Diploma HE Clinical Veterinary Nursing

About the course

The course is delivered at University Centre Myerscough. This innovative and dynamic course, awarded by the University of Central Lancashire and accredited by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, provides a unique opportunity for qualified registered Veterinary Nurses to progress towards Advanced Registered Veterinary Nurse status and enhance your employability within the profession.

The course focusses on both theoretical and clinical aspects of Clinical Veterinary Nursing and their application to professional practice and will facilitate both the personal and professional development of qualified registered Veterinary Nurses.

The course has been structured to provide a flexible opportunity to study through a combination of distance (online) learning and on-campus delivery (students are also expected to attend College for an introductory study period at the beginning of each year followed by 3 study weekends per academic year to support their studies). Students are also expected to have access to practice of at least 12 weeks annually for the duration of the course.

As a Myerscough Veterinary Nursing student, you will benefit from individualised support within a welcoming culture, ensuring that you follow in the footsteps of our previous students with their outstanding high achievements and excellent student satisfaction.

Course modules

Year 1

Essential Study, IT and Research Skills (Half module)

This module will cover a range of study, time management, reflective and technology skills including word processing and spreadsheets. Use of library and electronic searching for source material as well as academic writing, presentation and use of reference and bibliographic material will be developed. An insight into the research process critical appraisal will also be introduced.

Law, Ethics and Professional Practice (Half module)

This module will cover relevant areas of criminal and civil law and the functions and inter-relationships of representative and regulatory organisations as applied to veterinary practice. Completion of this module will equip students with an underpinning awareness of the ethical and legal aspects which are important in the delivery of all aspects of veterinary nursing care.

Applied Veterinary Physiology

This module will cover the normal physiological functions of the major body systems with particular emphasis on homeostasis, the normal ageing process, physiological changes which occur during pregnancy and parturition and how an appreciation of normal and disordered physiology can influence patient care in the veterinary nursing environment. The module content will be focused on either dogs and cats or horses depending upon the elected pathway of study.

Systematic Delivery of Veterinary Nursing Care

The module will cover a historical review of the development of veterinary nursing and the role of veterinary nursing in the 21st century as a professional. It will also cover the Nursing Process and conceptual models of nursing care and their application to veterinary nursing care in the practice situation. The module content will be focused on either dogs and cats or horses depending upon the elected pathway of study.

Year 2

Veterinary Anaesthesia (Option)

This module is intended to enhance and significantly extend the knowledge and skills of safe anaesthesia required to achieve initial qualification as a veterinary nurse. An insight into the specific anaesthetic nursing needs of patients both peri and post operatively will also be provided.

Veterinary Theatre Practice (Option)

The module aims to prepare veterinary nurses for work in specialist veterinary theatres. The student's ability to design and manage protocols for the preparation of the theatre, personnel and patients with regard to the specific requirements of general and specialist surgical procedures will be developed and enhanced. The principles of theatre design and the setting of protocols to minimise the risk of sepsis and cross contamination will also be addressed.

Veterinary Surgical Nursing – (ONLY small animals) (Option)

The aim of this module is to enhance the surgical nursing skills of the student. The development of the student's awareness of the pathophysiology of surgical conditions encountered in veterinary practice will provide an opportunity for an appreciation of the importance of a systematic approach to the planning, management and evaluation of veterinary surgical cases.

Veterinary Medical Nursing (Option)

The aim of this module is to enhance the student's medical nursing skills and further develop the use of specialised diagnostic and monitoring techniques in medical patients. The module will also increase the student's medical knowledge by providing the opportunity for the development of an understanding of the aetiology and pathophysiology of medical conditions encountered in veterinary practice to enable the student to employ a systematic approach to the planning, management and evaluation of their veterinary medical cases at every stage of their treatment.

Veterinary Diagnostic Imaging (Option)

The module aims to enhance the student's knowledge of veterinary diagnostic imaging, including emerging technologies, enabling the veterinary nurse to be able to perform or assist in the imaging of veterinary patients undergoing investigations of both medical and surgical conditions and to facilitate decision making for the selection, care and maintenance of imaging and ancillary equipment.

