Frequently asked questions

 

Membership Questions

Can I join if I am not a qualified Veterinary Nurse or am still studying?

Yes, the VNCA offers a reduced rate Student membership.

Can I join if I am not working as a Veterinary Nurse?

Yes, you would join as an Associate Member.

What’s in it for me?

The VNCA is working hard to offer desired tangible member benefits. We do ask that while you look at the tangible benefits you also consider all the other work that the VNCA does on behalf of Veterinary Nurses that you don’t always see.

Without the support of yourself and Veterinary Nurses like you we would not be able to work on your behalf to ensure Veterinary Nurses are represented on the industrial stage, that Veterinary Nurses can legally take radiographs, that Veterinary Nurses have a formalised training package that is world class and something to be proud of, that the AVA recognises the value of Veterinary Nurses and sees them as part of the total veterinary health care team.

Your support ensures that the VNCA can attend industry meetings, that the VNCA can organise a national conference, that the VNCA can employ professional IR people to support you in practice.

The bigger the membership we have the louder our joint voice can and will be heard.

The yearly membership fee does not cover all the expenses the VNCA has in order to ensure the best possible benefits and representation but it goes a long way in helping. Membership support is vital for the continuation of the VNCA

Is there a discounted membership price for student nurses?

Yes! Student Membership is available for those studying Students must be enrolled in Cert II Animal Studies or Certificate IV Veterinary Nursing (as per the Animal Care & Management Training Package) and show proof of this upon application, as well as their study start date and expected study finish date.

What are the differing benefits between Full and Associate Members?

Full and Associate members have the same rights and benefits except for:

Full Members must agree to abide by the Code of Conduct
Full Members may be invited to become Life Members of the VNCA
Full Members can apply for the VNCA Scholarship
Full Members can apply to become an Accredited Veterinary Nurse

I joined an employee three months ago. She has since left my employment. Can I please have a refund?

No – once the membership is paid, it remains with that individual until renewal, in which case they may or may not renew. VNCA membership is not transferable or refundable.

I joined up an employee in April. At that stage, she was an employee. She left my employment three months later- can I please transfer the membership to my new employee?

No- the membership belongs to the individual registered, not the person paying the membership fee.

I only have two staff employed at the clinic, can I still receive the 10% discount.

No, the 10% discount only applies if you join a minimum of three staff. We suggest you consider signing these staff members up for a three year membership each, which over the three years will provide you with the same 10% discount, or consider joining yourself. Membership is available for all veterinary clinic employees, not just Veterinary Nurses.

A group of nurses and I wish to join with the bulk membership – can we all pay individually?

No, the 10% discount will only apply if there is one payment received and 1 receipt issued. We suggest you nominate one person from your group to pay, and then all pay him/her, as we would then be able to provide the bulk membership.

My membership expires in two months- can another two nurses join so we can share the 10% discount

Yes- when it is time for renewal, please contact us, and we will explain the steps for your two nurses to join at the same time you renew (in one transaction), so you can all receive the 10% discount.

I would like to send four nurses to an upcoming CPD/conference. Can I receive a discount on the registration fee?

No- The Bulk clinic discount is only a discount system on bulk memberships, not CPDs/conference. In order to receive a members rate for these events, sign your nurses up as members, and they will then receive the members rate on registration, as well as merchandise etc.

I would like to sign up one qualified Veterinary Nurse, and two Veterinary Assistants. Is this possible?

Yes. The 10% discount applies to Full and Associate memberships.

When will I receive my membership pack?

The average turn-around time for membership approval and sending of a membership pack would normally be 4-6 weeks. All membership applications must go through an approval process which involves approval by the relevant Divisional Committee.

Can I apply for membership now and get the members’ rate for a CPD?

When membership is pending the approval process and you wish to attend a VNCA event inclusion of a copy of your receipt or notation that you have joined and are awaiting approval is sufficient. If membership is declined or you have not applied for membership you will be required to pay the difference between the member and non-member rate. This also applies if you let your membership lapse and wish to attend a VNCA CPD or Conference.

If I join the VNCA, does that mean I can attend Committee Meetings without being a Committee member?

Yes, all VNCA members are most welcome to attend Divisional Committee meetings. We always love to have guests attend and offer input and fresh ideas.  The dates and details for all Divisional Committee Meetings can be found on the Events Calendar on the VNCA website.

How can I encourage my colleagues to join the VNCA?

Tell them about the benefits you receive from being a VNCA member and hand them a VNCA membership form or help them join the VNCA online. Be involved in Vet Nurses’ Day and promote it in your practice. The best encouragement is “word of mouth” and your own personal positive experience with the VNCA.

What are benefits for regional Veterinary Nurses?

