May is Veterinary Nursing Awareness Month, a whole month dedicated to raising awareness of the veterinary nursing profession and the vital role they play in animal care and treatment.

What was started as an awareness day by the British Veterinary Nursing Association (BVNA) in 2005 quickly grew into a week and expanded even further to a month in 2012.

Danielle Whelan is a veterinary nurse at Cave Veterinary Specialists and kindly took time out to tell us about life as a vet nurse.


How long have you been a vet nurse and what training did you have to do to achieve your qualifications?

Danielle WhelanI started working as a student vet nurse in July 2002 at the age 17. I left school after turning 16 with the GCSE grades needed to start a NVQ level 2 + 3 in veterinary nursing, but another entry requirement was you had to be 17. So I went to college for a year and gained a BTEC 1st Diploma in Animal Care and once completed, I found a training practice and got a job to start my training. I completed my qualification in 2007 to become a registered veterinary nurse.


What attracted you to a career as a vet nurse?

I used to watch Animal Hospital as a child and I decided at seven I wanted to be a vet nurse specifically, not a vet. I didn’t want to do the operations but the actual caring for the patients part.


What are the best things about being a vet nurse?

I love my job – it is active, varied and mentally challenging, and usually very rewarding nursing patients back to health.  I think I would go insane if I had a desk job.


What kind of attributes do you need to be a good vet nurse?

To be practical, hard-working, determined, compassionate and brave. I have lots of scars from this job over the years, but I wouldn’t change any of it as it has taught me to be a better nurse through my experiences.

What advice would you give someone thinking about a career as a vet nurse?

This job can be very hard and challenging, it is not always cute puppies and kittens to cuddle all day long. I have been covered in every type of bodily fluid known to man at some point in my career, and been sent to hospital on numerous occasions. It can be emotionally draining as well as physically draining, but I love my job.  It is very rewarding helping very sick or injured patients and seeing them leave well on the way to recovery.  I wouldn’t change anything.


What are the best things about working at Cave Veterinary Specialists?

I have a special interest in diagnostic imaging and Cave has a variety of advanced imaging techniques (CT, MRI, fluoroscopy) that I didn’t have access to at my previous jobs. It was one of the reasons I moved across the country to work here. I get to see very interesting, different and complex cases which are very rewarding, if challenging to nurse.


For more information on Vet Nurse Awareness Month, visit: