The role of the Veterinary Nurse

Let's find out what the veterinary nurse does, her duties, responsibilities and daily tasks: the role of the veterinary nurse

The veterinary nurse not only supports the work of the veterinarian every day but contributes to the overall management of the veterinary practice. She takes care of the clients’ reception, disinfection and care of surgical and working environments, sterilization of surgical instruments, therapies, anaesthesia and care of patients before and after operations.

Let’s now see in detail what the duties and responsibilities of a veterinary nurse assistant are.

The importance of the veterinary nurse

The duties of a veterinary nurse are somewhat similar to those performed by human nurses in human medicine.

For the veterinary profession, the presence of this type of qualified auxiliary staff, as an active player in the team, constitutes an absolutely significant step forward.

The functions performed by the veterinary nurse vary according to the many ways in which the common veterinary practice can be subdivided.

Specifically, the tasks of a veterinary nurse in practice, hospital or small animal veterinary clinic are described below.

The tasks of the veterinary nurse

Listed below are most of the responsibilities of a workplace veterinary nurse in a veterinary practice that treats mainly small animals.

  • Observing the conditions and behaviour of animals;
  • Performing the physical examination: a physical examination is the set of diagnostic manoeuvres of a general visit to verify the presence or absence, in the patient, of the signs (or objective symptoms) of a deviation from the condition of physiological normality;
  • Describing and reporting on the anamnesis of the animals, i.e. the collection of all the information necessary for diagnosis;
  • Taking care of daily consultations on nutrition, prevention and providing advice on the animal’s behaviour;
  • Preparing animals and tools in the pre-operative phase;
  • Providing first aid and nursing care necessary to injured or hospitalized animals;
  • Applying bandages on wounds and fractures;
  • Managing the records of dangerous drugs;
  • Preparing the doses of the drugs based on the concentration of the preparation and the weight of the animal;
  • Performing radiographic examination according to the diagnostic need and being able to read the X-rays;
  • Carrying out laboratory tests, such as analysis of blood and urine, faeces and skin or hair cells;
  • Providing assistance during surgical operations;
  • Monitoring anaesthesia on animals and their response;
  • Supervising animals during awakening from anaesthesia, writing down their vital parameters and looking after them in the post-operative phase;
  • Managing the drugs prescribed by the veterinary surgeon to patients and fluid therapy;
  • Sterilizing the instruments, the gauze, the gowns and all the necessary tools for the surgical operations and the operating room.

Other tasks of the veterinary nurse

  • Taking care of inventories and orders;
  • Updating the database that collects all the information on patients’ medical history;
  • Managing of appointments and phone calls, and generally everything related to clients;
  • Managing communication of prices, times and tasks with the owner regarding the therapies to be done once outside the practice;
  • Reception of customers;
  • Managing general workplace disinfection and cleanliness;
  • Supporting and coordinating the team.

In conclusion

The duties of a veterinary nurse are varied. The responsibilities of a veterinarian nurse cover many areas: receptionist, anesthesiologist, consultant, theatre assistant, laboratory technician, manager and many others.

One thing is certain: you can’t get bored in this job. The diversity and the number of things to do, update and learn are different and interesting every day. Furthermore, op[opportunities for growth and specialization of skills are plentiful: working with exotic animals, focusing on fish, reptiles or marine mammals specifically, becoming a head nurse and managing a team of  people or specializing in one specific animal’s apparatus (eg, orthopaedic, respiratory, nutritional etc)

Not only will you discover new clinical cases and different therapeutic approaches every day, but working in contact with animals (and a team of people with your same ideal) will fill your days with exciting things to do.

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