Student Nursing Stories

The route into being a Veterinary Surgeon is pretty clear; we have to do well in school, prove ourselves with work experience and then go to vet school.

But for veterinary nursing the path is much more winding and it can be extremely daunting! Do you do animal management followed by vet nursing? Go on a university course? Try the college route?

And when most courses require you to have had experience in a practice, or even find one to train you, it can seem like an impossible task.

Which is why the determination, ambition and tenacity of veterinary nursing students never fails to impress me. So I asked them to share their stories! I hope you find this as inspiring as I did and if you are considering going into nursing, helpful!

“A year after leaving school I was unsure of what I wanted to do career wise, all I knew is I wanted it to be with animals. Unfortunately I had to say goodbye to my childhood dog and after seeing the amazing care she received I realised I wanted to be a veterinary nurse. I dropped my CV in many vets enquiring about veterinary nursing apprenticeships, however, it soon became apparent how difficult it is to go straight into the industry and job role. I decided to start from the beginning and started studying Animal Management at college. As part of the course I had to do work experience, which I chose to do in a vets. I performed really well and got offered a part time role there. After finishing college I took on more hours and worked mainly as a receptionist. After my hard work I was then moved up to be an Animal nursing assistant. I worked as an ANA for almost 2 years before being offered an SVN position. It took a total of 3 years in practice to earn the position of being put on a SVN course. It may seem daunting or like a long road but doing it this way has enabled me to gain so much knowledge and skill which now makes me have the confidence to do the SVN job well.


After working for a veterinary charity for seven years as a veterinary care assistant. I aspired to be just like the amazing veterinary nurses I had met and worked alongside. An opportunity came about at a private practice and I got the position a month in and then COVID hit and learning was very different and also practice. I feel I have had a very unique journey studying and learning to become an RVN and learning to adapt to anything that is thrown at me like a pandemic

Jennifer SVN

I am a second (almost 3rd) year diploma Student Veterinary Nurse. I began my journey 6 years ago when I started working at my practice as an animal care assistant. I had to resit my maths GCSE as unfortunately my grade was not high enough to enrol in my local nursing college (Bottlegreen Training) anyway, I passed! And enrolled. It’s been a heck of a journey, trying to learn full time at work whilst being a single mum to a needy 4 year old then doing most of my training virtually through the pandemic. But I wouldn’t change a thing, I absolutely love my job and I am very passionate about educating people on how fantastic vet nurses are and how hard we work as so many people have no idea.

Becky, SVN ♥️

I always wanted to be a vet when I was younger but when I got to 16 I wasn’t accepted on any animal care courses because of my GCSE’s so I fell in to hairdressing. Over the years I applied for SVN apprenticeships but was always knocked back due to not having any experience. When I was 27 I decided enough was enough and I quit hairdressing, got accepted to volunteer in a veterinary hospital and I paid for an animal care course with CAW. Once I completed the course, the hospital I was volunteering at offered me a full time position as a patient care assistant. I have now worked there for 3 years and have just completed my first year as an SVN. Best move I made!

Charlotte SVN

I always wanted to work with animals but didn’t have the experience most people were looking for despite working on a farm most of my life. My sister found me a job at my current practice as a PCA, I was very sceptical about getting the job because of my lack of experience but they gave me a shot and I put my all into it. Roll on two years later they put me into my nursing which was somewhere I never thought I’d get! After being turned down by so many places for not having enough experience, I am now over half way through my SVN course. I just needed someone to have a little faith in my abilities and my practice did that. I hope to make them proud by becoming an RVN next year and showing all those other places what I could have achieved if they had let me ❤

Tinker SVN

I initially applied to study equine science but my parents were very against this, so in clearing rounds I got into law and business because this would ‘set me up for life’- it didn’t. I hated it but trekked on until I couldn’t anymore. Then I got in contact with the vet who I’d attended for years with my pets and asked could I come up and help out, luckily he said yes! I saw all the hard worker the nurses did and the show they ran and was in absolute awe of it all. So, to ensure I wasn’t making a mistake I did a year foundation course in animal care while still working one day a week in the clinic (still working another job) and got accepted into university later that year to study veterinary nursing while also landing a permanent job in the clinic! Fast forward two years I’m finished up my exams with one more year to go and still have SO much to learn and I’m just as excited as day one!

