Otago Polytechnic
VET profile ChrisNeville 002
The materials were really good, and there was always a lecturer available online. It was just like you could walk into their office and ask.

Chris Neville
New Zealand Certificate in Animal Care (Level 3) (Companion Animals)

When Chris Neville started hating Mondays, he knew it was time to give up work! 

He’d worked in the telecom industry for 12 years, but his real passion was with animals.

Chris volunteered with various charities including SPCA and K9 Dogwatch.  But he wanted to know more, so he signed up to do a New Zealand Certificate in Animal Care (Level 3) (Companion Animals) with Otago Polytechnic’s Veterinary Nursing School.

“I live in Christchurch, so I did it all through distance learning.  The materials were really good, and there was always a lecturer available online.  It was just like you could walk into their office and ask!”

Chris worked part time while he studied, and he missed a few sessions, but he found he could easily make up the time and learning.  He says he had to be disciplined to sit down and study, but the workload was realistic.

“It gave a really good broad education of the industry.  It’s an ideal course if you want to get a job in animal care, or carry on and become a veterinary nurse.”

Volunteering and work placement was a part of the programme, and Chris says that prepared everyone for work.

“It shows you what it’s actually like to work with animals … that it’s not all about patting puppies … it can be dirty, hard work.”

Chris is now working his dream job at ‘Kuri’ in Christchurch.  He’s a supervisor at the dog-care facility, interacting, playing with and monitoring the dogs in his care.

“Now, because of my education, I can also offer advice on nutrition and training.  I love it, and my plan is to move forward with the company as it grows.”

Now, Chris Neville loves Mondays!

Read more about the New Zealand Certificate in Animal Care (Level 3) (Companion Animals).

More Veterinary Nursing programmes.

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I literally do all sorts! No day is ever the same!

Wendy Jarnet

28-year old Wendy Jarnet, originally from Thames, has always had an interest in animals.

She initially studied the National Certificate in Veterinary Nursing at Otago Polytechnic but through her work experience working in a companion animal vet clinic she became keen to learn about rural animals too. This prompted her to return to Otago Polytechnic and study the Certificate in Rural Animal Technology (Level 5).

“Having previously studied at Otago Polytechnic I knew that I liked the way the programmes are delivered. Plus being able to study via distance was a big incentive as it allowed me to continue to work and support my family while still gaining a nationally recognised qualification.”

Wendy cites the work placements as being the best bit of her study experience. “I got to work with horses, cows, sheep, goats, donkeys, ostriches, alpaca, llama, chickens and deer! I had to work my butt off, but it was so worthwhile and has opened up so many doors career-wise.”

Indeed it has opened doors for Wendy. She has since written journal articles, completed the National Diploma in Veterinary Nursing through Otago Polytechnic, been nominated by her workplace for New Zealand Vet Nurse of the Year Award 2014, and is currently working towards a Veterinary Technician Specialist Certification in Emergency and Critical Care through the United States. She is also upskilling to become a lecturer in her field. All of this is a huge undertaking but Wendy is more than up for the challenge.

“If I can do it, anyone can,” says Wendy.

Read more about the Certificate in Rural Animal Technology 

More Veterinary Nursing programmes > 

Student Profile Picture4
The diploma is such a great opportunity to further your nursing skills for the workplace. My workplace made a number of changes to their procedures as a result of my programme work.

Julia Mosley

24 year old Julia Mosley was already working for a small vet clinic when she decided to undertake Otago Polytechnic’s National Diploma in Veterinary Nursing (Level 5).

“Working full-time in Wellington I couldn’t attend a full-time classroom course so Otago Polytechnic’s programme via distance suited my schedule best.”

Julia describes how the programme made her a better veterinary nurse and gave her confidence carrying out tasks such as placing intravenous fluid catheters, taking blood samples and performing dental scaling and polishing.

Since starting the Diploma, Julia has been able to move into a more surgical nursing role which focuses primarily on nursing hospitalised animals, surgical preparation and providing post-operative care.

“I really enjoyed my experience at Otago Polytechnic. The block courses were great. They were a great opportunity to get to know my fellow classmates and learn and practice hands-on skills.

“The tutors were also amazing. They are very passionate about the industry, supportive and encouraging. I never felt isolated as communication long-distance was no trouble at all and tutors responded to my emails promptly.”

Emily Daly
I love nursing intensive complicated cases and I find satisfaction in helping animals recover.

Emily Daly

American-born Emily Daly turned a love of horses into a dream career in Veterinary Nursing.

Originally from Andover, a suburb just outside of Boston, Massachusetts, Emily arrived in New Zealand in 2010 after completing high school. She spent a couple years studying Marketing Management but partway through her degree realised that this was not where her passion lay.

“I’ve always been a firm believer that you must love what you do for a job. I have always had a passion for animals and once I began my study and went out on placement I knew I had found the right career path.

“I originally chose Otago Polytechnic because my sister has lived in Dunedin for over 10 years. I was really excited to be close to her but – also - I had heard great things about studying here.”

Emily is currently partway through her National Diploma in Veterinary Nursing and is really enjoying it: “The tutors are exceptional and the block courses are incredibly beneficial.”

“One of the benefits of the programme is that I can do it alongside working full-time. I currently work as a veterinary nurse at VetSouth Ltd in Gore. I also live on a sheep and beef farm, and on weekends I enjoy riding my horse and helping my partner with stock work.

“Over the last few years I have really grown and developed as a vet nurse thanks to this programme and my work. I believe I have a great future ahead with a fun and satisfying career path that allows me to increase my responsibilities and skillset.”