Veterinary Nurse


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Shanade Duggon is a veterinary nurse and teaches animal care and veterinary nursing at Greenmount College and Northern Regional College in Northern Ireland. She wanted to be a veterinary nurse since high school, and set out to gain all the qualifications required. Although there was tough competition for work experience, Shanade was determined to get some and applied to local vets every month until she secured a place.

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More information about veterinary nurses

Check out 2 videos about this career

average salary
The UK average salary is £27,011
average weekly hours
There are 39 hours in the average working week
84%  female  16%  male
The UK workforce is 47% female and 53% male

Future employment


Veterinary nurses provide assistance to veterinarians in the treatment and care of sick or injured animals.


Entrants require GCSEs/S grades or an equivalent qualification. Entrants must obtain employment at an approved veterinary practice to gain practical experience and tuition with an employer for a minimum duration of two years. Candidates must also pass professional examinations before qualifying as a veterinary nurse.


  • Assists the veterinary surgeon during surgical and medical treatments of animals
  • Prepares operating theatre, sterilises equipment and assists in theatre as required
  • Dispenses and administers medication and applies dressings to animals under direction from the veterinarian
  • Handles animals during treatment
  • Collects and analyses blood, urine and other samples
  • Cares for animals in hospital accommodation and keeps accurate records
  • Maintains the biosecurity of the veterinary premises
  • Advises clients on preventative medicine to maintain appropriate animal health and welfare.
Employment by region
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for this job
Health 4,639
Social work 2,169
Residential care 1,553
Services to buildings344
Public admin. & defence289
Employment activities258
Sport & recreation155
Office admin.117
Veterinary 112
Employment status

Where to go next

College of Agriculture, Food and Rural EnterpriseMore information about Veterinary Nursing - National Careers Service Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons - becoming a Veterinary Nurse

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Matt R

Shanade Duggon My name is Shanade Duggon and I’m a veterinary nurse and I work at Greenmount College and Northern Regional College in Newtownabbey, teaching animal care and veterinary nursing Well I qualified as a veterinary nurse and I nursed for about ten years and then I decided I’d like to go into teaching, because we got lots of students in the veterinary practice and I was always really involved with taking them under my wing and showing them what to do and I just loved showing people how, how to do it, so I just felt teaching was a subject that maybe I could go into. Veterinary nursing takes two years to become a veterinary nurse and it is a hard slog to become a veterinary nurse, so you need to be employed in an approved training practice and that’s the hard part. It’s getting an, into an approved practice. I harassed and harassed and I sent out my CVs, I sent a CV out to them every month, to every practice that was approved and I just harassed them, because what happens is, and I know it happens in practice cos I see it happen, it we get the CVs in and they go in a filing cabinet and they got forgotten about and the students get forgotten about. I wanted to be a veterinary nurse from high school, so whenever the careers teachers came in and they said, what would you like to be and I said I want to work with animals and someone said there’s this career, veterinary nursing, so you have to take science, which I love and medical, you know, stuff, which I love and imp, you know, do that with animals, then that was great, cos that’s what I wanted to do. Cos my mum was a human nurse and she wanted me to go down that medical route and I came home that day and said, this is what I’m going to be mum, and she said, that’s great, you know, she really encouraged me but nobody ever, and especially careers teacher in school, no-one really knew an awful lot about it at the time and whenever I said veterinary nursing, they said, well why not nursing and I thought no, no, I really want to do veterinary nursing but they didn’t know an awful lot about it, to push me down that route and give me the knowledge I needed for it. My brothers and sisters, cos I’m the eldest, they all done really well in school and they were brilliant at school and coming home with really good grades and I was this outdoorsy type person that was coming home with just reasonable grades. I didn’t do my eleven plus, I didn’t go to grammar school, they all did. I was disappointed in myself that I didn’t do the eleven plus and didn’t go to grammar school but, as they all say now, uh you know, I came out at the end of it with, you know, something, you know, better, just as well-off as them, so it didn’t make any difference to me. I qualified as a veterinary nurse and I worked as a veterinary nurse for a while um and then I decided like to do a diploma in advanced surgical nursing and no-one else in Northern Ireland had done it before and lots of people, vets especially, people I worked with and things, and they thought maybe it wasn’t so easy to obtain and I decided, no, I definitely could do it, so I went and done that and I was the first person in Northern Ireland to get a diploma in advanced surgical nursing, so that was a big turning point for me because I was so proud of what I had done and what I had achieved and I still am because I still am then only person that has it in Northern Ireland. When I got my diploma in advanced surgical nursing, I thought I need to do something with it, to make it, you know, sort of, so I thought I’ll go into teaching, so I went and done a certificate in education and that was great and that was fantastic. Then I wanted to become an examiner for the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, so I went off and done a training course for the Royal College and I qualified and now I’m an examiner for the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons as well. So all of those things have really helped direct my career in, in that way and people say now, oh you, you must be quite bright because you’ve done it. I’m not at all, my mum always said I’m as thick as the M1. Because I know I’m not, my sisters and brothers are bright, but I was never bright, I just had to work extremely hard to get anything. I’m not a bright person but I’ve able, I’ve been able to achieve something that’s, that’s very, very special.

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