Entry requirements & additional information

Entry requirements

The minimum qualification for entry will be a tariff agreement of advanced standing into level 5, i.e. students must be qualified registered veterinary nurses, listed on the RCVS register on either the Equine or Small Animal List, relevant to their intended award and have a minimum of one year of post-qualification experience, taken from the date of first registration on the relevant part of the List. During their studies the student is required to be employed in, or have agreed access to placement in a suitable veterinary clinical environment for a minimum of 12 weeks annually.

This must be a general practice which is able to demonstrate a minimum of RCVS PSS tier 2 or Training Practice (TP) standard, a referral or university hospital. A memorandum of agreement must be supplied by the practice indicating both its status and willingness to support the student during the course. Students studying clinical option modules must spend a minimum of four full-time weeks per 20 credit option working in a directly relevant clinical setting. This may involve placement at a specialist practice. A similar memorandum of agreement as above will be required in this case.

RCVS Diploma in Advanced Veterinary Nursing (Equine or Small Animal) (Dip AVN). The course will also facilitate the attainment of the RCVS Diploma in Advanced Veterinary Nursing (Equine or Small Animal) (Dip AVN). This is a distinct post-qualification award made by the RCVS achieved within a higher educational framework provided by the Diploma of Higher Education Clinical Veterinary Nursing (Dip HE CVN) in conjunction with the attainment of an additional module, the Integrative Project. Please note: The Dip HE CVN offered by Myerscough College, in conjunction with the University of Central Lancashire, and the RCVS Dip AVN are two distinct awards and must be enrolled upon independently. To attain the RCVS Dip AVN candidates must:

  • Be registered on the course by the RCVS
  • Successfully complete both the Dip HE CVN and an additional module, the Integrative Project which can only be undertaken on successful completion of the Dip HE CVN
  • The award of Dip AVN is at the discretion of the RCVS

Further information regarding the Dip AVN is available from the RCVS.

Applicants for whom English is a second language must be able to demonstrate proof of International English Language Testing System (IELTS) at level 7.0 or equivalent. The applicant must forward evidence of eligibility to the College prior to acceptance on the course.

All offers may be subject to successful interview.

Learning and assessment

Year 1

All Year 1 modules are core modules and must be taken.

Year 2

This year incorporates specialist clinical optional modules.

The modules taken will be dependent on the student's planned clinical preference. All modules are year-long and students are required to take three of the five optional modules.

Learning Environment:

Learning activities on the course are diverse, including weekly lesson delivery on Bloom for each module the student is studying. Lectures, seminars, tutorials and workshops will also be delivered in the purpose-built veterinary nursing facility during the study weekends. Students will be expected to undertake extensive independent study and research to support lectures, seminars and assessments. Students will also have access to Myerscough’s virtual learning environment.


Students will face a variety of assessments including a combination of coursework, unseen examinations and practical assessments. The coursework assessment methods will include essays, reports and case study work.

We are mindful of the extra support required by students taking the blended learning route and have included in the course, study provision events at the Myerscough campus. Prior to the commencement of the course, an intensive introductory 2 day study programme will be held in early September. It is vitally important that students attend these first study days as we will be able to assess the support required, provide technical advice on the use of Canvas, discuss the course and the most suitable route for achieving the student's goals, introduce the course leader, module and personal tutors and begin lesson delivery for all modules. It is also an opportunity for students to ask any questions which they might have about the course and to meet their fellow students, beginning the development of the peer support network which they will find very helpful during their studies with us at Myerscough. In addition, three study weekends will be held annually and students are expected to attend them all as part of the course. The three study weekends which will include Saturday and Sunday sessions will typically be held in:

  • November
  • February
  • April

Year 2 of the course also involves an introductory 2 day study programme in early September and it is vitally important students attend these first study days as an introduction to Year 2 and their chosen option modules. In addition, three study weekends will be held annually and students are expected to attend them all as part of the course. These three study weekends which will include Saturday and Sunday sessions will also typically be held in November, February and April.

