Veterinary practices across Ireland are among those marking this year’s Veterinary Nursing Awareness Month (VNAM), which carries the theme of empowerment and is spearheaded by the British Veterinary Nursing Association (BVNA).
A veterinary nurse is responsible for the welfare, comfort and recovery of animals that may have undergone surgery or trauma or are receiving treatment for medical conditions.
In many cases, they act as a support to other veterinary staff, including surgeons, within the team.
Some responsibilities may include wound management, performing minor medical procedures, preparing animals for surgery, performing diagnostic tests (X-rays, blood sampling, etc.), assisting with surgical procedures, fluid therapy and administering intravenous medication administrative support.
VNAM initially began as National VN Day back in 2005 and, since 2012, has taken place annually throughout the month of May.
According to a spokesperson for the body, the campaign aims to “spread the word to the veterinary profession and pet owners about the importance of the role of the veterinary nurse and the provision of responsible pet care to the general public”.
It aims to rare awareness of the myriad of tasks veterinary nurses perform within practices and the wider veterinary industry and their diverse range of skills and abilities.
The association outlined that each year, it sees an increase of veterinary nurses and their practices becoming involved and promoting the role of veterinary nurses, in first opinion or referral practices, in clinical or non-clinical roles and in small animal, equine or exotic species practices.
As part of this year’s event, the association will share blogs, webinars and other resources relating to the theme and is also hosting two competitions for veterinary nurses and their practices to take part in, details of which you can find on its website.
Vet nurses: Pathways to the career
As part of our regular Career Focus segment, we commonly publish profiles on those practicing as veterinary nurses or undertaking training to do so.
Here is a sample of those who have shared an insight into their journey with That’s Farming’s readers.
Fionnuala Ann Byrne
Fionnuala Ann Byrne is the head veterinary nurse in a bustling veterinary hospital, The Avenue Vets, in Dundalk, Co Louth.
She comes from the drumlin-dotted countryside just outside Carrickmacross in south Co. Monaghan.
Although she knew that she wanted a career working with animals, Fionnuala Ann did not go straight into veterinary nursing.
After completing her Leaving Certified, she studied art for two years and then worked in an electronics factory in Carrickmacross for a stint before she secured a job at the Avenue Vets in Dundalk.
Read her profile in full.
Clonbur, Co Galway native, was fourteen years of age when she “knew that veterinary nursing was the career for me”.
She hails from suckler farming background, and while she had her sights set on a career similar to veterinary nursing when she was younger, she was “not even aware growing up that such jobs even existed as they were quite unheard of in Ireland at the time”.
“So, it was fortunate that as I started into secondary school that veterinary nursing careers and courses were starting out in Ireland.”
“Because veterinary nursing was still relatively new in Ireland, I was a little apprehensive about pursuing the career.”
“I was worried whether there would be many job opportunities available in Ireland after completing the course.”
Read more on her journey.
Vet nursing courses
Last month, we also brought you the news that MTU is set to deliver a new 3-year vet nursing course, which you can read about via this article.
We have also published an article on other providers of veterinary nursing education, as you need to attain a VCI-accredited degree in this field to practice as an RVN (Registered Veterinary Nurse).