Rebecka SVN

I am a SVN, I’ve been in practice for 8 years. I firstly started at a small practice in my town and did my VCA course while i was there, after 3 years I left as they weren’t a training practice and eventually i wanted to develop my skills more. I moved to the practice i am at now and I’ve been here for 5 years, its a mixed practice in which i do a mixture of small and large animal, I wasn’t very good at maths and it took me a while to gain my GCSe while working. I finally passed my maths last year and went onto my nursing course in the October. Very cliche but I’ve always wanted to work within the animal industry, I’d volunteered at riding centres, dog grooming places, I studied animal management at college and when I got a placement in a vets i knew that was where my heart lied and I’ve never wanted anything more 😊


I grew up always wanting to work with animals, and spent a long time wanting to be a vet. But I really struggled with my A-levels, so took the decision to go to college to do Animal Management with the hope to do an additional A-level afterwards and then go to uni. Unfortunately due to mental health issues I was unable to get the distinction grade I needed. I still passed with a merit which I’m so, so proud of.

As part of this course I needed a work placement within some kind of an animal related environment, and I managed to get a place in a pet store. Through this I managed to get paid work, which lead to me progressing through the roles from sales assistant, to livestock supervisor, deputy manager and eventually to store manager. But I always knew this isn’t where I wanted to be. Unfortunately it took the company going into administration, 7 years after joining the company, for me to take the jump from pet retail into the veterinary world. I took the plunge and initially started as a part-time ACA, but showed my interest in nursing and proved my determination, and a year and a half later the practice was happy for me to start my nursing training. This has not been a plain sailing, straightforward journey by any means, but it was the best decision I ever made and I honestly love my job so much 💚

Jessica SVN

I left school not knowing what I wanted to do because no one really knows about vet nursing, just vets! So when I finally found veterinary nursing I was too late to apply that year instead I studies for 2 years to get an HNC in animal care, this was probably the best thing I ever done! I lived on a dairy farm and worked with different animals every single week! It was truly an amazing experience. FINALLY, i got in to study a BSc(Hons) veterinary nursing at Edinburgh Napier university! I carried out all my placement hours unpaid whilst working weekends as a VCA for the same practice which meant I was working 12 days in a row as well as keeping up with all my clinical skills paperwork! I’m now in my final year and have just handed in my dissertation and the end is so very nearly in sight! I love my job and I really want to better the profession for vet nurses and make it more visible for our clients and anyone who was like me in school and didn’t know!

Elise SVN

I am a first year SVN and just have my exam to do before year 2. I started my journey quite differently. I left school having no idea what I wanted to do and was in quite a rut with life in general. However when browsing courses I fell upon Veterinary Nursing (I never knew it existed!) at a college near me and suddenly thought wow this is what I am meant to. After work experience this was confirmed. Fast forward to now and I am loving every minute. I think the reason I was so stuck with life is because life didn’t introduce me to my dream job soon enough 🥰


I’m an SVN nearly through my first year. I used to be a manager in retail for 10 years and it drained my soul. Always wanted to work with animals so decided to look more into it. At 28 years old I went back to college and enrolled in a veterinary care course as I didn’t quite have the grades to go straight into nursing (stay in school kids) On this course I had to do 600+ hours voluntary work in a practice. I had 2 full days at college, 2 days in practice and my 3 days off I spent working in a shop to be able to earn a living as I didn’t get paid so meant I didn’t get a single day off for almost 8 months I also took a evening maths class as I also needed this to get into nursing. After nearly a year voluntary I passed my course with distinction! I was lucky enough to pick up some paid hours as a kennel assistant in practice that was weekends only but it was a step in the door, I work in a v.busy 24 hour 1st op/ref hospital so there is always extra hours to pick up!

My practice employ 1 student every year, I applied in the first year post VCA course but knew it was a long shot as I was awaiting my maths results and because the position is so sought after I was one of 7 internal people that applied and several had been “waiting” longer than I had. Unfortunately I failed my maths by 5 marks so I was knocked out of being considered as I didn’t have the grades!

I didn’t mind so much because who ever did get the position it was meant to be and it also meant I could apply for their hours once they move on meaning I am one more step closer to where I want to be and the more experience the better! I became full time as an kennel assistant covering a branch, as well as first opinion and medical/surgical referral assistant (I basically swallowed up every hour that came my way) for the next year alongside still re taking my evening maths lesson because now it’s the only thing that stood in my way. Then covid hit.

Maths lessons got cancelled, people at work were furloughed and it all went a bit Pete Tong. I was one of 8 kennel assistants that worked across the hospital/through the night. Every one got furloughed and they could only keep one through the first lockdown and it was me! As much as I appreciated that I was still in work it was so busy, so draining but so worth it. In the back of my mind I was panicking about my maths as I didn’t have the time or energy to even find out if I should be doing work to earn a predicted grade/didn’t understand fully what would happen come August when results were due.

