FdSc Veterinary Nursing

About the course

The course is delivered at University Centre Myerscough and awarded by the University of Central Lancashire.

Veterinary nursing is a major specialism of Myerscough College. This Foundation Degree, provides a progression route for those who wish to develop a career in this discipline and attain registered veterinary nursing status. To satisfy RCVS regulations it will include a minimum of 1800 hours spent at an approved training practice (TP). On completion of the course the student will be able to:

  • Demonstrate practical veterinary nursing clinical competency based on an underpinning knowledge of veterinary nursing practice at Foundation Degree level.
  • Satisfy the RCVS requirements to be included on their register of listed veterinary nurses.
  • Be aware of communication and interpersonal skills whilst working within a multidisciplinary team and interfacing with clients.
  • Appreciate the value of critical reflection in personal and professional development, encouraging the concept of lifelong learning.
  • Realise the importance of the impingement of health and safety, ethical, legal, marketing and animal welfare issues on veterinary practice.
  • Progress onto the BSc (Hons) Veterinary Nursing course providing they meet the entry requirements of that course.

Demonstrate an increased awareness of employability skills, sustainability and the significance of internationalisation in their chosen field of study.

Course modules

Year 1

Form and Function

This module aims to provide the student veterinary nurse with a comprehensive insight into the normal structure and functions of the major body systems of dogs and cats. The student should also develop the practical skills necessary to identify visually, or by palpation, the key anatomical features and landmarks required in day to day nursing practice of dogs and cats. This unit will provide underpinning knowledge to aid in developing appreciation of how disruption to normal physiology relates to disease and influences the provision of holistic nursing care. This will facilitate the student’s ability to develop appropriate nursing skills in the practice situation, which is intrinsic within both the course philosophy and its structures.

Anatomy, Physiology and Preventative Health Care

This module aims to develop the student’s knowledge and skills relating to preventative health care strategies in cats, dogs, small mammals, avian and exotic species. This includes consideration of the physiology of body systems specifically linked to the maintenance of optimal health, key anatomical and physiological differences between species, and the effects of disorder and disease upon the consequent nursing requirements of sick patients. The provision of nurse clinics and importance of client education in the maintenance of optimal patient health will also be a key feature of this module.

Applied Animal Health and Welfare

This module aims to develop the student’s knowledge and skills relating to the health and welfare of cats, dogs, small mammals, avian and exotic species. This includes consideration of relevant legislation, quarantine and the movement of animals between countries, methods of animal identification, knowledge of animal behaviour and the safe handling and restraint of animals. The module will also develop the student’s knowledge and appreciation of Health & Safety and hygiene within the veterinary practice environment for the benefit of themselves, their colleagues, clients and patients, to include consideration of equipment maintenance, infectious agents, methods of infection control, personal hygiene standards and how to maintain a safe clinical environment.

Veterinary Nursing In-patient Care

The aim of this module is to establish and develop the essential veterinary nursing skills required to safely assist as a ward nurse in the systematic and holistic assessment, monitoring, medicating, laboratory sample collection and general management of a range of medical and surgical in-patients with a variety of conditions and injuries. This will include cats, dogs, small mammals, avian and exotic species. The module also aims to provide the student with the necessary theoretical knowledge to be able to devise holistic care plans for their hospitalised patients, account for their differing nursing requirements relating to species, life-stage and temperament, and the practical skills to be able to perform required interventions efficiently, safely and effectively. The module will enable the student to contribute to the everyday running of the practice and enhance their employability.

Personal, Professional Development and Employability Skills

The aim of this module is to enable the student to develop their knowledge of working within the organisational context of small animal veterinary practice. It aims to facilitate an understanding of the dynamics of communication within a veterinary setting, including inter-professional relationships and relationships with veterinary clients, whilst bearing in mind the relevant legislation governing their activities. The student’s basic knowledge relating to working in different areas of practice will also be developed, including reception, theatre, anaesthesia and radiography to enhance their employability skills. The module will also enhance their personal development and transferable skills including development of academic writing, literature searching and research, Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) Nursing Progress Log (NPL) compilation skills, and graduate employability skills. It will prepare the student for placement in practice and working towards professional registration as a veterinary nurse.

