Veterinary nursing is a varied, challenging and rewarding career; veterinary nurses are a world away from being merely ‘vet assistants’. They are highly trained to deal with patient care, as vet nurses who have registered with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons have undergone between 2-4 years of grueling practical and theoretical study, gaining either an accredited diploma or degree. The term veterinary nurse is not protected – anyone can use the term to describe their work. Here at Heathfield Vets, only qualified (Registered) or training (Student) nurses are referred to as nurses, and are registered with their respective titles at the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons. We are a teaching practice which takes an active role in training vet nurses to the highest standard; our student nurses work full time, actively building their skills in a professional setting, under the care of a Clinical Coach (a registered nurse or vet who guides, teaches and mentors each student) whilst also studying all aspects of the profession at college.
Having a team of qualified and student nurses allows us to offer more services and a greater level of patient care to our clients.
Our nurses offer a range of clinics, allowing clients to benefit from their knowledge and expertise. Our most popular clinics include:
Pets that need help achieving their ideal weight can come along to one of our nutrition clinics. Our nurses draw up a weekly plan based on each individual patient’s diet, exercise level and overall health.
Senior Cat Clinics
Cats over 8 benefit from more regular checks, particularly of their blood pressure. A BP check can highlight possible health problems before they become serious. These clinics also provide an opportunity to discuss changes that can be made at home to make the aging process easier for older cats.
These weekly nurse-run puppy socialisation clinics are a great chance for new pups to meet other dogs and get used to vet visits.
Nail Clipping and administering tablets and treatments
Owners who struggle to clip nails or administer medication or parasite prevention at home may benefit from having a trained nurse (or two) to do this for them.
Chronic Illness Clinics
Owners whose pets suffer from illnesses like diabetes, renal disease or arthritis may benefit from a clinic with our specially trained nurses who can advise on diet advice, administering medication at home and monitoring a patient’s progress regularly.
Nurses In Theatre
Nursing in theatre is a vital role which ensures our patients receive the best care at every point of their procedure. Whilst the surgical vet concentrates on performing the surgery, a dedicated nurse monitors your pet’s anaesthetic and their comfort level. Nurses will also scrub in to assist with an operation, handing the vet the necessary instruments and assisting where needed. This means the vet does not have to try to concentrate on everything at once, and your pet is in the safest possible hands.
Pre And Post-Operative Care
Nurses are responsible for making sure patients are kept comfortable before and after their surgery, administering pre-operative medications and pain relief, including calculating drug dosages. Vet nurses will prepare the surgery site, take blood samples and run pre-anaesthetic blood tests, as well as monitoring a patient’s recovery. They are also there to guide clients through the process, becoming the contact point for ‘pet parents’ before and after procedures. Nursing staff also see patients for wound checks, re-bandaging and stitch removals.
We offer a 24/7 emergency service and that includes having nursing staff on call to be called in to help the vets. If a patient needs emergency surgery at 2am, we have a dedicated nurse to assist on hand. Nurses will also check on in-patients out of hours, together with the vet or reporting back to the vet to plan for the next steps in treatment.
Handling Clinical Samples
Nurses regularly run in-house blood and urine tests, allowing vets to obtain a preliminary result quickly. They will also prepare samples before they are sent to our external lab for further testing.
Assisting With X-rays
The nursing team regularly assist with taking x-rays, positioning patients and obtaining the correct exposure and image quality.
Maintaining Hygiene Protocols
Far more than ‘just cleaning’, nurses are responsible for maintaining a clinical level of hygiene throughout the practice. They will also manage disinfecting surgical equipment and be aware of any infectious patients that will require specialist care and protocols.
We are committed to Continuous Professional Development at Heathfield Vets, our nurses are constantly learning and adding to their skill set. RVN Jasmine has trained as a bereavement counselor with the Blue Cross and our deputy head nurse Laura has recently begun mobility clinics for patients with degenerative diseases like arthritis. All our nursing team members regularly attend training courses in various areas of veterinary medicine, so that you can be reassure when they advise you that you are getting the best, most up-to-date recommendations.
As you can tell, there is a lot more to being a veterinary nurse than just cuddling puppies and kittens (although that is also a very important part of the job!). Our Student Veterinary Nurses and Registered Veterinary nurses form an integral part of the team, and are on hand to help you with any queries you may have for them!