A week before grades were due I emailed my teacher a big explanation/sob story about how I was really sorry I let her down etc etc and she replied saying she had already sent my prediction away so that’s all she could tell me but this is more than I even expected! So I started thinking of a back up plan, colleges that would accept me without my maths etc.. My angel of a teacher predicted me a 4 (a C equivalent) and explained that it was very much deserved. I told my boss straight away as I had already interviewed for the position (again against several equally deserving others) they knew I was just waiting on results.. 24 hours later I found out I had the job and even to this day still feels weird as I feel like I worked so hard just to get to this point and now I have to work hard to get through it but it’ll all be worth it in the end!

Amiee SVN

I must have rung round 20 different practices trying to Scrabble together enough work experience to apply for the course. I ended up going back to school to do a lvl 3 diploma in animal management in order to make finding a placement easier! Through the friends I made I finally found a regular weekly slot of work experience at Raystede Centre For Animal Welfare a charity with a small surgery attached. And then as a result I got a part time job ANAing at a large animal hospital. (After much perseverance with repeatedly sending in CVs by email and letter form)

I eventually got onto the degree and was placed at a small practice while continuing to work as an ANA at the hospital as they didn’t have any openings for me at the time. Then covid struck and my training practice closed and I was furloughed from the hospital. Once the furlough ended the hospital offered me a paid position as an SVN.

Mana RVN

I am currently a 2nd year veterinary nurse. I am currently on a year placement coming to the end of my NPL before going back for my final year and hopefully qualifying. When in school I didn’t know what I wanted to do, like I had no clue, I did some work experience at a kennel and I loved the idea of working with animals but got told by my school that it would be super hard to get into any industry with animals, I didn’t let that affect me and worked really hard getting really good grades and got into college doing animal management, science and zoology! I then started to think I could possibly want to be a veterinary surgeon and did some work experience shadowing a vet and had a really bad time as the vets were so off putting and told me “so they let anyone into the profession now” this really threw me off and decided not to go back. I then did some more work experience at another vets but decided to follow the nurses and I really enjoyed it and they was so positive! I then got really good grades in college and managed to get into university (Hartpury) and now I am currently loving what I am doing! I do face some challenges in practice being colour blind but the nurses and the vets are so supportive and at this point there is nothing that can hold me back from becoming the best possible nurse I can be!

Matthew RVN

I’ve always wanted to work with animals but had a huge fear of blood, to the point it couldn’t even be said around me, my parents would call it the B word! I followed a creative path and obtained a BA Honours degree in interior design, although after my first year I decided it wasn’t for me and thought about applying for an RSPCA role, but due to my empathetic nature, decided to finish my degree. During my four years at university I realised how much I enjoy teaching others and I have a few teachers in my family, so thought maybe it was a family trait? I worked as a teaching assistant but after being unable to qualify for any teaching qualifications, I posted on an equine group I’m a part of asking for advice on animal careers I could potentially get into. At this point in my life whilst my parents were on holiday.

My dog had to be PTS and this to my amazement some how cured my fear of blood as I had to deal with this situation alone. A friend of mine stated she had become a care assistant through a veterinary practice which lead to an apprenticeship scheme as an SVN to which I also applied. Fast forward four years and I’m due to sit my OSCEs in December! I work in a busy understaffed hospital but absolutely love my job and I cannot wait to start choosing CPD topics and really increasing my skill set and passions. Before I got the assistant job I had no experience with small furries, so I volunteered at a local charity to gain experience handling rabbits, and this is where I fell in love with my Dusty, I took her home and am now known as the crazy bunny nurse at work! Thanks to finding Dusty, I have now made it my life goal to educate rabbit owners, give owners confidence in their vet and give confidence to nursing staff in giving good welfare advice, I have created the.bunnynurse Instagram account as a platform to help stop all the myths regarding rabbit ownership and become a rabbit advocate, optimizing their welfare.

Stephanie SVN

I’m a student veterinary nurse from Glastonbury, currently in my last year of training via the apprenticeship. When I decided that I wanted to be a nurse I looked relentlessly for a position as a veterinary receptionist as I wanted a ‘foot in the door’ but as I didn’t have the experience I struggled. I then took a position as a receptionist at a hotel which then lead to a part time job as a receptionist at my current practice. I worked both jobs for a year whist simultaneously volunteering at an animal shelter. I was then offered a position as an animal care assistant, which I took on for 6 months until I was finally offered a job as a student veterinary nurse. ☺️ A lot of hard work and persistence went into getting onto this course but all of it was so worth it. I absolutely love my job and cannot wait to be qualified (touch wood).

