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Certificate in Advanced Veterinary Nursing

About the course

This innovative and dynamic Certificate, delivered at University Centre Myerscough, awarded by the University of Central Lancashire and validated by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, is accessible, flexible, progressive and professionally recordable and will fill a niche in veterinary nursing education provision. It has been structured in such a way that will facilitate both the personal and professional development of qualified registered veterinary nurses and positively assist those who are returning to academic work. Through a combination of engaging classroom and online sessions, experienced and interesting guest lecturers and personalised student support, RVNs can be confident that they will receive the best support to ensure they reach their full potential.

With the role of RVNs evolving in veterinary practice there has not been a more exciting time to be a member of the veterinary nursing profession. This course allows RVNs to further advance their knowledge and skills in an area that is of most professional interest and relevance to them, over a minimum of only 1 academic year, making continued engagement with education a viable option for all qualified veterinary nurses. Obtaining the Certificate in Advanced Veterinary Nursing will allow RVNs to showcase their advanced skillset and knowledge, benefitting not only the professional, educational and personal development of the RVN, but the veterinary industry as a whole.

There are 5 different Cert AVN designations for RVNs to choose from at University Centre Myerscough, which include:

  • Certificate Advanced Veterinary Nursing (Dentistry)
  • Certificate Advanced Veterinary Nursing (Surgical Nursing Care)
  • Certificate Advanced Veterinary Nursing (Teaching, Coaching & Mentoring)
  • Certificate Advanced Veterinary Nursing (Anaesthesia & Analgesia)
  • Certificate Advanced Veterinary Nursing (Behaviour, Training, Health & Welfare)

Course modules

Year 1

Evidence-Based Practice and Research Skills

Compulsory Module – completed for all designations. The aim of this module is to foster research awareness, the development of transferrable skills, including the capacity for self-management and the concept of life-long learning. It will also enable students to develop the skills to locate and critically appraise research and present this information to an acceptable academic standard and cultivate the student’s knowledge of a topic from their professional discipline as a basis for future action. Experimental and exploratory designs will be taught so that data and observations can be assessed for accuracy and reliability. The appropriateness of the investigational or exploratory methods will be explored together with suitable data analytical techniques. Methods of reporting the results of scientific investigations and explorations will be appraised.

Anatomy, Physiology and Common Dental, Oral and Maxillofacial Conditions

Compulsory Module – designation: Cert AVN (Dentistry) The aim of this module is to enhance the student’s critical knowledge of normal and abnormal anatomy and physiology of the skull, dentition and supporting structures. It will also develop the student’s ability to identify pathology during patient assessment, accurately document these findings on dental charts, and critically discuss potential veterinary treatments for a range of conditions encountered in general veterinary practice and referral settings.

Veterinary Nursing Support for Dental, Oral and Maxillofacial Conditions

Compulsory Module – designation: Cert AVN (Dentistry) The aim of this module is to enhance the specialist dental veterinary nursing skills of the student including the preparation, use and maintenance of a range of equipment. It will provide an opportunity for an appreciation of a systematic approach to the planning, management and evaluation of this specialist area of veterinary surgery and how this planning helps in optimal support of the patient and veterinary surgeon during treatment. As well as exploring the role of the veterinary nurse with surgical cases, the module will develop the student’s critical awareness regarding the range of oral homecare products and interventions available for use, including their proven efficacy in maintaining optimal oral health.

Advanced Surgical Nursing Techniques

Compulsory Module – designation: Cert AVN (Surgical Nursing Care) The module aims to prepare veterinary nurses for work in specialist veterinary theatres and to enhance their surgical nursing knowledge and skills including developing the practical skills required to undertake a range of Schedule 3 procedures. The student's ability to appraise the design, implement and manage protocols for the preparation of the theatre environment, personnel and patients in relation to specific requirements of general and specialist surgical procedures will be developed and enhanced. The module will also develop the student's critical awareness of the role of the surgical veterinary nurse in relation to maintaining the theatre environment and instrumentation whilst assisting with specific surgical procedures, and whilst undertaking Schedule 3 procedures.

Veterinary Nursing Support for Specific Surgical Conditions

Compulsory Module – designation: Cert AVN (Surgical Nursing Care) The module aims to enhance and develop the student’s knowledge of specific surgical procedures and approaches to inform individualised, evidence-based nursing care for every surgical patient. This will be fostered through increasing the student’s awareness and underpinning knowledge of the pathophysiology of a number of specific surgical conditions. The students will explore the importance of a systematic approach to the planning, management and evaluation of veterinary surgical nursing care, and develop their skills in this respect for the benefit of their surgical patients and the education of their colleagues.

