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3 years full time / 6 years part time
Join a growing industry and develop specialised skills studying a Bachelor of Veterinary Nursing in Melbourne. This La Trobe University degree was designed by the Melbourne Polytechnic veterinary nursing academic team, together with industry input and was accredited by La Trobe University. This veterinary nursing course is delivered by Melbourne Polytechnic through a partnership agreement with La Trobe University.
Higher pet insurance uptake, growing awareness of animal health and advancements in medical procedures for animals has driven demand for the veterinary services industry, which has doubled in size since 2000. Veterinary nurses make up 42% of the veterinary services workforce and the occupation is projected to grow by another 10% in the next five years.
Please note – further information on this course can be found on the La Trobe University Bachelor of Veterinary Nursing website.
Practice clinical skills in our purpose-built veterinary precinct, Melbourne Polytechnic’s Veterinary Nursing Learning Centre, which includes extensive simulated veterinary practice suites. This is Australia’s first Bachelor of Veterinary Nursing, combining the practical side of the vocational industry with a greater depth of knowledge. This pioneering full degree program grants you access to specialised subjects and you’ll complete up to 800 hours of industry placements. Clinical placements throughout your study will offer you extensive opportunities to apply the theory and practices learned on campus with Melbourne Polytechnic’s industry partners. You’ll develop the knowledge and high-level skills required to graduate as a job-ready veterinary nurse.
Ongoing practical clinical experience ensures you are work ready and highly employable when you graduate. The final semester of the second year includes an internship-like approach, where you undertake placement three days per week. You’re encouraged to find veterinary nursing work by the end of the second year that fits into your timetable. Melbourne Polytechnic can help As you enter your third year, you’ll elect subjects in areas of special interest to match your work goals. Once you complete this course, you’ll be set to begin your specialised career with the experience, knowledge and confidence to succeed.
Higher Education Admissions Criteria
You may meet the admissions criteria for higher education at Melbourne Polytechnic if your highest level of study since leaving secondary education is a higher education course, such as a university degree.Find out more
You may meet the admissions criteria for higher education at Melbourne Polytechnic if your highest level of study since leaving secondary education is a vocational education and training (VET) course.Find out more
You may meet the admissions criteria for higher education at Melbourne Polytechnic if you are a recent secondary education student whose admission is primarily based on the completion of Year 12 within the past two years.Find out more
You may meet the admissions criteria for higher education at Melbourne Polytechnic if you have work and life experience and left secondary education more than two years ago and have not undertaken vocational education training (VET) or higher education study since then.Find out more
Course delivery continues at Melbourne Polytechnic during the challenges of the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation the world is facing right now. Our top priority remains the health, safety and well-being of our community.
This program has responded to the COVID-19 restrictions by modifying its delivery to a blended model supporting remote learning. For the immediate term, we’ve changed the way our students attend class, with all lectures, tutorials and seminars moved online.
A collaborative learning environment is created through the requirement of students to attend synchronous online sessions at the normal class times. These sessions are run through Moodle, our learning management system, and conferencing software (e.g. Zoom or Teams). This includes assessment wherever possible.
Alternative arrangements are being made for activities which must be conducted on-campus.
Mon - AM and PM
Tue - AM and PM
Wed - AM and PM
Thu - AM and PM
Fri - AM and PM
Sat - AM and PM
The timetable will vary depending on the year level, semester, subjects chosen and placement roster. Students may be required to attend classes and/or placements up to four days per week.
Assessment will be based on a broad range of authentic tasks, involving individual and group responsibilities. The assessments will include assignments, tests, tutorial questions, oral presentations, client and staff educational materials development (videos, brochures, etc), case studies, practical skills tests, portfolios, role play scenarios, and a clinical placement journal.
