What is a Veterinary Nurse?


The VNCA defines a “Veterinary Nurse” as one who holds a formally recognised veterinary nursing qualification and maintains their currency of knowledge and skills within the veterinary nursing profession.  The current Australian national qualification for Veterinary Nursing is Certificate IV in Veterinary Nursing with additional qualifications in Diploma of Veterinary Nursing General Practice, Emergency and Critical Care, Surgery and Dentistry as per the Animal Care and Management Training Package (ACM40112).

In Australia the Certificate IV Veterinary Nurse is the minimum qualification for a person who is to provide competent support to a Veterinary Practice.  

Veterinary nurses that have qualified at Certificate IV have been competency trained and assessed.  During training, veterinary nurses are assessed for their competence of prescribed performance criteria by qualified workplace assessors.

It is the responsibility of the awarding Registered Training Organisation to ensure that assessment to Certificate IV is in line with the Training Package requirements.  Employers of such nurses should be confident that skills and underpinning knowledge are extensive and that the requirements of the veterinary sector are met.

Veterinary Nurses are trained and competent to undertake high standards of patient care and client advice. Veterinary Nurses understand not only how to do their job but know and understand the reasons behind what they are doing. This leads to greater safety and true professional care and advice.

A Veterinary Nurse must perform within the confines of state and federal legislation that includes the Veterinary Practice Act, Animal Welfare Act, the Radiation Safety Act and the Drugs and Poisons Act amongst others. Veterinary Nurses do not have their own professional indemnity insurance and the supervising veterinary practitioner is responsible for nurses' actions.

There is a direct link between Certificate IV Veterinary Nurse and approval to perform veterinary nursing duties under the Western Australian (WA) Veterinary Surgeons Act 1960 as amended. The WA Veterinary Surgeons Board must approve qualified persons to carry out the duties of veterinary nurses and must authorise persons enrolled in approved courses to perform the duties of trainee veterinary nurses.

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