Otago Polytechnic

New Zealand Certificate in Animal Technology (Level 5) (Veterinary Nursing Assistant)

Location

Dunedin or by distance with block courses. International students must study in Dunedin.

Duration
Blended, on campus: one year full-time. Distance: one year full-time OR two years part-time
Delivery

Blended on campus full-time with facilitated sessions; this is the only option for international students. Distance full-time and distance part-time with two compulsory block courses per year (approx. three days each) at various locations: Dunedin, Christchurch, Wellington or Auckland. Block courses may be offered in alternative locations dependent on numbers. All options include 240 hours of work placement time which you must organise.

Credits
120
Level
5
Start
17 July, 2017 (Dunedin or Wellington distance, full-time only); Feb, 2018
  • Location
    Intake
    Study breaks
  • Auckland
    12 February 2018
    14 May 2018 - 1 June 2018
    17 April 2017 - 28 April 2017
    11 September 2017 - 22 September 2017
  • Auckland
    12 February 2018
    14 May 2018 - 1 June 2018
    17 April 2017 - 28 April 2017
    11 September 2017 - 22 September 2017
  • Christchurch
    12 February 2018
    14 May 2018 - 1 June 2018
    17 April 2017 - 28 April 2017
    11 September 2017 - 22 September 2017
  • Christchurch
    12 February 2018
    14 May 2018 - 1 June 2018
    17 April 2017 - 28 April 2017
    11 September 2017 - 22 September 2017
  • Distance
    12 February 2018
    14 May 2018 - 1 June 2018
    17 April 2017 - 28 April 2017
    11 September 2017 - 22 September 2017
  • Distance
    12 February 2018
    14 May 2018 - 1 June 2018
    17 April 2017 - 28 April 2017
    11 September 2017 - 22 September 2017
  • Dunedin
    12 February 2018
    14 May 2018 - 1 June 2018
    17 April 2017 - 28 April 2017
    11 September 2017 - 22 September 2017
  • Dunedin
    12 February 2018
    14 May 2018 - 1 June 2018
    17 April 2017 - 28 April 2017
    11 September 2017 - 22 September 2017
  • Wellington
    12 February 2018
    14 May 2018 - 1 June 2018
    17 April 2017 - 28 April 2017
    11 September 2017 - 22 September 2017
  • Wellington
    12 February 2018
    14 May 2018 - 1 June 2018
    17 April 2017 - 28 April 2017
    11 September 2017 - 22 September 2017

Are you passionate about the care and welfare of animals? Do you want to prepare for a career as a Veterinary Nurse?

Become a Veterinary Nursing Assistant educated to the highest professional standards with this practical and theoretical programme.

The animal health industry is vital to the success of New Zealand’s economy and there is always strong demand for qualified Veterinary Nursing Assistants to assist Veterinarians and Veterinary Nurses.

This qualification will give you the skills and knowledge required for a successful career in companion animal healthcare. It will enable you to become a Veterinary Nursing Assistant, the first step to becoming a veterinary nurse. In addition, it will also enable you to then enter the New Zealand Diploma in Veterinary Nursing (Level 6) where you will gain the skills to become a Registered Nurse.  

Aligned with international standards, it has been developed in consultation with veterinarians, veterinary nurses, the New Zealand Veterinary Nursing Association and our own experienced staff. All of our staff are required to undertake compulsory industry immersion to ensure they can deliver up-to-date, detailed theoretical knowledge of companion animal healthcare and practical skills, including low stress handling techniques.

What does a Veterinary Nursing Assistant do? 

A Veterinary Nursing Assistant works to promote the health, husbandry and welfare of companion animals such as household pets (cats, dogs, birds, rabbits).

A Veterinary Nursing Assistant will support and communicate with Veterinarians and Veterinary Nurses in the care and treatment of companion animals in the veterinary clinic. This may include roles in reception and front of house, hospitalised animal patient care, assisting with diagnostic sampling and radiography, providing proactive and preventative health care to pets, first aid/emergency advice. Veterinary Nursing Assistants will play an important role in preparing animals for surgery and assisting Veterinarians and Veterinary Nurses during and after surgery. 

Entry requirements 

Academic entry requirements

  • 60 credits at NCEA Level 2, with a minimum of:
    • 12 credits in English at Level 2, and 
    • 12 credits in Maths at Level 1, and 
    • 12 credits in Science at Level 1 
    • OR equivalent
    • OR evidence of meeting Step 5 Literacy and Numeracy for Adults, Assessment Tool.
  • International students may only enter the full year, blended, on campus programme and you will be individually assessed to ensure you meet the entry requirements. Click here for your country's equivalent academic entry criteria.
  • If English is not your first language, you must also demonstrate English language skills equivalent to an IELTS overall band score (academic) of 6.0, with no less than 6.0 in writing and speaking, and no less than 5.5 in reading and listening.