Preparing to Teach in Veterinary Nursing

Compulsory Module – designation: Cert AVN (Teaching, Coaching & Mentoring) The aim of this module is to enhance the student’s teaching skills in practice, developing them as a professional role model within veterinary practice. Underpinning theories, relevant to teaching will be explored such as; recognising learning styles, reflective practice and the value of Codes of Conduct. Exploring theories, techniques, styles and processes of teaching will enhance the students’ abilities concerning the use of their knowledge to motivate and influence individual staff members and teams, in order to establish powerful and lasting change within practice.

Coaching and Mentoring in Veterinary Nursing

Compulsory Module – designation: Cert AVN (Teaching, Coaching & Mentoring) The aim of this module is to enhance the student’s coaching and mentoring skills in practice, developing them as a professional role model within veterinary practice. Underpinning theories, relevant to mentoring and coaching will be explored such as; recognising learning and communication styles, reflective practice and the value of Codes of Conduct. Exploring theories, techniques, styles and processes of mentoring and coaching will enhance the students’ abilities concerning the use of their knowledge to motivate and influence individual staff members and teams, in order to establish powerful and lasting change within practice.

Advanced Anaesthetic Nursing

Compulsory Module – designation: Cert AVN (Anaesthesia & Analgesia) This module is intended to enhance and extend the knowledge and skills of students in relation to the provision of safe and effective anaesthesia. The role of the veterinary nurse in patient assessment and anaesthetic planning will be considered along with appraisal of anaesthetic protocols for specific patient needs. Patient management during anaesthetic maintenance and recovery will be also be discussed, to include monitoring and recognition of anaesthetic emergencies. The module aims to empower veterinary nurses in relation to their anaesthetic nursing decision-making, education of colleagues in practice and the development of anaesthetic protocols.

Veterinary Analgesia and Pain Management

Compulsory Module – designation: Cert AVN (Anaesthesia & Analgesia) This module will enhance and extend the knowledge and skills of students in relation to the causes and types of pain, as well as the recognition, assessment and management of pain in veterinary patients. The student’s knowledge relating both acute and chronic pain linked to a deeper understanding of the neurophysiology and pathophysiology of pain will be developed, empowering and enabling them to make sound clinical nursing decisions in practice as their patient’s advocate. Traditional and complementary analgesic interventions will be evaluated, as will the role of the veterinary nurse in supporting both their patients and clients, and educating their colleagues to enhance standards of patient care in their workplace.

Optimising Animal Health and Welfare in Contemporary Veterinary Practice

Compulsory module – designation: Cert AVN (Behaviour, Training, Health & Welfare) The module will focus on promoting animal welfare through enabling students to understand the basics of normal animal behaviour and recognise the factors affecting human-animal interactions. Students will build upon their existing knowledge of animal welfare legislation and provision through evaluating the normal ethology of species encountered in small animal veterinary practice. Students will learn about indicators of poor welfare, and the importance of welfare audits, including the role of the veterinary professional in recognising indications of potential animal abuse. Students will investigate the practical applications of promoting optimal welfare of species encountered in small animal veterinary practice, including the provision of nursing clinics, socialisation events, and client education.

Veterinary Behaviour and Training: Principles and Practice

Compulsory module – designation: Cert AVN (Behaviour, Training, Health & Welfare) This module will introduce theories of animal learning to develop students’ understanding of the principles of animal behaviour in more depth, looking at the normal biological development of behaviour in species encountered in small animal veterinary practice. Students will learn about using learning theories in order to facilitate basic training, understanding how learning and developmental processes can influence the behavioural repertoire of an animal. Students will learn about common behavioural issues in species encountered in small animal veterinary practice, including the factors affecting their development and the principles of addressing behavioural issues using appropriate behavioural therapy and pharmacological intervention. Using case histories and simulated scenarios, students will apply the information learnt to address real animal behaviour issues, taking into account ethical, professional, practical and communication issues.

Entry requirements & additional information

Entry requirements

All students must be qualified registered veterinary nurses (RVN), listed on the RCVS register on the Small Animal or Equine List, holding the Level 3 Diploma in Veterinary Nursing, or the FdSc Veterinary Nursing, or the Diploma of Higher Education Clinical Veterinary Nursing, or the BSc (Hons) Veterinary Nursing qualifications (or equivalencies).

