What Does a Veterinary Nurse Trainee Do?

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  • Written By: Laura M. Sands
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 03 December 2019
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A veterinary nurse trainee spends time learning how to support veterinarians and owners in caring for animals. Veterinary nurse training largely takes place in a formal classroom setting, but clinical experience is also necessary and much of it is gained via a veterinary nurse internship. Many positions do not provide monetary compensation, but some veterinarian hospitals and individual doctors do offer paid trainee positions. During the course of these positions, a veterinary nurse trainee may help with administrative tasks, as well as perform various examinations and procedures on animals brought into a facility for medical care.

Specific requirements for a veterinary nurse career vary according to the jurisdiction where a veterinary nurse trainee lives and works. In most instances, however, trainees are required to learn via hands-on experience in an office, hospital or clinic setting. Many veterinary programs offer trainee job placement, while others rely on trainees to find their own internships through which experience may be gained.


When pets and other animals are taken to a veterinarian’s office or hospital due to injury or illness, a veterinary nurse trainee may be assigned to help. In this capacity, a trainee may perform various duties, which include gathering information through a written and oral intake process so that a veterinarian can be made aware of the animal’s symptoms and preparing animals for an examination by documenting weight and taking an animal’s temperature. Trainees may also be assigned to clean equipment and prepare examination rooms by assuring that all equipment a vet needs for an exam is present in a room.

A veterinary nurse trainee who is close to completing a program may be allowed to perform duties that an entry-level trainee may not. Such may include assisting in emergency procedures, as well as assisting in more routine, but delicate procedures such as providing x-ray examinations. A senior trainee may also be able to speak to pet owners about procedures and tests, as well as answer questions.

Time spent engaging in career planning is also common for a veterinary nurse trainee. Communicating with teaching staff, counselors, mentors and others involved in a trainee’s education is important for a future nurse to gain perspective and direction regarding her or his career choices. Studying work opportunities, keeping abreast of industry changes and devising strategies for career advancement are also among the activities that trainees routinely engage in.


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