Regional Veterinary Nurses are entitled to the same benefits as major city Veterinary Nurses and we have many regional members. Regional CPDs are able to be established with assistance of a local member, it is also important to remember that membership benefits are not just about seminars please refer to “why should I be a member” on the membership page.

The VNCA also has online e-CPDs available on the VNCA website.  These courses are an ideal way for regional nurses to hone their skills and partake in continuing professional development.

I’m having trouble logging into the website, what do I do?

Please try to retrieve your password by proceeding through the login process and selecting 'forgot password' when it appears.  Remember, your username is your email address that you receive VNCA correspondence to. If you don’t have any success logging in please contact National Office via phone 03 9586 6022 or email admin@vnca.asn.au and they will be able to rectify the problem for you.

Is there a Scholarship available with the VNCA that I can apply for?

Yes, there is a VNCA scholarship available to Full Members. The Veterinary Nurses Council of Australia Inc. invites applications from VNCA Full Members for scholarships. A total scholarship fund of $5,000 has been established and this may be distributed between a number of applicants annually. The scholarship is to enable nurses to pursue their veterinary nursing related studies and may cover the costs incurred for education and associated travel. Applications are received and considered by a selection panel appointed by the VNCA Inc.

 

Qualifications and Training

I’m interested in becoming a Veterinary Nurse, where can I study?

There are a number of Registered Training Organisations that deliver Veterinary Nurse training. You need to consider the type of training delivery that is best for you and what Training Organisation would suit you the best. For a list of Registered Training Organisations that deliver Veterinary Nurse training visit:www.training.gov.au and follow the links to Animal Care & Management Training Package – Certificate IV Veterinary Nurse.

What is the current Veterinary Nursing qualification recognised in Australia that is available to study?

Certificate IV in Veterinary Nursing is the current nationally recognised qualification for Veterinary Nurses.

Do I need to be registered to work as a Veterinary Nurse?

Western Australia is currently the only state in Australia where Veterinary Nurses are required to be registered with the Veterinary Surgeons Board of WA, after acquiring the national qualification Certificate IV in Veterinary Nursing. For information regarding registration of Vet Nurses in WA, please go to the following website http://www.vsbwa.org.au/index.php/nurses/

Do I have to do Certificate II before Certificate IV?

The current qualification and requirements were established in 2010 but is continually being upgraded. To ensure you have the most up to date information visit www.agrifoodskills.net.au and follow the links to Certificate IV in Veterinary Nursing where full details of qualification requirements are written.

Students can begin study directly into Certificate IV in Veterinary Nursing however students that choose to complete other qualifications such as Certificate II in Animal Studies prior to enrolling into the Certificate IV may receive credit transfers for units already studied.  Individual Training Organisations have differing methods of delivery and so you should discuss your requirements with the training organisation of your choice.

Can I become a Vet Nurse by gaining a Traineeship?

Certificate IV in Veterinary Nursing can be studied as a trainee in most states of Australia. Those wishing to study under a traineeship must first find employment of at least 15 hours per week in a veterinary facility which is agreeable to this.

A representative from an Australian Apprenticeship Centre will then organise a contract between the employer, student and government so study can commence. Traineeships are financially beneficial to employers and students as federal government incentives and state government funding may be available.

For information on traineeship eligibility contact your local Australian Apprenticeship Centre or state governments’ department of education and training.

What should I study at high school to assist me in my future Vet Nursing studies?

There are no pre-requisite subjects for students to enter Certificate IV in Veterinary Nursing. Those wishing to study the qualification should contact their preferred training organisation for any specific entry requirements.

Can I be an Accredited Veterinary Nurse (AVN) if I have an overseas qualification?

Accredited Veterinary Nurses must hold the Certificate IV Veterinary Nurse qualification. Overseas qualified Veterinary Nurses will need to have their knowledge and competency assessed by an RTO currently delivering Certificate IV in Veterinary Nursing.

Is my overseas qualification recognised in Australia?

There is no mutual recognition of overseas qualifications currently available in Australia.

If you wish to have your qualification assessed then you would need to approach a Registered Training Organisation (RTO) delivering Certificate IV in Veterinary Nursing for Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) and Recognition of Current Competency (RCC). An up to date list of RTOs is available via the following web link http://training.gov.au/Training/Details/ACM40410

 

Employment Questions

As an overseas veterinary nurse, can I work in Australia?

Yes. Many overseas Veterinary Nurses work in Australia. You should visit the Department of Immigration website www.immi.gov.au  for information on visa and work requirements.

As an Australian qualified Veterinary Nurse can I work overseas?

You would need to contact the immigration department website of the country you are planning to visit for specific visa requirements and also contact the associated Veterinary or Veterinary Nursing body for specific registration & regulatory requirements for Veterinary Nursing.

