Unitec Institute of Technology has announced that it will offer a Bachelor of Veterinary Nursing degree from mid-this year; the first tertiary institution in New Zealand to do so.
The Bachelor of Veterinary Nursing (BVN) prepares students for a range of roles within the animal health industry and builds upon the skills embedded within the New Zealand Certificate in Animal Technology (Veterinary Nursing Assistant) (Level 5) and New Zealand Diploma in Veterinary Nursing - NZDVN (Level 6), also offered by Unitec. The final year includes Level 7 compulsory courses, with a primary focus on research skills and critical thinking, and a range of electives in animal behaviour and welfare, conservation, biosecurity, business and communication, as well as a work-based internship course. Extensive consultation was carried out with key industry partners and potential employers, sector groups and associations and a range of Māori stakeholders, in devising the course, which aims to deliver a holistic view of animal health within the broader concept of environmental and societal well-being.
Students will be able to complete the BVN over a total period of three years’ full-time study, adding an additional year of full-time study to the existing NZDVN.
In New Zealand, veterinary nurses perform a range of duties, including assisting in surgical procedures, performing diagnostic tests, administering medications, running support services and performing clinic administrative duties. The BVN will present graduates with a wider range of employment opportunities, including clinical and non-clinical roles, such as nutrition and pharmaceutical reps and managing breeding programmes.
“Veterinary Nursing is a profession that is gaining increased strength and recognition for the role it plays in holistic animal health,” said Dr Dan Blanchon, Head of the School of Environmental and Animal Sciences at Unitec. “There is an increased need for robust, evidence-based programmes of study that provide veterinary nurses with the skills and knowledge they need to carry out the responsibilities associated with the role.
“Unitec offers the broadest range of animal welfare and behaviour programmes in the country and the introduction of the BVN has been well supported by industry, graduates, and industry associations.”
The course, which will be offered from Semester 2, 2019, is supported by the Kate Edgar Educational Charitable Trust Veterinary Nursing Scholarship, offered to female students wanting to study veterinary nursing (either Diploma or Bachelor) at Unitec.
Unitec’s School of Environmental and Animal Sciences will be exhibiting at the New Zealand Veterinary Nursing Association conference staged in Auckland from 14-15 June.