Lindsey SVN

I’m Lizzie and I’m an svn, 2nd year doing a bsc in vet nursing. I originally applied for vet med but failed my a-levels, and was accepted into nursing though clearing. However, everything happens for a reason and I couldn’t be happier with where I currently am. I firmly believe that failing my exams was the best thing that happened to me, as it has landed me in a job I didn’t even realise I loved so much. Now I’m on placement in practice and I’ve never been happier. I am incredibly proud to call myself an svn- to me the word is synonymous with determination and courage. On the weekends I am also a veterinary receptionist for my practice to gain experience. It’s hard work but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Here I am doing what I love 🙂

Lizzie SVN

I’ve always wanted to work with animals but the path wasn’t straight forward! I initially did an undergrad degree studying zoology with conservation then a masters in primate behaviour. However mental health and societal pressures kind of took over, before I became a VCA I had become an uncle and realized I didn’t want to travel the world but watch my little buddy grow up! I was fortunate enough to have done work experience during my undergrad degree at the veterinary practice I applied to be a VCA in Jan 2019! Fast forward and I’m a second year SVN and I have recently put myself forward for the BVNA council as a student member! Before all of this I didn’t truly comprehend how much VNs have a multitude of roles and opportunities, but being immersed in it, especially during a pandemic has made me realised how amazing and resilient we all can be!

I love my practice because they all me to implement and put forward new things and fully support my passions and interests! Especially someone who is sensory impaired I feel having this opportunity to feel supported has made me feel so valued!

Macauly SVN

Wanted to work with animals but careers advice at 16 pushed me to sport, an outdoor Ed degree later and I’m working as a TA in special needs school. They had a farm where the animal welfare was terrible so I kept up with everything in my own time to make sure everything was clean and fed and watered And took the guinea pigs and rabbits home weekends and holiday. Started applying for random jobs in vets, Randomly got offered an interview and 2 1/2 years later- turned 30 in November and I’m nearly a year into my nursing! Still have the rabbit and guinea pigs too

Anna SVN

I started my journey 6 years ago volunteering at a vet hospital on my day off, they offered me a job as a VCA 6 months in and I stayed there for over 4 years, this wasn’t the place for me and I applied to a amazing practice who sent me on my journey to be a RVN pushing me and supporting me every step of the way, surrounded by people who believe in me and love me for who I am, I can’t thank them enough! Although studying and working through covid has been exhausting I feel blessed to be a part of a incredible industry

Bridie SVN

I’ve been working in practice for over 6 years. I started my journey as a ACA and progressed onto being a technician in a big referral setting. It’s been a long and difficult time struggling to find a diploma local to me. So I gave up!I took the move and went to university instead as I couldn’t give up on my dream. I’m so happy where I am as a person now although the assignments and working schedule sometimes makes it challenging.I picked the FDsC route so due to covid I qualified in late May 2020 but continued on to do a top-up year to achieve a BSc. University thoughout the pandemic has been hard but my friend and family have been my main support.I picked the FDsC route so due to covid I qualified in late May 2020 but continued on to do a top-up year to achieve a BSc. University thoughout the pandemic has been hard but my friend and family have been my main support It’s hard working in a charity practice with welfare cases left, right and center but personally I love seeing them go from extreme to the next. In June 2021 I get to play with the big dogs again and join a referral team as a RVN. A full circle xxx

Chloe SVN

I contacted vets all over Sheffield, Doncaster and Rotherham to try and get a apprenticeship placement had 2 interviews (one at Peak Vets) where I was told I had very little experience and to try again the following year after some experience. This motivated me and so I started volunteering at the PDSA there is where I realised how much I wanted to be a Veterinary nurse. I got to see how much was involved in the job and loved watching all the nurses in their roles. There was very fast paced and made my realise that I cope well working in busy environments. Whilst volunteering there I did a few weeks at Hallam vets which gave me a totally different experience to pdsa and made me realise all vets work differently and the practices set up can be very different too. I also did a few weeks at rspca Sheffield which gave my lots of animal handling experience. After volunteering at the pdsa for a year I managed to get an amazing reference and a good word from you. Finally got onto the apprenticeship at Peaks vets, a dream come true. Was a hard first year of studying and trying to work all week too. Took a lot of getting used to but I loved it. Failed my first year training but didn’t let that get me down. Remained at the same practice working as a ACA and they allowed me to restart my training again the following year. After a lot of ups an downs and hard work. Working weekends, long shifts, overtime, night shifts, on calk shifts and living on site the practice I am finally an RVN. It is the best thing in the world passing everything after working in veterinary for almost 6 years. I am finally doing my dream job and work with an absolutely amazing team. I am proud of my journey and it has made me a stronger and more confident person. I can’t wait to gain more experience and become a clinical coach one day so I can help future SVNs reach their dream like I have xxx

Ellie SVN

I was so amazed when I found out I had been offered a job with the vets I currently work at. I had no experience just a massive passion for caring for animals! I have now been working at our practice for nearly 3 years now! We are a small practice, and have lovely clients and patient. This year I have been doing a veterinary assistant course with Abbeydale veterinary college and get to do this whilst working. I have learnt so much already and I absolutely love my job and adore all our patients.


