Skip to main content

FdSc Veterinary Nursing

About the course

*This course will not be running until provisionally 2025.

The course is delivered at University Centre Myerscough and awarded by the University of Central Lancashire. This foundation degree provides opportunity for those who wish to develop a career in this discipline to satisfy the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) requirements to be included on their register of Veterinary Nurses.

The course focusses on the application of theory to professional practice and will facilitate both the personal and professional development of those wishing to become qualified Registered Veterinary Nurses.

To satisfy RCVS regulations, the course includes significant periods of practice-based placement in each year of the course and students will be expected to complete a minimum of 1800 hours in an Approved Training Practice by the end of the course.

As a Myerscough Veterinary Nursing student, you will benefit from individualised support within a welcoming culture, ensuring that you follow in the footsteps of our previous students with their outstanding high achievements and excellent student satisfaction.

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, exotic, equine and wildlife 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, exotic, equine and wildlife 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, exotic, equine and wildlife 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

The veterinary nursing placement will provide students with an opportunity to develop, apply and consolidate knowledge and skills of veterinary nursing practice. The placement will help students to apply theory to practice and form a foundation and perspective from which to gain maximum benefit in the final year of the course. The veterinary nursing placement will enable students to apply techniques of reflective learning to the work experience, give students experience of employment and exposure to the diversity of experience of a professional work environment. The module will provide students with evidence to satisfy the relevant RCVS bye-laws as to their professional Day One Competences and Skills by the completion of a minimum of 80% of a Nursing Progress Log. Please note: the successful completion of this module is an essential requirement for progression on the programme, but the credits are notional and are therefore not counted towards the overall qualification classification.

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.

Research Skills Project

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.

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

This module will assist student veterinary nurses nearing the point of qualification for the RCVS register to appreciate the concept of professional accountability and their duties as registered practitioners. They will consider some of the moral and ethical conflicts that may be encountered in caring for animals and working with colleagues and learn to apply strategies for resolving such conflicts and/or how to seek appropriate expert help. The module will also prepare students for assessment of their practical day one competences.

Medical Nursing and Laboratory Diagnostics

The module aims to provide students with the knowledge and nursing skills required to evaluate and manage patients with a diverse range of medical conditions both in the veterinary practice and home environments. The module also aims to develop the student’s knowledge of the laboratory techniques employed both in-house and externally to assist with veterinary diagnosis of medical conditions, including an awareness of the relevant health and safety implications associated with such diagnostics.

Emergency and Critical Care Veterinary Nursing

This module aims to develop and enhance the theoretical knowledge, problem-solving and giving an insight into the practical skills required to assess and manage emergency and critically ill patients within a multi-disciplinary team, enabling students to plan, implement and evaluate appropriate nursing care plans. The module also aims to enable the students to understand and utilise advanced support and monitoring techniques and equipment under direct veterinary supervision.

Entry requirements & additional information

Entry requirements

5 GCSE passes at Grade C (4) 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 with a good grounding in science / biology / anatomy / physiology / mammals (including a merit in at least one biology based unit)
  • Alternative equivalent qualifications will also be considered positively, for example Scottish Highers, Irish Highers, International Baccalaureate, NVQ Level 3 in a related discipline, Access to Higher Education in a related discipline (Please note: this is not an exhaustive list of potential equivalencies).

Applicants with alternative equivalent qualifications are encouraged to contact the Admissions Team for further advice and guidance.

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.

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 experience of working with animals and a sound appreciation of the role of a veterinary nurse by supplying evidence of a minimum of:

  • 10 days (70 hours) current work experience in one or more UK-based small animal veterinary practice/s.
  • 10 days (70 hours) current work experience in one or more non-clinical working environments with live animals. Examples include, but are not limited to: kennels / catteries / animal shelters / stables / pet shops / zoos etc. (Please note: non-clinical experience cannot include pet ownership).

Current is defined in this instance as preferably within 2 years of the proposed start date of the course with the majority of the experience being preferably within the last twelve months. Applicants are requested to attend one of the scheduled HE Veterinary Nursing Applicant Days.

Applicants holding non-UK qualifications are advised to contact the RCVS (Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons 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.

If you are unsure whether your Level 3 qualification overall is, and/or the modules/units therein are, sufficient to meet our entry criteria please email the Higher Education Admissions Team – with the following information:

  • In the subject bar please put ‘FdSc VN entry criteria query’

In the email please specify:

  • Awarding body of your course, e.g. Pearson / AQA / City & Guilds / ABC…
  • Full title of your qualification
  • The titles of the units you are studying within the qualification
  • A link to the qualification specification online (if you can find this)

The admissions team will review the content and reply to you in due course.

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.


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. They will also be supported by their Course Tutor and allocated HE Placement Officer throughout Year 2.

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 (two, 5-week blocks) and 3 (one, 7-week block and one, 5-week block) and the whole of Year 2 spent in work placement (30-week block) 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.


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.


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 Certificate in Advanced Veterinary Nursing courses.

Professional accreditations

The FdSc Veterinary Nursing has been validated by the University of Central Lancashire and the RCVS and on completion of the course, a minimum of 1800 hours practice training in an Approved Training Practice, 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 training 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.

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

  • RCVS Enrolment Fee in year 1 – approximately £202 (subject to annual increases)
  • RCVS Registration fee in year 3 – approximately £136 (subject to annual increases

Please follow attached link:

  • Student Veterinary Nursing uniform – approximately £70 (for 2 x trousers and 2 x tunics).
  • Accommodation during study periods at Myerscough College if choose to live in.
  • Access to broadband internet and a computer.

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

  • Books - approx. £120 (at least a core VN textbook and veterinary dictionary recommended).
  • Nursing equipment (stethoscope etc) - up to £85 (how much is spent above or below this £85 mark is up to the student and additional items are available to order alongside uniforms)