Reference of Good Standing

“I am planning to work in the UK. Can the VNCA complete my RCVS Reference of Good Standing Form”?

The VNCA is unable to complete this section of the RCVS form as the VNCA is not a registering body. If you are a Full Member of the VNCA you agree to abide by the VNCA code of conduct and so you could also include a copy of the Code of Conduct with your application as evidence. It is also advised to include copies of your qualifications to help with your application.

How do I find employment?

Employment opportunities for Veterinary Nurses are available in a number of ways; advertisements in newspapers, Employment Section on the VNCA website, veterinary employment companies, classified sections with veterinary wholesalers and word of mouth.

Many Veterinary Nurses personally take their resumes to practices and ensure they are presented in a professional, well dressed and groomed manner.

Will becoming a VNCA Member benefit my workplace?

All Full Members are required to abide by the Professional Code of Conduct which ensures that Veterinary Nurses are maintaining and working towards the highest standards of care and professionalism.

Some practices make it a condition of employment that their Veterinary Nurses are members of their professional organisation (VNCA). By becoming a member you have access and support for Accreditation (AVN), formal recognition of achievements and a career path. These aspects may ultimately influence remuneration.

Should I be registered to microchip patients?

If you intend to implant microchips then you will be required to undergo training as there are legislative and record keeping requirements, apart from the physical chip insertion. As part of the current Certificate IV in Veterinary Nursing many Registered Training Organisations are offering a unit to cover the required knowledge and skills to gain your registration to implant.

Each state has different legislative requirements relating to microchip implantation. You can source this information via your local government usually under Animal Management

Victoria: http://www.vic.gov.au
Queensland: http://dlgp.qld.gov.au/
ACT: www.act.gov.au
NSW: http://www.nsw.gov.au

How do I find out about what I should be paid and what hours I should be working?

In the first instance this information should be available through your employer. You should receive a summary of your pay and deductions, every pay day. Your employer will also have negotiated a contract or terms and conditions for your employment and a job description or position description.

All VNCA members have access to the Workplace Helpline which offers advice on terms and conditions of employment.

The Animal Care & Veterinary Services Award covers Veterinary Nurses.  This can be located at www.fwa.gov.au

Why doesn’t the VNCA set awards and employment conditions like other unions?

When first established the VNCA had the option of being a union or a representative organisation.

If the VNCA established themselves as a union, membership fees would be a lot higher [$400 and above] and the only issues that could be discussed would be employment issues. Money would also have to be allocated each year to employ industrial relations experts as the VNCA committees are run by Veterinary Nurses not Industrial Relations experts.

By following the path of a representative organization membership fees are lower, conferences and seminars are held, merchandise is available, AVNJ is published, peer recognition is available, Veterinary Nurses are represented in areas of IR, Animal Welfare, Education and Training and relationships with other industry organisations. State committees do meet with employer organizations and discuss employment issues.

It was felt that by providing members with all these benefits and tools that we could empower Veterinary Nurses to negotiate their way through workplace issues and not be restricted just to workplace relations. Industrial Relations support is available through the Members Workplace Helpline.

I’m having a few problems at work – where can I get some advice?

Primarily issues should be resolved in the workplace through the appropriate communication channels with your employers.VNCA members can also access the Members Workplace Helpline which is a dedicated help desk service supported by a team of human resource experts. The VNCA HR Advisory Service is available from 8:30am-5:00pm Monday to Friday and access to the service is limited to VNCA Members only. Click here for more information or can the VNCA National Office for assistance.

Can I just buy the CPD notes and not attend the Seminar?

CPD notes support the seminar to be conducted and are often written in a way that reflects what will be discussed at the seminar. As such, notes are often not suitable as a reference tool unless you attended the seminar. Speakers agree to provide notes for seminar attendees. Contractual obligations and copyright prohibit the VNCA from selling CPD notes.

Are conference proceedings available for sale?

A limited number of conference proceedings are available for sale post conference. Proceedings are available to purchase for members and non-members.   To purchase proceedings, log onto the VNCA website and visit the merchandise page & follow the links.

How can I help the VNCA run a seminar in my area?

Divisional Committees have all the tools available to run a seminar in all areas but they do require a member in the area to help with logistics. If you feel that you would like to assist with organising a seminar in your area please contact your VNCA Divisional Chair and let them know.

Can I do the online courses if I am not a member?

The VNCA e-CPD online education courses are available to members and non-members. You can enrol online and start straight away.

 

Industrial Relations 

What insurance do I need to volunteer in practices?

“I was hoping to gather some more information about what insurance I would need to start volunteering and gaining some experience in clinics.

Insurance is always a good idea for yourself, and for public liability cover. Check with the practice if they have insurance cover for volunteers. If you are a Member you can contact the workplace helpline for more assistance.