New Zealand Diploma in Veterinary Nursing (Level 6)

This one-year programme is only for those who already hold a New Zealand Certificate in Animal Technology (Level 5) (Veterinary Nursing Assistant), or the older version of this qualification, the National Certificate in Veterinary Nursing. Complete this to become a qualified veterinary nurse.

About the programme 

This one-year programme is only for those who already hold a New Zealand Certificate in Animal Technology (Level 5) (Veterinary Nursing Assistant), or the older version of this qualification, the National Certificate in Veterinary Nursing. 

Complete this programme to become a qualified veterinary nurse. 

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

How you'll learn

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. 

This is what we call a ‘flexible facilitated’ format, which is a combination of online and in-person teaching, combined with a work placement. This flexible approach means you will enjoy a varied course of learning and be supported by our staff both remotely and in person.

Start dates and studying part-time 

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.

The future of this programme

From 2025 we will offer a new, two-year New Zealand Diploma in Veterinary Nursing (Level 6) which is the result of a large-scale review of veterinary nursing programmes. Our new diploma is for those that don’t hold the New Zealand Certificate in Animal Technology (Level 5) (Veterinary Nursing Assistant) or the National Certificate in Veterinary Nursing. Please visit our Veterinary Nursing page for more info about the new diploma.

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. 

We are part of Te Pūkenga

When you apply to study with Otago Polytechnic, 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, and 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.