The weekend sessions will include theoretical and practical sessions, seminars, specialist guest speakers, interactive workshops and group discussions in addition to affording opportunities for exchange of information within peer groups, group and individual tutorial sessions with module and personal tutors.

Myerscough has excellent teaching, practical and clinical resources and specialist veterinary guest speakers, experts in their fields, who are a key component of the study weekend programmes. Accommodation on campus cannot be guaranteed but a comprehensive list of local accommodation is available on request.

An introductory area has been developed on Canvas for potential Dip HE CVN applicants. Here they will be able to view examples of the course material from each module, example assignments and lecturer profiles as well as other useful information.

The website: https://myerscough.instructure.com/

Username: CVNtaster@myerscough.ac.uk

Password: myerscoughCVN1

What work experience can I get?

The nature of the course, which embraces module outcomes from both a theoretical and clinical perspective, necessitates access to practice. Students will therefore be required to be employed in, or have agreed access to, placement in a suitable veterinary clinical environment for at least 12 weeks annually. This must be a general practice, either small animal or equine, which is able to demonstrate a minimum of RCVS Practice Standards Scheme (PSS) tier 2 or Training Practice (TP) standard.


Upon completion of the course further academic opportunities are available including the BSc (Hons) Clinical Veterinary Nursing course, which is completed part-time via blended learning. No bridging modules are required but the students must have successfully completed the Integrative Project to continue and top-up.


The course aims to provide a programme of veterinary nursing education which will enable Dip HE CVN and Dip AVN holders to analyse key academic themes in the subject area and critically evaluate the wide range of management issues within different sectors of the veterinary industry, which will therefore prepare them for a successful career in the UK or overseas. The course promotes an ethos of self-development and reflection throughout the curriculum in order to foster a greater personal awareness and the confidence necessary to manage others. The course is designed with the intention that its graduates will be able to function effectively at a managerial level within the veterinary industry. Modular content emphasises the importance of career development and planning throughout.

Examples of possible careers included:

  • Head Nurse in General Veterinary Practice
  • Senior Surgical/Medical Nurse in specialist referral Veterinary Practice
  • Lecturer/Senior Nurse in Veterinary Schools
  • Technical Advisor in Pharmaceutical Companies
  • Lecturer in Educational Establishments
  • Consultancy in Animal Health Companies
  • Managerial positions in Welfare Organisations

Professional accreditations

The Diploma of Higher Education Clinical Veterinary Nursing has been validated by the RCVS and on completion of the course the student is eligible to undertake a final module to attain the RCVS Diploma in Advanced Veterinary Nursing (Equine or Small Animal) (Dip AVN), which is awarded at the discretion of the RCVS.

Special requirements

Additional costs for items that are essential for the course include:

  • Accommodation during study periods at Myerscough College - the price for accommodation depends on where the student chooses to stay, the length of their stay, and how far in advance they book.
  • Access to broadband internet and a computer.

Additional costs for items that are essential for the course include:

  • Books - Approx. £120. Students will be provided with a reading list for each module studied. The decision to purchase any books remains with the student, and no books are considered essential.

Veterinary Nursing

Myerscough School of Veterinary Nursing has been an established provider of education and training for veterinary nurses for more than 35 years, with approval from the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons granted in 1975. In this time the College has successfully taught many small animal and equine student nurses from all parts of Britain and Europe.

Veterinary Nurses (VNs) work alongside veterinary surgeons and provide a high standard of care and treatment for animals. This includes skilled supportive care for ill animals as well as undertaking minor surgery, monitoring animals during anaesthesia, providing medical treatments and carrying out diagnostic tests.

Access to Higher Education

Gain the skills and confidence to study a degree even if you don’t hold the relevant entry qualifications. Step into the land-based industries with our Access to HE Diploma at University Centre Myerscough.

Find out more

Our Partnership with UCLan

All our Higher Education programmes are awarded by the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan). Myerscough College is an Associate School of the University of Central Lancashire, a dynamic, vibrant and contemporary university located in Preston city centre. UCLan is one of the largest universities in the UK with world-leading and internationally excellent research areas. It offers a wide range of undergraduate and postgraduate courses.