Lauren Risk: Registered Veterinary Nurse


I couldn’t imagine doing anything else other than working with animals. No two days are ever the same in my job as a Registered Veterinary Nurse and I wanted to combine my love of helping both animals and people with my interest in science and medicine.

While at school I completed lots of work experience in veterinary practice and knew it was the job for me when I didn’t want to go back to school at the end of the placement. I found it so interesting following each animal’s case and the fact that every day is different.

One moment you can be monitoring an anaesthetic in theatre, the next helping a client with their overweight pet. We have lots of different roles in practice, including assisting in theatre, taking X rays, helping with dental procedures, taking blood, processing lab samples, nursing inpatients and advising clients. Very occasionally we get time for a puppy cuddle!

Veterinary nurses are the behind-the-scenes carers for your pets. We’re the ones making sure your pet is comfortable, fed, walked and that all of their needs are met.

As well as a love for animals, you also need excellent communication skills for working with colleagues and clients, you need compassion, a strong work ethic, organisational skills and a strong stomach!

The best thing about my job is seeing a patient that you’ve nursed go home to their family, that wagging tail is everything.

Veterinary nursing is a very challenging career but after 13 years I still enjoy it.

The best way to get started is to get lots of experience in veterinary practice. Places on courses are very competitive and somebody who has already shown their commitment stands out. Of course, getting experience in different practices means that you are trying out the job for real and will know if you really enjoy it.

I did a degree in Biology then a Level 3 Diploma in Veterinary Nursing part-time while working. The Diploma allowed me to register with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons as a Registered Veterinary Nurse.

Becoming a Registered Veterinary Nurse is a challenging career but one that is exceptionally satisfying. It can also lead to many other career opportunities such as working abroad, teaching, working for a drug or pet food company or moving into practice management.