There is a clear distinction between a Veterinarian and a Veterinary Nurse, if you are interested in discovering it, then read on and hopefully by the end, you will understand the difference.

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The Vet and the Vet nurse are very similar to the doctor and the nurse, both are important people in the medical setup. In a general aspect, we could see it as if Vets are in charge of diagnostics and nurses are in charge of treatment. Therefore, it is very important that they work as a team, in fact, the best partnerships in practice always have a very close relationship between the veterinarian and the nurse.

Role differences

Some procedures that Nurses can take care of could be: monitor anaesthetics, care for patients who are in the wards and look after drips, small procedures like stitching wounds, medications, catheter placement, among others. The Veterinary Nurse Practitioner works under the guidelines of a veterinarian, and cannot prescribe, medicate or operate; these are functions of the Veterinary Doctor who has a more specific clinical training that allows him/her to carry out different procedures than the nurses.

The nurse has a preventative role in the practice. Often the nurse in good practices will be talking about nutrition, worming, flea and other ectoparasite treatments. Pet owners can develop a strong and close relationship with a nurse, perhaps at the time of acquiring a puppy, to monitor the diet and ensure that the puppy does not grow too fast and put on weight during its year of development. The idea is for vet nurses to facilitate the work of veterinary doctors and be the first face the customer sees.

Difference in preparation

Another difference is that a Vet Surgeon’s degree lasts approximately 5 years, a Vet Nurse’s degree lasts 3 years if you attend university. Also, there is a possibility to do veterinary nursing outside of university as part of a college of further education. However, there are different ways to get into the profession if you are or want to become a Vet Nurse, but for Vets, the only way is through a degree.

There are many universities in the UK and around the world that offer a Veterinary degree. It is a common occurrence in the veterinary profession for some vets to travel to other countries to do their bachelor’s, masters or PhD degrees. In England, where I am from, one example is that students tend to travel to Slovakia to train as veterinary doctors.  There are also several universities for the veterinary nursing course.


They’re both really important jobs. One isn’t more important than the other. We need to have veterinarians and nurses in the practice so that your pets get the best possible outcomes when they are unwell and need care.

So, there is a real mix of things that vets and nurses can do that complement each other and make them different. Whatever you decide to do, I hope you succeed and enjoy the profession.

What other differences could you highlight between Vets and Vets Nurses?