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You may notice your vet practice runs nurse clinics, but have never gone to one before. You may have always needed to see a vet rather than a nurse. However, there are lots of other things beyond say nail clipping and cuddling puppies that nurses can do!
Who are vet nurses?
A vet nurse is a qualified professional who is an associate member of the RCVS (Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons). They follow a Code of Conduct to provide a high standard of care for your pet. All vet nurses are registered on a register which is held by the RCVS.
This is like vets, who are also all registered under the RCVS. Like vets, nurses also have to complete CPD (continued professional development) yearly which keeps their knowledge up to date as medicine and the way things are doing are always being changed for the better. Behind the doors of every vet practice there is always a team of dedicated nurses on hand to help.
What can vet nurses do?
Nurses can do a lot more than you can probably imagine!
- They’re always there to hold those wriggly cats and dogs.
- They reassure their patients to give them the best experience possible, because at the end of the day we want our furry patients to be happy when visiting the vet.
- Also, they monitor anaesthetics and perform diagnostic tests.
- They look after the poorly pets that have to stay in practice away from their owners.
- They provide advice and reassurance to owners.
- And they also run nurse clinics.
What are nurse clinics?
So, your practice offers nurse clinics, what does this mean? Most practices offer nurse clinics, some more than others. A nurse clinic means you will be seeing a qualified nurse, not a vet, in the first instance. Nurses can run a variety of clinics. Let’s go through what clinics a practice may offer and what to expect from them.
These are a great way of socialising and getting your young furry friend used to being checked over and coming into practice. During this time a nurse may also be able to give a 2nd vaccination if your pet has started a course that has been previously given by a vet. During these clinics any advice on behaviour, feeding or weight can also be discussed.
Thinking about having your pet neutered but want to discuss the pros and cons, or you may just want your pet checking over before neutering, then a nurse clinic is ideal for this. A nurse can check that your pet is a nice weight, discuss the neutering process and the aftercare during this clinic.
Poorly pet clinic
Nurses can help with routine checks that a vet has requested. For example, if your pet is diabetic, a vet may say that a nurse can take a blood sample instead of having to see the vet. During this time, any questions or concerns on your pet’s treatment can be asked at this time. Blood pressure checks, these are often performed by nurses in consult, then the results reported to a vet.
Flea and worm clinic
This is the one owner’s dread, worried you’ve found a flea on your pet or seen a worm! Nurses are on hand to advise on the best ways to get rid of these pesky creatures.
Now we can all gain a few kilos but we can tell ourselves to exercise more and eat better… but our pets do not understand this and stand staring at us wanting more food. During these clinics a nurse can advise on a weight target to work towards to get your pet slimmer. Discuss a food and exercise plan. These are normally done monthly so progress can be checked and altered if needed.
Post op checks
These clinics are for patients that have had surgical procedures done at the practice, for example neutering, abdominal surgery, lump removals, bone surgeries, and many many more. During these clinics a nurse would check on how well your pet has recovered from the anaesthetic, how they are coping at home, are they eating and also check to see how any wounds are healing. Vets do also do these clinics if they need to but routinely it is a nurse clinic.
Other clinics nurses can do is nail clips, anal gland express. Different practices may run more clinics if they have the nurse time available. Some practices do charge a small fee for these clinics as you are getting professional advice, while others offer it as a free of charge service (especially to animals on a Health Plan).
When do I request to see a vet?
Nurses are unable to prescribe medication or make a diagnosis. If you feel your pet has a problem that would require medication or further investigations that you should always request to see a vet. Nurse Clinics are really for preventative or ongoing health care. If in doubt whether you should see a nurse or vet, always just ask the receptionist at the practice, they are always there to advise you. But if it’s something the nurse can’t handle that comes up unexpectedly in the consult, you will always be “passed over” to one of the vets!