New Zealand Diploma in Veterinary Nursing (Level 6)

Become a fully qualified, professional Veterinary Nurse and enter the New Zealand Register of Veterinary Nurses. In this programme, you’ll learn to make independent and informed decisions to develop and deliver quality care to animal patients. You’ll be able to provide surgical and medical veterinary nursing, manage veterinary nursing services, and perform diagnostic sampling and medical imaging. Industry experience is key to this programme, so you will complete a large chunk of your study through work placement.

NEW! 

There are some exciting changes coming to our Animal Healthcare and Veterinary Nursing programmes in 2023. Updated programme information will be added as soon as possible. To chat about the best options for you or for further information, please email vetnursing@op.ac.nz 

About the programme 

Complete this programme to become a qualified veterinary nurse. 

Employment opportunities are diverse and could include working as a veterinary nurse, veterinary nursing supervisor, veterinary practice management, industry representative for a veterinary wholesale company, in education (with additional training), or within animal control, wildlife management, animal breeding or conservation.

This programme aligns with international standards for veterinary nursing. Successful completion will enable you to meet the educational standards for entrance to the NZVNA/Allied Veterinary Professional Regulatory Council's voluntary register where you will be able to use the title of Registered Veterinary Nurse (RVN). 

This Diploma builds on the New Zealand Certificate in Animal Technology (Level 5) (Veterinary Nursing Assistant).

You can either study on campus in Dunedin or Wellington or online with two to three compulsory block courses in Christchurch/Dunedin (South Island) or Tauranga/Wellington (North Island). Both options also include 240 hours of work placement.  

Start dates and studying part-time 

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

Our February intake is for our on campus or online delivery (full-time or part-time). Our July intake is only for online study during semester two of the first year of this programme.

Courses

During this programme, you'll gain up-to-date, detailed theoretical knowledge of companion animal healthcare and practical skills, including low stress handling techniques. In addition, you'll be able to apply sound principles of evidence-based practice with an ability to make independent nursing decisions to develop and deliver quality care to animal patients. You will be able to provide surgical veterinary nursing, medical veterinary nursing, manage veterinary nursing services and perform diagnostic sampling and medical imaging.  

Eight courses, totalling 120 credits, must be completed to gain this qualification.

Full-time (one year) 

Each Level 6 course below is worth 15 credits. 

  • Veterinary Nursing Professional Practice
  • Nursing Process, Disease Pathology, and Life Support
  • Fluid Therapy, Nutrition, Wound Care and Bandaging
  • Clinical Skills 1
  • Surgery, Anaesthesia, and Pharmacology
  • Imaging, Diagnostics and Dentistry
  • Clinical Skills 2
  • Veterinary Nursing Services
Part-time (two years)

Year one

Each Level 6 course below is worth 15 credits

  • Veterinary Nursing Professional Practice
  • Nursing Process, Disease Pathology, and Life Support
  • Fluid Therapy, Nutrition, Wound Care and Bandaging
  • Clinical Skills 1

Year two

Each Level 6 course below is worth 15 credits

  • Surgery, Anaesthesia, and Pharmacology
  • Imaging, Diagnostics and Dentistry
  • Clinical Skills 2
  • Veterinary Nursing Services
Links to useful websites

Health and safety

You will be given full training to minimise all programme specific risks. Examples of risks associated with this programme are: lifting, animal bites and scratches, zoonotic diseases, computers, radiation from x-rays, anaesthetic gases, chemicals and drugs, UV radiation, sharp instruments, electricity, fire, gas cylinders, mercury thermometers and specialised veterinary equipment. Your tetanus injection status will have to be up-to-date to handle any animals in this programme.

 

Further study options  

Continue learning and increase your employment potential with our New Zealand Certificate in Animal Technology (Level 5) (Rural Animal Technician) or the third year of the Bachelor of Veterinary Nursing which we offer in collaboration with the Eastern Institute of Technology. 

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.

Disclaimer

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.