Alternative entry criteria: Although our basic academic entry requirements are as outlined above, our preference for entry into this programme is NCEA Level 3 OR the New Zealand Certificate in Animal Care (Level 3) (Companion Animals) OR equivalent.

Evidence entry requirements

You will also be required to provide evidence of the following: 

  1. Evidence of at least three or more days observing the role Veterinarians and Veterinary Nurses undertake in a companion animal veterinary clinic.** 
  2. Evidence/reference demonstrating an ability to work and communicate with others. This could be from an employer, teacher or manager of a volunteer organisation. Download the Referee report here.
  3. You will need to supply a Criminal Convictions History (via the Ministry of Justice), which is 6 months old or less, before the start date of your programme if you are a NEW student to the School of Veterinary Nursing (even if your report is clean we are required to sight this, your enrolment will be contingent on this report). 

    If you studied with us in the previous year and are returning to the School of Veterinary Nursing for further study you will only need to make a declaration (click here) stating your history hasn’t changed since the previous report.

In addition to undertake the compulsory practical components of this programme:

  1. Evidence of a companion animal veterinary clinic to support your work placement requirements will be required prior to commencing the practical components of the programme.  It is recommended this is arranged as soon as practical.**  
    a.  For
    students based in the Otago region, please contact vetnursing@op.ac.nz for advice prior to contacting any work placements in this region. 
    b.  If you are seeking placement, outside Otago, please use the documents provided on the web link, after you have been accepted, to arrange this placement **

  2. Completion of the Health and Safety Course.**  

**Once your application has been received, if successful you will be sent a Conditional Offer into the programme. In this Offer there will be a link provided to the Health and Safety Course and templates to enable you to provide evidence of your three day observation and work placement.  

All applicants must also:

  • have access to a computer, camera, video and the internet
  • submit a health declaration (this template will be provided with the link on your Conditional Offer). 
Completing your application

You must provide certified copies of proof of identity and proof of residency (where appropriate). 

Applications will only be considered complete when the following documents are also received by the School of Veterinary Nursing:

Once your application has been received, if successful you will be sent a Conditional Offer into the programme. In this Offer there will be a link provided to the Health and Safety Course and templates to enable you to provide evidence of your three day observation and work placement. 

Information about work placements 

Both blended on campus (full-time) and distance learning options (full-time and part-time) require you to undertake industry-based work placements. All work placements must be organised and managed by you. You are required to undertake at least 240 hours of work placement - at least 40 hours in animal-related facilities (such as boarding kennels, catteries or your local SPCA) and a minimum of 200 hours in companion animal veterinary clinics while you study. When approaching veterinary clinics for your three day observation and when sourcing supervising veterinary clinic work placements, you will be asked for evidence of completion of the Health and Safety Course (access to this course is provided once you have been offered a place in the programme) and also a copy of your current Criminal Convictions History report. This report can be obtained free from: http://www.justice.govt.nz/assets/Documents/Forms/request-by-individual.pdf

Skills required 
  • A genuine interest in companion animals:  cats, dogs, rabbits, rodents and birds
  • Keen interest in health and welfare of companion animals
  • The ability to communicate and work with a team
  • The ability to manage time effectively
  • The ability to work in a high pressure environment and handle stressful emergency situations
  • To be sensible and highly motivated
  • Good computer skills.
Additional costs 
  • Compulsory textbook: $300 (approx.)
  • Compulsory shirt: $50 (approx.)
  • Compulsory name badge: $15 (pin-back) or $18.50 (magnetic)
  • Scrub top: $45
  • Stethoscope: $21
  • Closed-in shoes: $100 (approx.) health and safety requirement
  • Photocopy and printing costs for personal work
  • Full time, blended, on-campus students: Travel, accommodation and food costs associated with attendance at work placements, face to face facilitated sessions (one and a half days per week)
  • Distance students: Travel, accommodation and food costs associated with attendance at work placements, with block courses (for both distance full-time and part-time options)
  • You will also need access to a mobile device to take videos for assessments such as a cell phone.
Further study options 

Successful completion of the New Zealand Certificate in Animal Technology (Level 5) (Veterinary Nursing Assistant) will provide you with the entry requirements for the New Zealand Diploma in Veterinary Nursing (Level 6).

Programme specific risks 

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 and mercury thermometers.

We recommend that all students maintain a current up-to-date tetanus injection to handle any animals as part of this programme.

