Bachelor of Veterinary Nursing (third year)

For the first time in the South Island, and in collaboration with the Eastern Institute of Technology (EIT), we are now offering the third year of this qualification online. Otago Polytechnic Veterinary Nursing learners can now pathway through the Level 5 Certificate during year one, the Level 6 Diploma during year two and then move into this EIT qualification to complete their degree-level Veterinary Nursing study.

About the programme 

For the first time in the South Island, and in collaboration with the Eastern Institute of Technology (EIT), we are now offering the third year of this qualification online.

Otago Polytechnic Veterinary Nursing learners can now pathway through our Level 5 Certificate during year one, the Level 6 Diploma during year two and then move into this EIT qualification to complete their degree-level Veterinary Nursing study. 

During this degree, you will develop your skills in critical thinking so you can become an essential part of a veterinary team in a clinic or hospital. Graduates could seek employment in a variety of roles including as a Veterinary Nurse, Veterinary Nurse Educator, Animal Care Educator or across specialist clinic roles.

Please note: You will apply for this degree with EIT and be enrolled as an EIT learner but will study online with some face-to-face teaching.

Studying part-time 

We know full-time study isn't always possible. We also offer this part-time over two years.  


Course name


Advanced Medical Nursing
Develop the skills and knowledge required to provide advanced medical nursing care to acute and critical patients as part of a multidisciplinary team in a clinical environment.


Advanced Anaesthesia and Surgery

Learn how to monitor and manage complex patients receiving general anaesthesia and to provide assistance in advanced surgical procedures.


Applied Animal Welfare, Behaviour and Training

Develop the skills and knowledge required for critical evaluation of animal welfare, behaviour and training in Aotearoa New Zealand and globally.


Reflective Practice and Inquiry for Veterinary Nursing A

Discover how to plan work and to analyse and apply research in a veterinary nursing practice.


Wildlife and Conservation

Develop skills and knowledge related to wildlife care, management and conservation.


Emergency Care and Response

Learn how to manage response teams and patients during natural disasters and clinical emergencies within the veterinary clinic and the community.


Animal Rehabilitation

Discover how to contribute to the planning of patient rehabilitation and to monitor patient progress throughout rehabilitation.   


Reflective Practice and Inquiry for Veterinary Nursing B

Develop the skills and knowledge required to critically analyse research to inform evidence-based veterinary nursing practice.


What will I learn to do?

At the end of this programme, you will: 

  • place animal welfare at the forefront of every veterinary nursing task and procedure performed while also considering human and environmental factors;
  • integrate extensive knowledge and understanding of the professional, cultural, ethical and moral responsibilities of a veterinary nurse;
  • confidently apply advanced theoretical knowledge and skills in veterinary medical nursing, anaesthesia and surgical assistance in practice;
  • think and reflect critically to continuously improve animal well-being, their own practice and the industry as a whole;
  • proactively engage in continuous learning and undertake research to support evidence-based practice, solving complex problems in relation to patient care and health;
  • advise clients on the management of individual animal care based on contemporary evidence; and
  • recognise the need for and lead the development of strategies to deal with emotionally and otherwise stressful situations. 
Career opportunities
  • Veterinary Nurse
  • Veterinary Nurse Educator
  • Animal Care Educator
  • DOC roles
  • MPI roles
  • Humane Society roles
  • Commercial representative
  • Medical representative
  • Specialist clinic roles
  • Veterinary Nursing or Animal Care Researcher  

Work experience 

You'll need to complete 160 hours of work experience during the third year of this degree.

  • You will complete your work experience in at least two different veterinary practices – unless you are currently employed at a veterinary clinic.
  • You will need to find your own work placements (with assistance from programme staff where needed).
  • Recommended that work placements are in two or three week blocks.
  • While on work experience, you must maintain a portfolio with evidence of completion of practical assessments and clinical skills; you will be in contact with your Programme Coordinator on a regular basis, to discuss progress on the workplace requirements.
  • A memorandum of agreement will be drawn up between the work placement facility, the student and EIT, to define rights and responsibilities of each party involved in the work placements.  


These consist of practical workbook completion for on-campus block courses, completion of work experience portfolio, assignments, tests, exams and observations, depending on nature of the course. 

A change for 2023 enrolments

When you apply to study with Otago Polytechnic in 2023, you will be enrolled with Te Pūkenga, the new national network of vocational and applied education in Aotearoa New Zealand. You will learn in the same way, in the same place, and with the same people. The great news is that this enables us to share skills and knowledge across a network of passionate education providers, to better help you succeed. Enrolling in programmes that start in 2023, means that you will graduate with a Te Pūkenga qualification.


While every effort is made to ensure that this sheet is accurate, Otago Polytechnic reserves the right to amend, alter or withdraw any of the contained information. The fees shown in this document are indicative only. Both domestic and international fees are subject to change and are dependent on the development and implementation of Government policies. Please note that additional fees may from time to time be required for external examination, NZQA fees and/or additional material fees.