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How to find the veterinary nurse job that’s right for you

Written by: Vet Times Jobs
Published on: 5 Jun 2015

Vet nurse

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A veterinary nurse’s job varies hugely from day to day. One hour a vet nurse could be supporting a vet surgeon in an operating theatre, the next they could be cleaning kennels or liaising with clients, providing information on animal welfare and care.

However, the responsibilities of a vet nurse will differ depending on the workplace. The job is always a diverse one, but it’s still likely to vary from surgery to surgery, and even more between charities, universities and beyond.

With every individual thriving in a different type of workplace it’s important that vet nurses find the job that’s right for them.

Whether you’re planning on becoming a veterinary nurse through workplace training or have completed a higher education qualification, you’ll want to do some digging to find a job that will give you:

  • great experience
  • support and guidance where you need it
  • the right level of responsibility
  • the opportunity to do elements of the job you have a real passion for

With that in mind, we’ve put together a few bits of advice for vet nurses either looking for their first job or a new opportunity.

Look outside the box

When we say look outside the "box", we mean look outside the surgery.

It’s easy to fall into a bit of a rut when it comes to looking for a job in the veterinary industry, with many seeing a vet surgery or hospital as their only option. However, there are vacancies for veterinary nurses beyond your typical surgery role.

As a qualified vet nurse you could embark on a career in a university, charity or even a specialist centre dedicated to caring for animals either with a particular ailment or of a specific breed.

Start searching for vet nurse jobs in a variety of fields today

As you look at a wider range of options, remember to also investigate what each job entails. Read about the organisation you would be working for in order to understand more about what they offer and how you see yourself fitting in.

Broaden your horizons

When you’re looking for a new veterinary nurse job, consider the level of support you’ll receive to advance your career or become more confident in your current role.

Look for opportunities that offer a great CPD allowance to help support you achieve your goals and continue learning.

While you’re in a vet nurse role, think about how you direct the use of your CPD hours too. Consider how different training and development opportunities could help guide your career into a specialist field or new workplace. This will help give you the skills and experience required when you decide to change jobs – perhaps into one you feel is a better fit for you.

Understand what you want from your career

By building a career plan you’ll be able to further plan the use of CPD hours and ongoing development.

Perhaps at this point in your career you would like to build your knowledge and experience of working in-surgery, but would love to go into teaching at a later date. In that case, you will want to tailor your training to focus on the skills required by universities and colleges.

Tip: Think of your dream job in five or in 10 year’s time. Have a look for the jobs on Vet Times Jobs and make a note of the skills and experience required. From there, tailor your career plan so you can be en route to get a similar role in future.

Build a network

Working as a veterinary nurse you’ll have the opportunity to build a network of vet professionals, whether with colleagues or via networking and CPD events – even from your higher education training.

By building a network you’ll benefit from being in the know about new job opportunities, and will have the chance to speak to others who have perhaps "been there, done that" in a job role you’re considering.

If you find a real connection with someone who has progressed in their career to a stage where you see yourself in the future, why not ask them to help support you as a kind of mentor? They could offer invaluable help in guiding and supporting you to find the right role for you.

Know yourself

Although vet nurses generally need to have some soft skills there are lots of other skills and qualities that will make them better for one opportunity compared to another.

For example, some veterinary nurse roles will include occasional receptionist duties, which may not be for you. On the other hand, you may see it as an opportunity to step away from the more general vet nurse responsibilities.

Understand what elements of being a vet nurse make you satisfied in your job and look for a position that offers you the opportunity to enjoy them.

Of course, there will always be elements of a job we don’t like quite as much, but it’s important to get a good balance.

Being a passive job seeker is okay

Our final bit of advice would be to keep in mind that being a passive job seeker is okay – you don’t have to be urgently looking for work or unemployed to keep an eye on positions as they come up.

By watching out for new opportunities as they come through you’ll be building an idea of what there is out there; you’ll have the chance to broaden your knowledge of the veterinary jobs market and keep an eye out for the perfect job you may just want to include in your career plan!

If you’re ready to start having a look at the different opportunities available right now, sign up to Vet Times Jobs for regular vet nurse job updates.