I first started off in the veterinary industry training to be a veterinary care assistant when I was 20 years old back in 2015 working in Sunderland Vets4Pets. Unfortunately I was not able to progress onto my nursing after I finished as I did not have my maths to get onto the course, I was diagnosed with dyscalculia in primary school and struggled with maths a lot. But I didn’t let that stop me. I kept volunteering at my practice at Vets4Pets, I worked full time in a bar working over 40 hours and doing an adult night time course in maths. I struggled a lot trying to juggle everything and suffered badly with my depression and anxiety. But I kept telling myself I could do it and eventually I will be where I want to be in my life. When Covid all kicked off I was afraid that I wouldn’t get to achieve my maths and have to wait even longer to get onto the nursing course. After 4 years with all the hard work I had received the news that I had been passed for my maths course and was able to enrol onto my Veterinary Nursing course. I’m now close to finishing my first year and I’m working alongside some of the most amazing nurses and vets I’ve had the pleasure of knowing for the past 6 years since I started off as a VCA. Im determined to show everyone that I can be the best nurse I can be

Bronwyn SVN

From the age of 15 I knew I wanted to be a RVN, my friends mum was a RVN and I loved hearing stories of practice and knew that’s what I wanted to do. I wanted to nurse animals back to fill health as i was animal obsessed. I managed to find a practice to train me as a Veterinary Care Assistant to give me a head start before becoming a SVN which was really helpful ! I struggled to find a practice to put me through my nursing as a diploma nurse but didn’t give up, I emailed, called and dropped cv’s in to every practice I could find all over the north west. Finally a practice took me on to be a veterinary care assisting before training me as a SVN through the diploma route, 3 years later and I’m waiting to resit my OSCE after failing my first attempt, I can’t wait to be an RVN and won’t give up !

Matthew SVN

I was an animal care assistant previously but after I had my son I realised I couldn’t afford to do night work but didn’t want my career within the veterinary industry to end so decided to take the leap and have carried out my nursing via the foundation degree route. It was hard work the exams, lectures, assignments but got through them and finally did a reduced hours placement due to covid of September to the end of May with OSCEs coming up very soon. My placement practice fell through at really short notice a day before I was due to start however I rallied around emailed every practice within driving distance of an hour and had a response from one practice that was really close by. When I found out my placement practice fell through at the last minute I was distraught didn’t know what to do or who to turn to but my family just said to email around and as luck had it I found one and started the next day after they had emailed. I was very lucky and even though my placement wasn’t the ideal way to find one it just proves that if you try hard enough you may just succeed xxxxxx

Shenice SVN

I took a career change into veterinary when I was 27, I thought I’d be the oldest in the course but I wasn’t! Before this I printed off the training practice list from the RCVS website, for the north west and went to every practice within a 10 mile radius and handed in my CV and cover letter… I heard nothing. A couple of months later a receptionist position came up in white cross vets, I jumped at the opportunity and got the job. I done an ACA course alongside this to help me gain the qualifications I needed to get into the vet nursing diploma. I worked as a receptionist for 2 years and when the branch was taken over by IVC they were able to offer be a student nurse position. Best job ever.

Emma SVN

I first started out doing work experience when I was just 14 in the practice I’m now training at. I progressed on to the level 2 veterinary care assistant course, which led me to doing my level 3 diploma in veterinary nursing. I’m now about to sit my final OSCE exams in September and am now employed at the practice I trained at! I’m so glad I found my way to this career, it has its downs but mostly ups! I absolutely love my job and couldn’t imagine doing anything else, each day if different so no two days are the same. For anyone who is thinking about going down the veterinary route, do it! You will not regret it

Holly SVN

I started my journey to become a veterinary nurse when I was 36 years old with a nearly 2 year old and a 4 year at home. I previously spent 11 years working in sales for a rather large global soft drink brand. It was whilst on maternity leave that I decided that I wanted to follow my dreams and embark on a career change. I decided that the FdSC degree in veterinary nursing would be the best route for me as it meant I could work it around my family commitments. I also completed a year as a BVNA student council member which was a very rewarding experience. I’m due to graduate this year (Sept). Last year was particularly challenging due to being unable to complete the necessary placement hours due to Corona virus.

Charlotte SVN

I actually entered the profession quite late as I could never stand the sight of blood! I got over this a few years ago but already had an office job, so I looked into vet nursing in great detail, did online courses and contacted lots of local vets to see if I could get experience. Eventually I was lucky and was offered a week block at one not far from me. That week confirmed to me that this was what I wanted to do, despite all the cleaning and bodily fluids! So I volunteered there most Saturdays for a year, but still really struggled to find a placement anywhere for the diploma. I even did a short Biology course to try and get onto the degree route! However, a place appeared for me just in time at the vets where I was volunteering – I am still there and should be qualifying next year! It’s been really hard work, especially with Covid, but I am really grateful to have got this far.

