The role of a Registered Veterinary Nurse

Ever wondered what the role of a Registered Veterinary Nurse is in Practice? Then here is all the information that you need.

The role of the Veterinary Nurse is extremely varied. Here at Mid Sussex Vets our Veterinary nurses are responsible for working on reception; answering the phone, making appointments, giving advice and taking payments (there are no receptionists here!)

Veterinary nurses are responsible for preparing patients for their anaesthetic and surgery.  This can involve taking pre-operative blood samples for in-house testing (if requested by the owner), clipping and scrubbing surgical sites, administering medication and inserting intravenous catheters.

Once blood samples have been taken, they are tested on our in-house blood machines.  We are able to carry out routine pre-operative screens as well as more comprehensive diagnostic tests.

Restraining animals is another big part of the Veterinary Nurse’s role.  The Veterinary Surgeon requires a nurse to restrain patients for various reasons, including, Induction of anaesthesia- This requires the nurse to hold the animal and raise a vein for the Vet to be able to induce anaesthesia, Administering medications, Clinical examination.

Monitoring anaesthetised patients is also the responsibility of the nurse.  Recordings are made every 5 minutes regarding the patient’s respiration and heart rate, and constant observation of the patient is carried out

When monitoring patients under anaesthetic we are  able to use traditional stethoscopes, oesophageal stethoscopes, ECG and pulse oximetry, but the most important piece of monitoring equipment is the actual nurse.  They are able to carry out a range of other checks on the patient simply by observing their reactions whilst under anaesthetic.  It is always vital to have a Registered Veterinary Nurse monitoring the patient as equipment can fail or at times give inaccurate readings.

During some surgical procedures it is necessary for a nurse to ‘scrub in’ and assist the Veterinary Surgeon. This can include handling tissues, assisting with manual retraction of tissues and holding/passing surgical instruments. As shown, a hat, mask, sterile gown and gloves are worn at this time.

Under Schedule 3 of the Veterinary Surgeons Act, Qualified Veterinary Nurses are able to suture wounds and carry out minor surgical procedures such as lumpectomies.

The Nurse is responsible for monitoring the patients post-operatively, making sure that they are warm and comfortable.
Nurses are also trained in wound management, and you’ll find that most bandages and dressings have been applied by one of the nurses at the practice.

All the Registered Veterinary Nurses here at Mid Sussex Veterinary Clinic have their names included on the list of Registered Veterinary Nurses held by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons and have both taken the following oath.

“I PROMISE AND SOLEMNLY DECLARE that I will pursue the work of my profession with integrity and accept my responsibilities to the public, my clients, the profession and the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, and that, ABOVE ALL, my constant endeavour will be to ensure the health and welfare of animals committed to my care”

If you are interested in becoming a Registered Veterinary Nurse please visit the BVNA or RCVS website for more information.