Otago Polytechnic

New Zealand Diploma in Veterinary Nursing (Level 6)

Location

On campus in Dunedin or Wellington*, or by distance with block courses 

International students must study on campus 

Duration
One year full-time on campus or by distance | Two years part-time by distance
Delivery

On campus in Dunedin or Wellington with blended learning and work placements, OR 

By distance with two compulsory block courses in Dunedin and Christchurch (South Island) or Tauranga (North Island)

Credits
120
Level
6
Start
On campus (full-time): February 2020
By distance (full-time): February 2020
By distance (part-time): February or July 2020
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  • Location
    Intake
    Study breaks
  • CapableNZ
    1 January 2020
  • CapableNZ
    1 January 2021
  • Distance
    1 February 2021
    5 July 2021 - 23 July 2021
    12 April 2021 - 30 April 2021
    4 October 2021 - 15 October 2021
  • Distance
    25 January 2021
    5 July 2021 - 23 July 2021
    12 April 2021 - 30 April 2021
    4 October 2021 - 15 October 2021
  • Distance
    25 January 2021
    5 July 2021 - 23 July 2021
    12 April 2021 - 30 April 2021
    4 October 2021 - 15 October 2021
  • Distance
    26 July 2021
    4 October 2021 - 15 October 2021
  • Distance
    1 February 2021
    5 July 2021 - 23 July 2021
    12 April 2021 - 30 April 2021
    4 October 2021 - 15 October 2021
  • Distance
    25 January 2021
    5 July 2021 - 23 July 2021
    12 April 2021 - 30 April 2021
    4 October 2021 - 15 October 2021
  • Dunedin
    22 February 2021
    5 July 2021 - 23 July 2021
    12 April 2021 - 30 April 2021
    4 October 2021 - 15 October 2021
  • Whitireia Campus (Weltec)
    22 February 2021
    5 July 2021 - 23 July 2021
    12 April 2021 - 30 April 2021
    4 October 2021 - 15 October 2021

Complete this programme to become a qualified veterinary nurse. This builds on the New Zealand Certificate in Animal Technology (Level 5) (Veterinary Nursing Assistant).

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 will give you the skills and knowledge required for a successful career as a professional veterinary nurse. 

Graduate with up-to-date, detailed theoretical knowledge of companion animal healthcare and practical skills, including low stress handling techniques. In addition, you will 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. 

There is always a strong demand for qualified people to work within the veterinary and animal-related industries and, with this professional qualification, your expertise will be sought after. 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.

Please note: the New Zealand Certificate in Animal Technology (Level 5) Rural Animal Technician alone does not meet entry requirements for the New Zealand Diploma in Veterinary Nursing.

*Our Wellington offering is subject to final approval. 

Delivery options

We are a leader in the provision of on campus and distance veterinary nursing education. Every student will have a Learning Adviser to provide group and one-on-one support, and assistance is always on hand through our extensive support systems. 

From 2020, we're proud to be partnering with Toi Ohomai to offer an distance delivery with block courses in Tauranga and with WELTEC to offer an on campus option in Wellington.     

On campus

Full-time only (February start date)  

  • Completed in one year
  • Two days per week of facilitated sessions at the Dunedin or Wellington campus, supplemented with online, self-directed study 
By distance with block courses 

1. Full-time (February start date) 

  • Completed in one year 
  • Online, self-directed study with two compulsory block courses across the year: 
  North Island learners South Island learners 
Semester one One, four-day block course in Tauranga
(in partnership with Toi Ohomai)
One, four-day block course in Christchurch
Semester two One, four-day block course in Tauranga
(in partnership with Toi Ohomai)
One, four-day block course in Dunedin

2. Part-time (February or July start date)

  • Completed in two years 
  • Online, self directed study with one compulsory block course each year: 
  North Island learners South Island learners
Year one
Semester one
One, four day block course in Tauranga
(in partnership with Toi Ohomai)
One, four-day block course in Christchurch
Year two
Semester two
One, four day block course in Tauranga
(in partnership with Toi Ohomai)
One, four-day block course in Dunedin

Work experience

Work experience for a total of 240 hours in a veterinary clinic is required for all delivery options to complete this programme.