Learning delivery methods 

Studying via on campus or distance options

The School of Veterinary Nursing is a leader in the provision of on campus and distance education.  Thanks to our online resources, traditional challenges unique to these types of learning are no longer issues.  Every student will have a Learning Adviser on hand to provide group one-on-one support, and assistance is always on hand through our extensive support systems which include:

  • Materials (written, audio and video) and assessments provided online
  • Internet tutorials
  • Face-to-face facilitated sessions (at block courses for distance students and two days a week for on campus students)
  • On-line classroom sessions for distance students
  • Learning Management System – MOODLE
  • Student Hub (details provided to access at enrolment)
  • IT Support http://www.op.ac.nz/hub/student-support/it-support/
  • Student Support Services http://www.op.ac.nz/students/support/
  • One-on-one tutorial support (face-to-face or online)
  • Free phone 0800-762-786. 
Your workload and how you will study

All study is highly structured, guided and self-directed and you will need to have good time management skills. If you are a full-time student, you should typically aim for around 30-35 hours of study per week. As a part-time student, you should typically aim for around 15-20 hours of study per week.  Both options require engagement with on-line resources such as, activities, assessments and compulsory work placements (240 hours minimum), undertaken by directed and self-directed study at home.

On campus, full-time blended delivery option:

For this programme you will be required: 

  • You will be required to commit to approximately 35-40 hours per week including work placements
  • To attend facilitated sessions on-campus every Monday and Tuesday mornings as and when required for tutorial sessions and one-on-one meetings with your Learning Advisor. 
  • To undertake directed and self-directed study at home 
  • To organise all animal related facility and companion animal veterinary clinic work placements
  • To complete a minimum of 240 hours of which a minimum of 40 hours must be in animal related facilities (such as kennels, catteries, SPCA) and a minimum of 240 hours in companion animal veterinary clinics
  • once you have completed and passed your first course, Introduction to Veterinary Nursing Assistant, you can start work placements.

Distance options: full-time (one year) and two years (part-time)

Distance, full-time one year option:   

For this programme you will be required: 

  • to commit to approximately 35-40 hours per week including work placements
  • to undertake on-line directed and self-directed study at home and attend weekly on-line classroom sessions
  • to attend induction and orientation on-line in the first week of the programme
  • to attend two compulsory three to four day block courses, approximately May and September at one of the venues offered:  Dunedin, Christchurch, Wellington, Auckland (block courses may be offered at alternative locations depending on numbers. Please enquire with the School). 
  • organise all animal related facility and companion animal veterinary clinic work placements
  • to complete a minimum of 240 hours of work placement of which a minimum of 40 hours must be in animal related facilities (such as kennels, catteries, SPCA) and a minimum of 200 hours in companion animal veterinary clinics (2)
  • once you have completed and passed your first course, Introduction to Veterinary Nursing Assistant you can start work placements.

Distance, part-time over two years option:   

For this programme you will be required each study year: 

  • to commit to approximately 15-20 hours per week including work placements
  • to undertake on-line directed and self-directed study at home and attend fortnightly on-line classroom sessions
  • to attend induction and orientation on-line in the first week of the programme to meet other students, learn how to navigate
  • to attend two compulsory one-half to two day block courses, approximately May and September at one of the venues offered:  Dunedin, Christchurch, Wellington, Auckland (block courses may be offered at alternative locations depending on numbers. Please enquire with the School). 
  • to organise all animal related facility and companion animal veterinary clinic work placements
  • to complete a minimum of 120 hours of which a minimum of 40 hours must be in animal related facilities (such as kennels, catteries, SPCA) and a minimum of 80 hours in companion animal veterinary clinics
  • once you have completed and passed your first course, Introduction to Veterinary Nursing Assistant, you can start work placements. 
Qualification structure 

All eight, 15-credit courses must be completed to gain the qualification.

Courses Credits
Introduction to Veterinary Nursing Assistant 15
Companion Animal Husbandry and Welfare 15
Operate Within The Animal Health and Veterinary Services Interface 15
*Routine Diagnostics and Imaging 15
*Essentials of In-patient Care 15
*Routine Surgery and Anaesthesia 15
Veterinary Nursing Assistant Practicum Part 1 15
*Veterinary Nursing Assistant Practicum Part 2 15

* Courses completed during Year 2, part-time distance.

Student loans and allowances 

Student loans and allowances are for domestic students only. For information about student loans and allowances please visit the Studylink website

Recognition of prior learning 

If you have extensive knowledge and skills due to practical experience in this area, enquire about our recognition of prior learning process at Capable NZ.

Links to useful websites
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.

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