What does a veterinary nurse do?

Veterinary nurses are multitalented individuals who can be called upon to assist in all manner of procedures within a veterinary practice. Some of the most common duties carried out by veterinary nurses include: administering medications to animals under the supervision of a vet, keeping relevant medical records up-to-date, maintaining stock levels of medical supplies, sterilising and maintaining equipment and providing aid during consultations. If you’re a person who enjoys the challenges of multitasking and you’re passionate about caring for animals, then a career in veterinary nursing may be for you.


  • Provide various forms of assistance to veterinarians
  • Maintain, sterilise and keep inventory of medical equipment and supplies
  • Administer medication under the supervision of a veterinarian
  • Fulfil reception and administrative duties

What skills do I need to be a veterinary nurse?

Becoming a veterinary nurse requires constant contact with animals so first and foremost, a deep love of working and caring for animals is a must. Being able to communicate effectively is also a plus, as working as a veterinary nurse requires you to communicate with vets and pet owners in highly stressful situations. If you’re able to keep your cool whilst juggling different tasks then this job may be for you.

  • Must have a love of animals
  • Have an intuitive knowledge of an animal’s needs
  • Be able to multitask
  • Communicate well with both colleagues and clients
  • Keep a cool head in stressful situations


Becoming a veterinary nurse opens a lot of doors for your future career pathways. You can learn industry specific skills that with extra experience or qualifications will see you eligible to work in a number of other roles within the animal care industry. Vet nurses can pursue a number of different specialisations, and can work in a wide variety of contexts.

Animal trainer

You can use your love of animals and your knowledge of handling them to work in the specialised industry of animal training. You can work with a variety of different animals, specialising in behavioural correction or training animals such as guide dogs or assistant dogs.


As a veterinary nurse, you can combine your work experience with extra accreditations to become a fully qualified veterinarian if you choose to go down this path. This level of qualification would see you as being the highest medical authority within a veterinary practice and open up a wide range of new and exciting responsibilities.


With additional industry qualifications or workplace experience, a veterinary nurse may use some of their skills to become a zookeeper. Becoming a zoo keeper would provide you with the fulfilling opportunity to apply your skills in a new and exciting setting whilst working with a wider range of exotic and wild species.

Study pathways for veterinary nurses

Getting the right qualifications, traineeships or on the job experience will be the head start you need to begin working in the animal care industry.

Getting Started

There are courses available to equip you with the qualifications you need to start working in the industry.

Skill Building

Your education will help you develop industry specific skills.

Professional Development

Combine your qualifications with workplace experience to hone your abilities.

Industry Recognition

At the completion of your study and work experience you can apply for membership with the Veterinary Nurses Council of Australia to improve your networking opportunities.

Getting a job after graduation

Put your training to good use and get the best professional head start in your animal care career. Take a look at our sample resume and cover letter and put your best foot forward when you apply for veterinary nursing jobs.

Job Prospects and Salaries

Although the forecasted level of job openings for the near future is expected to be low, the skills developed as a veterinary nurse opens up potential career paths in similar roles within the industry.