary Clinics and its workers don’t make as much money as you would believe. Whilst many people complain about expensive vet bills, compared to doctors working with humans, animal care pays a lot less than human patient care.
Average Salary for Vet Nurses
For veterinarians, average salaries are based on the type of medicine practised as well as their years of experience. Veterinary Nurses with up to three years experience earn around $17 per hour, whereas 5 years or more only increases to between $21-$26 per hour. Unfortunately, animal handling as a Vet nurse is not considered a high wage profession.
The average annual salary for a Veterinary Nurse in Australia is $59,019.
Myth No.3: Spending All Day Around Animals
It would be a dream come true if Vet Nurses spent most of their time cuddling cats and dogs but unfortunately that’s not the case, unlike nurses in hospitals which are sectioned into specific areas and responsibilities, at veterinary clinics the nurse has an array of responsibilities rolled into one. From being a receptionist to assisting the Veterinarian during surgery, analysing blood, administering medication, completing minor operations, giving advice to owners and cleaning, there’s an endless amount of jobs to be done. Veterinary Nurses don’t just have to work in clinics helping pet owners, their skills can also be used in research centres, consulting and even teaching on a wide type of animals.
Myth No.4: It’s Hard to Become a Vet Nurse
Unlike becoming a Veterinary Professional (which can be competitive to enter), the road to a Veterinary Nurse is simpler and less difficult to enter. Currently the Australian national qualification is Certificate IV in Veterinary Nursing, however this only meets the minimum qualification as it is highly recommended a Diplomas of Veterinary Nursing General Practice, Emergency and Critical Care, Surgery and Dentistry are undertaken. The certificate is popular but it is not difficult to get into as there are many TAFE institutions and private training providers you can choose from.
There are approximately over 25 million pets living in Australia and it is most likely that all will end up visiting a Veterinary clinic at some point during their lives. A Veterinary Nurse has a mentally and physically draining career path but it is one that can be rewarding both to you and the animals owner.
If you’re thinking of becoming a Veterinary Nurse now that you know the truth about its misconceptions, take a look at the variety of educational institutions that offer you the start to this important job.
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