Prior to commencing their studies, all students must provide confirmation that they have enrolled with the RCVS, indicating where they intend to study the Cert AVN along with the title of the qualification (chosen designation). Upon completion, students will then be eligible to apply to the RCVS to claim their RCVS Certificate in Advanced Veterinary Nursing status in their chosen designation; this will be awarded at the discretion of the RCVS.

Please note: students who are Equine RVNs can only apply for the Cert AVN (Teaching, Coaching and Mentoring) designation.

Students holding the Level 3 Diploma in Veterinary Nursing Licence to Practise qualification must additionally have a minimum of twelve months of post-qualification experience and 15 hours CPD, taken from the date of first registration on the RCVS List of RVNs.

During their studies students are required to be employed in, or have agreed access to placement in, a suitable professional/clinical environment, tailored to their area of focussed study for a minimum of 12 weeks per academic year. A letter must be supplied by the practice as part of the application indicating both its status and willingness to support the student during the course regarding access to a suitable caseload. A similar letter as above will be required where students are seconded to another practice as part of the course. Students who work as locum RVNs are advised to ring and speak to a member of the veterinary nursing teaching team to discuss their situation and suitability for the course.

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

Students will undertake a variety of assessments including a combination of coursework, unseen written examinations and practical assessments. The coursework assessment methods will include essays, patient case reports, case studies, reflective journals and reflective columns. The practical assessments include practical skills assessments, problem-solving triple jump assessments and presentations.

Learning activities on the course are diverse, including weekly lesson delivery on Myerscough’s virtual learning environment, Canvas, 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, with technology in place for effective remote lesson delivery during the modules too. Students will be expected to undertake extensive independent study and research to support lectures, seminars and assessments. Students will have unlimited access to Canvas in order to facilitate an engaging and supportive learning environment away from the College environment.

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 per academic year. This must be a small animal practice which is able to demonstrate a minimum of RCVS PSS General Practice or Veterinary Hospital accreditation, or Training Practice (TP) standard, or be a Referral or University Hospital.

Additional Information:

We are mindful of the extra support required by students taking the blended learning approach to their studies and have included in the course study provision events at University Centre Myerscough’s Preston campus. At the start of the course in early September, an intensive introductory 2 day study programme will be held. It is vitally important that students attend these first study days so the teaching team can 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 invaluable during their studies at University Centre Myerscough. In addition, three study weekends will be held 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
  • January
  • March

Specific dates within these months will be confirmed in advance of starting the course, with detailed timetables being issued to students in advance of their attendances.

The weekend sessions will include theoretical and practical sessions, seminars, interactive workshops and group discussions in addition to affording opportunities for exchange of information within peer groups, and during group and individual tutorial sessions with module and personal tutors. University Centre Myerscough has excellent teaching, practical and clinical resources and invites in specialist veterinary guest speakers, experts in their fields, who are a key component of the study weekend programmes where appropriate. Accommodation on campus cannot be guaranteed but a comprehensive list of local accommodation is available on request.

Progression

Upon completion of the course further advancement of academic knowledge is available via completion of the BSc (Hons) Veterinary Nursing top-up degree (available at University Centre Myerscough), subject to performance on the Certificate and potential interview.

Careers

What careers can you follow?

The course aims to provide a programme of veterinary nursing education which will enable students to analyse key academic themes in their chosen 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, and the modular content emphasises the importance of career development and planning throughout.

Examples of possible careers included:

  • Head Nurse in General Veterinary and Referral Practice
  • Senior Surgical / Anaesthesia Nurse in specialist referral Veterinary Practice
  • Specialist dental nurse / work in referral dental practice
  • Behaviour, training, health and welfare veterinary nurse in 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 Certificate in Advanced Veterinary Nursing has been validated by the RCVS.

Special requirements

Access to a personal computer, the internet and a current email account is essential, and recommended computer software requirements are:

  • Microsoft Windows 10 (or equivalent)
  • Broadband internet access

The following software is available as free downloadable software and will also be required:

  • Adobe Acrobat Reader DC

Extra Costs:

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

  • Books - approximately £200 (recommended texts will be indicated on reading lists).
  • Travel and accommodation costs associated with the study weekends.
Myerscough College - Veterinary Nursing Courses
Myerscough College - Veterinary Nursing Courses

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.