My story starts from back when I was 10 years old, me and my mum got two dogs and one (poppy) became sick pretty much as soon as she got home, Poppy would go to the vets probably once every two months with and upset stomach or just very lethargic and not displaying puppy like behaviour, I was young so didn’t really know any signs of what this could be, the vets would just give her an injection and send her home and say if she didn’t get better bring her back, and she always got better. However she didn’t stay well for long each time, as her visits to the vets became more and more frequent, my mum was getting worried and quite frankly annoyed that there was no long term solution and to why her puppy was so ill and so weak as this had been going on for about a year now, so a friend recommended we go to her vets for a second opinion, which we did.

Within one consultation with the vet our world was turned upside down and we was told Poppy had kidney failure and her kidneys were functioning at less than 10%, so we were given painkillers for her and told to take her home and enjoy whatever time we had left with her, this moment here, which is of course traumatic and a very sad time to experience as the owner, but I never forget how the nurses comforted me and my mum through the whole process, and this cemented in my mind that to me that I wanted to be a veterinary nurse to be able to help/comfort others in the same way. Now I know this isn’t all that a veterinary nurse does but this is what caused me to start my career in the veterinary industry.

Since then I went back to the same practice for my year 10 work placement, which lasted two weeks and I’ll never forget everything I got to see, I also made a life long friend in a student veterinary nurse at the time, who has helped me through all the applying to uni/interview/first year process. I then volunteered at the same practice once a week on a Saturday for a year and a half, I am so grateful for the practice for allowing me to do this and teaching me so much, as I know so many students don’t always get the same opportunities.

Being a student is hard, often there is a life at stake in front of you when you’re in practice, and this can be one of the most scary experiences, I’ll never forget the first time I got to monitor a patient under a GA, I was so nervous I could barely use my stethoscope, but the team around me were so lovely, they even got out an oesophageal stethoscope so I could hear better. Practice makes perfect with this job, you’ll worry all the time you’re not doing your best but as long as you’re trying, that’s what matters.

One thing uncommon about this course compared to most university courses is the interview stage, this is by far the most stressful part I went through, there were so many people there during the day, just trying to say the right thing, I remember a second year student telling me when you enter the interview room not to pet the dog as that’s part of the interview, which sounds so silly, I literally spent all day worrying about this, but in reality they want to know who you are and why you want to do this job and it really is that simple.

Getting the email saying I got into my dream university, I can’t even describe the feeling, I was over joyed, I spent half an hour after ringing everyone I knew telling them because I was so happy. I’d known people older than me that tried for this course at the same university and not gotten in so I was worried the same would happen to me, as it is a really competitive course.

I think that is one important this to stress to people potentially looking to go into the profession, everyone is in this profession as they have a passion for animals and want to help them, so everyone you work around is caring and kind and just want the best for the animal, and they’ve all been where you are, so they want you to do your best, not only for yourself but for the patient too.

Lauren SVN

I started my journey last year after a fairly big career change. I moved from the world of marketing into veterinary and have just started my first year of the VN apprenticeship. Ive always loved animals but growing up was never someone that really knew exactly what they wanted to do. I started thinking about veterinary nursing about four years ago but kept telling myself I wasn’t smart enough and it wasn’t the right time(I’ve just turned 30 and all my friends are being grown up and having babies!) But I started volunteering, walking dogs, cleaning kennels etc. Then I just thought I would go for it, I’d rather try and fail then regret not trying at all. I got more experience volunteering and did PDSA courses and then after lots of applying finally found a SVN role. One mouth in and covid hit, it was an interesting way to get introduced to the industry, but a great way to get stuck in!


6 years I have had the pleasure of working in the veterinary industry, I first started working as a receptionist for 3 years and realised my passion and desire was to work more closely with the animals, contributing to the their care and everyday needs. I took on a PCA position for a year and never looked back. I started my SVN journey 2 years ago on the apprenticeship and what a roll coaster journey it has been. I had the relevant qualifications to get on the course but had to do functional skills on top of my course. I hadn’t done any Maths qualifications for 16 years! I cried lots! Algebra tipped me over the edge, I took private maths lessons with my cousin and she made me realise it’s not that bad and I did this everyday but just in a different way. 6 weeks later I sat the Maths exam and passed! English on the other hand is were I struggle the most, I cried when they delivered our 1st assignment, it was so overwhelming and they wanted me to sit the exam when I was doing the dreaded paper 2 A&P. I had a huge melt down and decided to come off the apprenticeship, I was approached for having traits of dyslexia, like most I was in denial but read up about it and realised I do 7/10 things. I approached College and they were fab and had me tested within a week, I am moderate dyslexic, I cried again loads and felt thick! But it made me realised it’s an amazing opportunity and a dream goal for me and any other additional help was going to benefit me. I made sure I put in the hard work ( had no life) plus a family to look after and run, full time job to manage, plus study and being age 40! I made sure such determination that nothing was going to get in my way! Then covid hit which was even harder as I am a practical learner and don’t like remote lessons, I am proud to say that all my hard work paid off and I passed all my exams, assignments 1st time and I only have my OSCES to get through.

