Whether you spend your time making countless cups of tea, trying to remember which colleague takes sugar, or get to spend plenty of time with animals, work experience placements will provide you with an invaluable insight into your future career prospects.
Whether you spend your time making countless cups of tea (trying to remember which colleague takes sugar) or getting plenty of quality time with the animals, work experience placements will provide you with an invaluable insight into your future career prospects.

It’s the start of another academic year. With this comes the students who have struggled to get work experience to secure their place on course, and those who have waited for a training practice (TP) place to come up.

All veterinary nursing courses require the applicant to have completed a number of weeks work experience prior to starting the course. This allows time for them to see their chosen career close-up and ensure they are making the right decision. It could also get them a contact for future work or placements – the vet world is very small.

But how to get that foot in the door?

Many practices are too busy with SVNs and vets on EMS to allow more people in to see what they do. However, throughout September, I have been tweeting about the best approach to getting VN work experience and have come up with a list. Please feel free to add to it!

  1. Prepare a typed CV, even if it is only one side long. It shows a professional edge and a desire to be taken seriously.
  2. Find out the TPs you can travel to.
  3. Check their websites and get the names of people to write to, such as the head nurse, clinical coach or practice manager.
  4. Write a polite letter, hand written (as long as it’s neat), and make sure you include your contact details, the dates and times you would be free to attend, and details of the courses you wish to apply to (BSc, FdSc, Dip).
  5. Follow up with a phone call or a visit if you hear nothing after a few weeks.
  6. Be prepared to look at kennels, catteries, or groomers for work experience. It shows you are keen and they share the hygiene and handling required of a nurse.
  7. Also consider looking at vet reception jobs. It provides brilliant experience, and if they know you they are more likely to want to train you.
  8. Consider volunteering! It got me my first nurse job and training practice. I worked one day a week at a vets and six days in a shop on Oxford St, having quit my graduate management trainee role.
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