Veterinary Pharmacology

The module facilitates an understanding of veterinary pharmacology and important issues relating to the use of drugs in veterinary practice including the prescription, dispensing and administration of medicines, the legal obligations and health and safety implications.

Year 2

Veterinary Nursing Placement

Students will work in practice as a member of the veterinary team developing veterinary nursing skills and compiling evidence of practical clinical competency as prescribed by the RCVS. During this time they will be supported by the practice placement officer, course tutor, module tutors, personal tutor and clinical coach. The students will be expected to develop and maintain a professional portfolio during this year by utilising an on-line tool which facilitates reflection and portfolio compilation. Duration will be 32 weeks.

Year 3

Anaesthesia and Diagnostic Imaging

This module facilitates knowledge of anaesthesia and anaesthetic monitoring in clinical veterinary practice, in addition to facilitating theoretical and practical competence in the important field of diagnostic medicine. Underpinning knowledge regarding anaesthesia preparation, maintenance and monitoring of the patient and anaesthetic equipment will be developed, in addition to key drug groups, recognising specific risks, and anaesthetic emergencies, responding to emergencies appropriately. Diagnostic imaging will include radiography and emerging imaging modalities, underpinned by safe working practices in the veterinary environment.

Peri-operative Veterinary Nursing

The aims of the module are to enable the student to prepare the theatre environment, instrumentation, personnel and patients for a range of surgical procedures. Efficient management of resources and assistance during surgical procedures will also be developed. The strategies behind minimising the risk of sepsis, cross-contamination and surgical site infections will also be addressed within operating theatre suites. The module will develop an appreciation of the need to manage and care for patients from admittance through to discharge including home care, convalescence and wound healing and management. In addition health and safety will be focussed upon within the operating theatre environment.

Preparing for Professional Practice

The 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 in order to prepare them for the transition to qualified, registered veterinary nurse. The module will also enhance and assess the student’s practical day one skills / competences via an OSCE.

Research Skills Project (1.5 module)

The module will foster research awareness, the development of transferrable skills, including the capacity for self-management and the concept of life-long learning. It will enable students to develop the skills to locate and critically appraise primary research and present this information to an acceptable academic standard, cultivating their knowledge of a topic from their professional discipline as a basis for future action, increasing their employability skills. The module will also enable the student to undertake an in-depth literature review of an area which is of specific interest to them and is related to veterinary nursing to further develop their research and critical appraisal skills. They will be able to demonstrate their ability to work independently in the production of a substantial piece of work, enhancing their employability. The student will negotiate the specific aims of their critical appraisal and subsequent literature review with their supervisor.

Medical and Critical Care Veterinary Nursing (1.5 module)

The module aims to provide students with the knowledge and advanced nursing skills required to evaluate and manage small animal patients with a diverse range of medical conditions both in the practice and home environment. The module also aims to develop the student’s knowledge of the laboratory techniques employed both in-house and externally to diagnose medical conditions and an awareness of the relevant health and safety implications. Students will aim to develop and enhance their theoretical knowledge, problem-solving, practical skills required to assess and manage emergency and critically ill patients within a multi-disciplinary team. This will enable students to plan, implement and evaluate appropriate nursing care plans, for both medical and critical care patients.

Entry requirements & additional information

Entry requirements

5 GCSE passes at Grade C or above (including Maths and English or equivalent and one other science subject). Equivalent qualifications may be acceptable but must be approved by the RCVS.

Plus 56 UCAS Tariff points from one or more of the following:

  • 2 A-levels (A2) including a biological science at C
  • BTEC/C&G Level 3 in an animal based subject (including a distinction in at least one biology based unit)
  • 2 Scottish Highers at C or above
  • 3 Irish Highers at C or above
  • International Baccalaureate at 24 points
  • NVQ Level 3 in a relevant discipline

AS levels, BTEC Subsidiary Diploma and Scottish Intermediate 2s may be used to contribute to entry requirements but they are not sufficient for entry on their own. Alternative equivalent qualifications will also be considered positively.

Applicants who believe they may be eligible for Accreditation of Prior Certificated and/or Experiential Learning (APCL/APEL) for certain modules will be considered on an individual basis.