Denise SVN

I started out not knowing what I wanted to do, previously my family had fostered animals between homes along with owning animals myself from birds to dogs to rabbits to cats to gekos, after college i realised I wanted to work with animals but still wasn’t sure where to go from there career wise so i enrolled at bishop burton college to study animal management and behaviour, from there i gained my degree and did work experience at kennels and groomers trying to find what i was into the most! When my course was almost finished I realised I didn’t want to do just the 1 thing and so i looked at getting into the veterinary industry to be involved in nursing for many things, I got a job as a PCA at Medivet in 2018 and gained plenty of experience up until last April i started my veterinary nursing course, it’s been a tough year, I’ve never been to college for a lecture, I’ve worked through all lockdowns the past year and it’s all been very overwhelming, i’m getting there slowly but i absolutely love my job! There have been times I’ve thought its all too much, lots of stress and tears but I’m so proud of how far I have come in the past few years and my confidence is improving each day with the help and support of friends, colleagues, family and my partner, couldn’t imagine doing anything else

Sophie RVN

Iv gone a very long way round to get to svnhood! I was intrigued when completing my diploma and batchelors degree in animal science & management but was never sure enough to take the plunge into something completely different…. and at the time as far as I knew what was the difference between a nurse and a assistant right?!? Why get a qualification?! It was only when I started working in a charity hospital that I realised how much nurses do! How important their role is, how rewarding it could be! From then on I knew it was the vocation for me, but how to get there was the next hurdle! With past diplomas and degree funding was an issue! I spent five years gaining experience and memories with zoo animals, farm & domestic before I finally landed the job I was hoping for but may have lost all hope in! To this day I believe it came just when I needed it! After a very real struggle in my job and leaving, I reached out to a locum agency in a last attempt and was offered a VCA position the next day, from then I’v progressed and are currently in my last few months as a svn hopefully!

Kate SVN

I spent 2 and a half years trying and failing to get a foot through the door in the industry, so I could work towards the end goal of becoming and RVN. having previously worked in the food service industry industry 7 years, I was desperate for a change and I landed a part time position at a local practice who told me they could guarantee putting me through training, but couldn’t give me any kind of time-scale. I quickly went from part time receptionist to full time receptionist/vca hybrid and after a couple of years was offered the chance to study. I did the apprenticeship course and I am currently on maternity leave having had a baby in January. I sat and failed my first OSCE exam last month but with my college I am working towards resitting the OSCE and passing so I can hopefully return from maternity leave a fully fledged RVN!

Sophie SVN

Having no previous veterinary experience, I spent a year volunteering at a busy charity hospital before I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to apply for a student veterinary care assistant position. To my surprise, I got the job! I qualified a few years later, and after 5 years (and some persistent hassling! ) I was finally allowed to enroll as an apprentice veterinary nurse! Then 6 months in – Covid struck… Its been incredibly tough having to deal with everything through the pandemic as well as trying to learn what is already a TOUGH course but I’m now approaching the end of my second year and cannot wait to finally be able to call myself an RVN next year. I’m slightly more mature than most (mid 30’s) but its NEVER too late if you love what you do x

Tracey SVN

I first set foot into veterinary world when I was 16, but dreamt of this career since I was a little girl. I managed to gain work experience placements throughout my first 2 years of college (studying animal management at the time) At 18, I was due to head off to university to do a degree in vet nursing, however a job came up for me in a practice who would allow me to take the apprenticeship route after 6 months of employment. I unexpectedly fell pregnant at 19 and decided to push back my nursing a year and continued as a veterinary care assistant. I came back to work after maternity at 20, started my apprenticeship and now I’m a few months away from sitting my OSCEs. My little boy has been my biggest motivator, I want him to believe that he can always follow his dreams, no matter what challenges life throws at you, and to never let people’s doubts get in your way. I’ve worked my hecking butt off for this!

