Veterinary nursing


Ratification Date: 01 Feb 2010

Position Statement

The use of the title ‘veterinary nurse’ should be restricted to those who hold the Australian nationally accredited Certificate IV in Veterinary Nursing or its equivalent. All other veterinary clinic employees should be called receptionists, animal assistants or animal attendants.

Qualified veterinary nurses play a significant role in the provision of veterinary services.

The AVA recognises the importance of veterinary nurse training and will continue to promote and participate in the development of training programs for veterinary nurses, and encourage their continuing education.

Veterinarians and practice owners should aim to employ qualified veterinary nurses and encourage all employees working with animals to complete the national training program and support them while doing so.


Veterinary nurses, under the supervision of veterinarians, provide nursing care to sick animals and communicate with and advise owners on the care of their animals. The veterinary nurse also provides support to the veterinarian with technical work, surgical and peri-operative procedures, medical procedures and diagnostic testing. The veterinary profession benefits greatly when working as a team with appropriately trained veterinary nurses.

A national training package for veterinary nurses was developed and introduced in 1998 with input from the AVA and the Veterinary Nurse Council of Australia (VNCA) through a national industry advisory group. This program was revised, updated and expanded to include training for other animal care workers and the Animal Care and Management Training Package was introduced in 2004.

Federal Government policy requires training packages to be reviewed and updated regularly. It is important that veterinarians, as the employers and supervisors of veterinary nurses, continue through the AVA to have input into the development of the training programs.