In addition applicants must demonstrate a sound knowledge base of the role of a veterinary nurse by supplying evidence of a minimum 20 days experience in a small animal veterinary practice with 10 days being completed prior to interview. Current is defined in this instance as within 2 years of the proposed start date of the course with the majority of the experience being within the last twelve months. Please note that experience in a cattery, kennels, pet shop or similar, although useful experience, will not satisfy this requirement.

Applicants holding non-UK qualifications are advised to contact the RCVS (Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons www.rcvs.org.uk) to confirm their eligibility to enrol. 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

Learning Environment

Learning activities on the course are diverse, including weekly lesson delivery for each module the student is studying, including lectures, seminars, tutorials, practical sessions and workshops. Students will be expected to undertake extensive independent study and research to support lectures, seminars and assessments. Group work and collaboration will form an important part of the course and the student’s personal and professional development. Students will also have access to specialist IT hardware and software where necessary to support their studies.

Assessment

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

Additional Information:

We are mindful of the extra support required by students taking the FdSc, especially during their Year 2 practice placement. The College’s virtual learning environment (VLE) Canvas will be utilised to deliver work to students in Year 2 to monitor their progress, develop their clinical skills further and prepare them for returning to study in Year 3.

Myerscough has excellent teaching, practical and clinical resources and have excellent links with specialist veterinary guest speakers, experts in their fields, who are invited to deliver lectures for the students throughout various modules. This provides the students with real-world examples of veterinary case management and often helps guide their future career choices and decisions regarding potentially specialising in practice. Accommodation on campus is available for students and further information about this can be obtained via the Accommodations Team at Myerscough College.

What work experience can I get?

Students must complete a minimum of 1800 hours placement in an approved small animal veterinary training practice (TP) in the U.K. This will involve block release placements in years 1 and 3 and the whole of Year 2 spent in work placement to comply with the RCVS regulations. Students can complete these placements in any TP and will have the opportunity to experience different types of veterinary practice should they wish to, including emergency practices and specialist referral practices.

Progression

Successful FdSc VN candidates may be able to progress on to the BSc (Hons) Veterinary Nursing Top-up degree course, providing they have met the entry criteria. Applicants for the BSc (Hons) Veterinary Nursing course must have Foundation Degree in Veterinary Nursing at a minimum of merit and have satisfied all the RCVS requirements to enrol as a Registered Veterinary Nurse. Applicants must also produce evidence of successfully completing a research based module at Level 5 to merit standard.

Careers

The course aims to provide a programme of veterinary nursing education which will enable FdSc 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:

  • Nurse in General Veterinary Practice
  • Nurse in Animal Health Charities
  • Instructor in Educational Establishments

Career opportunities could be further enhanced by progressing to the BSc (Hons) Veterinary Nursing or Diploma Higher Education Clinical Veterinary Nursing and Advanced Veterinary Nursing course, leading to BSc (Hons) Clinical Veterinary Nursing (Top-up) degree.

Professional accreditations

The FdSc Veterinary Nursing has been validated by the University of Central Lancashire and the RCVS and on completion of the course and the Nursing Progress Log, the student will be eligible to apply for entry to the register of veterinary nurses, which is maintained by the RCVS.

Special requirements

Students must complete a minimum of 1800 hours placement in an approved small animal veterinary practice. This will involve block release placements in first and third year, and the whole of Year 2 spent in work placement. This is to comply with the RCVS regulations. During this time they will complete the Nursing Progress Log which will provide evidence of their competence of the RCVS Day One Skills and Day One Competences.

Both these criteria must be fulfilled to enable the student to successfully achieve the target award.

Extra Costs:

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

· RCVS Enrolment Fee in year 1 – approximately £170 (subject to annual increases)

· RCVS Registration fee in year 3 – approximately £120 (subject to annual increases)

Please follow attached link: http://www.rcvs.org.uk/document-library/vn-enrolment-form-and-guidance-notes/

· Student Veterinary Nursing uniform – approximately £70 (for 2 x trousers and 2 x tunics).

Additional costs for opportunities and items that are optional for the course include:

· Books - £120

· Human First Aid Course (optional) – approximately £45

· Nursing equipment (stethoscope etc) - up to £85 (available to order alongside uniforms)

· Access to broadband internet and a computer

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.

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.