Faye SVN

After doing a weeks work experience in 2016 at my local vets where my dog was registered, they called me up a month later with a animal care position available and offered me an interview! Unfortunately when a nursing place became available I didn’t quite have the right qualifications, so they helped me get the right grades and 5 years in practice later, I’m a 2nd year student with 1 exam and OSCES left

Rebecca SVN

I had an interest in a career within the veterinary world at a young age and carried out some work experience at a range of vet practice’s in the north west alongside completing some volunteer work at Knowsley Safari & The Reptile Rescue Centre in order to help me decide whether going into the veterinary world was something I wanted to pursue. After GCSE’s & A level studies, I took my experience and grades with me to study Bioveterinary Science at the University of Liverpool. Unfortunately, it was not meant to be… I took a year out of studying, worked, travelled, and thought long and hard about choosing a better career path for myself! That’s when I decided on embarking a career in VETERINARY NURSING! I had no idea the type of work veterinary nurses did and finding out that they carry out a whole range of different skills on a daily basis intrigued me!I then began studying for a BSc (Hons) in Veterinary Nursing at Middlesex University in September 2019 and haven’t looked back since! I have gained so much knowledge over the last year and a half, from both university studies and practice placement. I am just finishing the end of my second year & will be starting my final year in October!

Tasha SVN

I started my student nurse training in 2005 at Harper Adam’s University and then got poached by a large veterinary hospital. I fell pregnant in my final year with my daughter and moved to Germany to support my then husband with his army career. Unfortunately nursing fell to the wayside. I had several jobs afterwards but none felt rewarding enough. I kept thinking about starting again and going back to it and the end of my marriage spurred me on to put me first for a change. I started my training from scratch in 2018 and I’m due to sit my osces this weekend at 33 years of age.I love my job and I would say to anyone that’s a bit older like me you can do it!


I don’t have a photo- but did a biovet degree at the RVC, didn’t get back in to do vet med even though I worked my butt off for a 2:1. Ended up working as a receptionist at a local vets whilst I was considering my options and ended up nursing through that! I’m on the apprenticeship pathway and love every second, including all the highs and lows.Not really a compelling story, but realised how well the role suits my love for animals – us nurses get so much more hands on time than the vets do as we spend all the time with them in the wards, giving them their medications

Lizzy SVN

My veterinary nurse story started in 2017 I was 16. I worked for a few months as a lay person just getting used to things then my employer put me on to the veterinary assistant course which is a level 2. I really enjoyed that, then I started the nursing course which is hard!!! I passed my exams and assignments then covid. So I was due to sit my osces and it got cancelled until further notice. I did them in Oct 2020 but sadly failed I think down to not feeling confident and I hadn’t been to college in a year for any revision. I have now retaken them in April and are awaiting my results

Emily SVN

I started with a degree in animal biology with no intention of getting into the veterinary world. My sister worked in a vet hospital, and said there was an opening as an OOH receptionist and I needed the money. So I worked 5 shifts a month on the weekends as a receptionist. I loved it, and jumped at the chance to get more hours, and so moved to full time reception. Within a year I’d joined the referral side of the reception team, then I showed interest in an ACA role. I got the position and began as an OOH ACA on the days I wasn’t working reception (12 shifts on, 2 off, rinse and repeat) I was approached by the head nurse and asked to consider the surgery ACA role, which I did, and was a surgery ACA for 2 year in a specialist surgery dept. The hospital puts through 2 Acas every other year for their nursing as block release. I interviewed and got the position!! We had to wait a year and a bit to start, but began the SVN journey in 2020… Mid pandemic. Just finishing up first year now and I would never look back. I’ve worked in the same hospital for 5 years and I love my job. It’s hard, but I could never do anything else.

Louise SVN

I am an SVN just coming to the end of my first year working in practice and doing the level 3 Diploma route. I left school and went to college and studied level 3 extended diploma in animal management. On completion of my course I would email every practice within a 30 mile radius of my house every 6 months enquiring about placements as I felt the university route wasn’t for me. Whilst looking for a practice I worked at a local farm park which houses variety of animals from livestock, exotic reptiles, small furries, birds of prey, reindeer ect. I worked my way up to assistant farm manager and then I finally managed to secure a placement, my persistence paid off. was a little late starting my course due to covid but so far things are going really well and enjoy my role as an SVN

Jade SVN

I had applied to my current place of work twice in the past while working in hospitality and unfortunately was never successful in securing either a job or even a volunteer spot. One day, after a particularly horrendous day in the restaurant, I applied for a intro to animal care course on a whim and got an interview. I nailed the interview but the admin staff told me to apply for the HNC rather than the intro as the intro seemed below the level of grades I had and they reckoned I would be bored rather than challenged. I managed to secure an unconditional place on the HNC and asked the vet practice for a week of work experience soon after starting the HNC. I then applied for a part time assistant job working around my college hours and was successful! After completing my HNC, I began a full time contract with the practice and after 18months of working there, they decided to invest in me and put me through my nursing! I have recently finished my last exam and essay and am just a few weeks away from doing my OSCEs!!

Georgia SVN

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