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VetSkill Level 5 Diploma in Advanced Veterinary Nursing - Practice Nurse


This exciting and innovative accredited programme is a great opportunity for general practice and community based Registered Veterinary Nurses to extend their knowledge and skills in leading consultations and clinics to provide nursing care to healthy and sick patients. Learners will advance their career by extending their underpinning knowledge and practice nursing skills to a ‘mastery’ level beyond that of the RCVS Day One Skills and Competences.


What does the course contain?

Learners will cover a range of modules which focus on the role of the practice or consulting nurse, providing expert knowledge to pet owners and ensuring both patient and client receive gold standard clinical care and exceptional customer service. Modules covered will include a range of both theoretical subjects as well as extending practical skills. Learners will also be expected to engage in research and evidence-based nursing to ensure best practice and work within relevant and current clinical guidelines.

Additionally, successful learners will also achieve the VetSkill SQP Certificate of Registration and will be eligible to enter onto the VetSkill Register of SQPs as a C-SQP for companion animals



Professional practice and legislation

Topics Covered - Professional and ethical considerations for the RVN working as a practice nurse, including legislative requirement; the role of the SQP; consulting; and district nursing

Coaching, mentoring and support

Conflict management; team leading and management; communication and teamwork; and support, clinical supervision and assessment of clinical and auxiliary staff.

Consulting skills

Requirements for setting up, delivering and managing nursing clinics or consultations; communication; marketing of services; and client compliance.

Nutrition and diet

Principles of nutritional assessment; implementation of nutrition plans; lifestage feeding; and principles of therapeutic clinical nutrition.

Medical clinics

Principles of clinical examination and maintaining animal health; diagnostic sampling and testing; pain assessment; palliative care. A range of well pet and illness nursing clinics will be covered including: vaccinations, paediatric clinics, renal clinics, post-surgical clinics, etc.

Prescribing and dispensing for the practice nurse

Pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of commonly used drugs in medical disorder; preventative health programmes; and supply of veterinary medicinal products. Learners will gain the SQP qualification also on successful completion of the full programme.

Practical practice nurse skills

Practical and clinical skills signed off at a ‘mastery’ level demonstrating outstanding skill and expertise covering: nursing consultations, nutrition assessments and planning, marketing of clinics, laboratory diagnostic techniques, supply of veterinary medicines, teaching and clinical supervision of team members.

How long is the course?

Learners will be enrolled for one calendar year, with teaching taking place online over approximately 34 weeks with a start date of February 2021. In addition 4 attendance days are provided throughout the year. The first attended session will be an induction day to meet the team and understand the requirements of the programme, with further attendance days throughout the year to help support learners in both the practical and written assessments. Whilst these dates are optional we strongly encourage learners to attend as many sessions as possible. These dates will be made available to enrolled learners on commencement of the programme.

What level is the course?

The course is a regulated level 5 qualification and also embeds the VetSkill SQP Certificate of Registration. On completion of the programme and following successful assessment, learners will be eligible to enter onto the VetSkill Register of SQPs as a C-SQP for companion animals.

How will I be assessed?

Assessment will be varied and will include:

  • Written assignment of 2000 words
  • 3 x case studies of 2000 words each
  • Written exam containing a combination of multiple choice, short answer and essay style questions of 120 minutes duration
  • Skills portfolio of a range of practical skills signed off in practice to mastery level by MRCVS or RVN with an advanced diploma at level 5 or above
  • Practical skills examination set and taken externally through VetSkill comprising a range of set practical tasks

Learners will require a supervisor in practice, and this person must be either an RVN who has completed an Advanced Diploma or Certificate at level 5 or above or be a practising veterinary surgeon. Your supervisor will be required to ‘sign off’ completion of the skills portfolio which will be completed on an ongoing basis throughout the course programme. We would encourage you to select a supervisor who you work with regularly and who can support you with 1-2 hours direct contact per week in order to suitably observe and record skills being completed.

What is the cost of the course?

For learners enrolled within the 20/21 academic year the cost is £2176 (this fee will be subject to change in subsequent academic years). This fee includes examination and assessment fees but please note that reassessments will incur an additional awarding body cost.

There are a range of potential funding opportunities for learners which we would encourage you to investigate further:

How do I apply?

Please note the last date for applications for the February 2021 enrolment is Monday 14 December 2020.

Applying Online - Please visit the Askham Bryan website

Paper Copy Applications - Download and complete a college application form and return by email to or print off, complete and post to:

  • Tracey Seymour
  • Veterinary Nursing Department
  • Askham Bryan College
  • York
  • YO23 3FR

On the form, please ensure you identify the Level 5 Advanced Veterinary Nursing Diploma (Practice Nurse) as the course selection and also identify your chosen site as York.

Contact Details for any further questions
Email: or

Entry Requirements

Learners must be qualified veterinary nurses and be entered on the Register of Veterinary Nurses held by the RCVS and be employed within a small animal general veterinary practice. Learners must be over the age of 16 years and we recommend a minimum of 6 months post qualification experience.

Students will be required to demonstrate their fitness to practise including the disclosure of any criminal convictions that may affect registration with the RCVS as qualified veterinary nurses.

Askham Bryan College,
Askham Bryan,
YO23 3FR
01904 772277