  • Some support will be provided with sourcing work placements for those students enrolled in an on campus programme (i.e. Dunedin or Wellington).
  • These placements may be based in the local area, or require travel to another area, as arranged with each individual student. 
  • Students enrolled in online learning must organise their own work placements, although staff are able to provide advice on request. 
Entry requirements 
Academic criteria

If you need to improve your English Language skills, we offer a wide range of English programmes.

Alternative criteria
  • If you don’t hold the New Zealand Certificate in Animal Technology (Level 5) or equivalent but do have significant clinical veterinary experience, knowledge and skills, you may be eligible to have this experience assessed and applied towards the entry criteria for this programme. Click here for more information about this option.
Evidence criteria

You will also be required to provide the following:

If you are a new student to the School of Veterinary Nursing

  • Criminal Convictions History (via the Ministry of Justice), which is 6 months old or less, before the start date of your programme (even if your report is clean we are required to sight this, your enrolment will be contingent on this report). 

If you have studied with us in the previous year, supplied a criminal convictions report and are returning to the School of Veterinary Nursing

  • You will only need to make a declaration (click here) stating your history hasn’t changed since the previous report.

All applicants

  • Evidence of a companion veterinary clinic who will support the practical components of the programme*.
  • Current basic First Aid Certificate (highly recommended).

*Once your application has been received, if successful, you will be sent an unconditional offer into the programme. In this unconditional offer, there will be a link provided to enable you to complete your enrolment. This will include forms where you can provide details of your veterinary clinic work placement where you will complete the required hours of work experience for this programme.

All applicants must also: 

  • Have access to a computer, camera, video and the internet. 
Completing your application

You can enter information and upload documents directly into the application form. You may wish to prepare some of the required documentation beforehand.

To begin your application, click the Apply button at the top of this page.

You will need to provide:

  • Certified copies of proof of identity and proof of residency (where appropriate) 
  • Proof of academic entry requirements (e.g. proof of your prerequisite qualification)
  • Criminal Convictions History Report - see details above in the evidence criteria section
Additional costs

Some of the following additional costs may apply, depending on your circumstances:

  • Ongoing access to a computer, camera, video, and the internet.
  • Travel, accommodation, and food costs associated with attendance at work placements (all students) and block courses (distance students).
  • Highly recommended textbooks: $400 (approx.)
  • Clinical uniform: $50 (approx.) – buy an Otago Polytechnic polo and scrub shirt if your veterinary clinic work placement doesn’t provide a uniform.
  • Name badge: $15 (pin-back) or $18.50 (magnetic) - buy an Otago Polytechnic name badge if your veterinary clinic work placement doesn’t provide a one for you.
  • Scrub top: $45
  • Stethoscope: $21 (if you do not have one)
  • Closed-in shoes: $100 (approx.) - health and safety requirement for block courses and clinical work placement.
You will study 

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
Work experience requirements  

You must complete practical skills for the successful completion of this programme.

  • For all delivery options, a total of 240 hours of veterinary clinic work experience is required to complete clinical nursing skills.
  • Most skills are completed in the workplace, but some skills that are hard to obtain in practice are assessed in block courses.
  • You may complete work experience hours weekly or in blocks depending on what works for you, and the clinic.
  • We strongly encourage you to seek more than the minimum number of work experience hours to ensure the best application of new knowledge.
  • We suggest that you broaden you skills and aim to do work experience in at least two clinics during your studies.

As part of our efforts to be ready for voluntary accreditation via the Allied Veterinary Professional Regulatory Council, our skills lists are mapped to the RCVS Day-One Competencies and the AVMA Clinical Competencies.

Your workload  

All study is highly structured, including directed and self-directed learning and work placement in veterinary clinics.

Full-time 

  • 35-40 hours per week (including 7.5 hours per week in work placement)

Part-time (year one)

  • 17-20 hours per week (including 3.5 hours per week in work placement)

Part-time (year two)

  • Total 17-20 hours per week (including 4 hours per week in work placement)
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, 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. 

Student loans information

Student loans and allowances are for domestic students only. For information about student loans and allowances please visit the Studylink website. It is important to apply for your student loan/allowance at the same time as you apply for this programme, due to the length of time Studylink take to process. Loan/allowance applications can be cancelled at any time if you decide to withdraw your programme application or if it is unsuccessful. 

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. You may have already gained credits towards this qualification. 

Links to useful websites
Social media links 
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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