Credit points are a basic measure of student workload. All subjects are given a credit point value. Most subjects at Melbourne Polytechnic are 12 credit points. A normal full-time annual workload is 96 credit points. The academic year is divided into two main semesters; full-time students usually enrol in 48 credit points each semester, part-time students usually enrol in 24 credit points each semester or less.
|VET1FSV||Foundation Studies For Veterinary Nursing||Core||This subject is designed to enhance a range of foundation academic skills for tertiary study, including academic literacy, referencing techniques, information literacy, scientific literacy and numeracy, so that key threshold concepts are achieved by subject completion. Students will develop and apply a range of academic skills designed to ensure they have the skills required to succeed in an academic environment. Students are introduced to the concept of an evidence based scientific approach, and its application from the perspective of a student and veterinary nurse. Through a work integrated learning (WIL) context, students will be exposed to veterinary nursing applied concepts in mathematics, chemistry and biology. Students will discuss, reflect upon and evaluate the use of evidence-based practice during their placement in the veterinary hospital under the guidance of the academic supervisory staff.||1|
|VET1AFA||Veterinary Clinical Perspectives: Animal Form, Function And Health A||Core||This subject integrates functional animal anatomy and physiology with its intimate relationship with an animal' state of health. Students undertake and/or observe some dissections, and practice safe tissue and instrument handling. A range of common health related case studies are examined for each body system. Knowledge of common breed anatomical abnormalities and their physiological, health and welfare implications are embedded into the case study learning approach. Safe animal handling is included in this subject, ensuring students learn and practice how to safely handle and restrain a range of common animal species before they undertake placement. Work integrated learning (WIL) is included in this subject, allowing students to apply their class based learning to real life contexts with veterinary teams. Students will participate in assessing, running diagnostic tests and nursing patients during placement. This subject is a pre-requisite for Animal Form, Function and Health B.||1|
|VET1ACM||Animal Care And Management||Core||This subject introduces you to the care and management of a range of common animal species, and the challenges for sustainability practice in animal care identifying the complex interactions between social, environmental and economic issues. Subject content includes animal husbandry in companion animals and a range of other common species. The areas of nutrition, behaviour, and preventative health care of dogs and cats are covered consistent with the requirements of veterinary nursing practice. You will consider the importance and application of professional codes, animal welfare legislation, animal ethics, the human-animal bond, cultural context and genetics within the veterinary nursing context. You are also introduced to the important role of the veterinary nurse in educating and guiding clients in the care of their animals. During their work integrated learning placement, you will assist with the care and management of animal patients.||1|
|VET1IVN||Introduction To Veterinary Nursing Practice||Core||This subject introduces students to the various roles of a veterinary nurse, other veterinary team members, and their roles and interactions in a veterinary context. Students are also introduced to the different areas of a veterinary hospital/clinic and their layout. The veterinary nurse's role in working with animals, owners, team members, facilities, equipment and supplies within a business environment will be examined. The subject is designed to allow students to begin to develop and practice a wide range of veterinary nursing technical skills required by practicing veterinary nurses. The students are introduced to the important role of reflective practice and develop this approach through the use of a weekly reflective journal. Students participate in regular laboratory workshops which introduce a number of clinical skills required in veterinary nursing practice, which are practiced further during work integrated learning placements. Students further develop their understanding of a veterinary nurse's role, including legal, ethical and work, health and safety (WHS) responsibilities.||1|
|VET1CVT||Communication For The Veterinary Team||Core||This subject introduces students to effective human communication techniques, strategies and their application in a veterinary and global context. Students will learn personal cognitive and coping skills to help them appropriately respond to a range of authentic professional workplace situations in a professional, ethical, caring and empathetic manner. The role of communication in supporting the wellness of all stakeholders in veterinary care is considered. Students will practice and critically review communication methods through the extensive use of role play scenarios, including the development of skills to interact sensitively and effectively with a range of people and in diverse cultural contexts. During placement, students will observe and, under supervision, begin to assist with a broad range of veterinary team communication requirements including, for example, client consultations, patient handover rounds, and patient record keeping.||1|
|VET1AFB||Veterinary Clinical Perspectives: Animal Form, Function And Health B||Core||This subject builds on learning in Animal Form, Function and Health A with a continued examination of the functional anatomy and physiology of body systems. Topic areas, including fluid regulation and thermoregulation, will also be introduced where students will integrate the body systems into a whole animal perspective. Case studies will be used to explain an animal's overall physiological response to a number of diseases, and to assist students to further develop their collaborative problem-solving skills. Through their Work Integrated Learning (WIL) placement, students will continue to assist with the care and management of animal patients, including assisting within veterinary teams to assess, undertake diagnostic tests and nurse patients. The WIL placement will enable students to see the relevance of the subject to real-world veterinary practice.||1|
|VET1VNA||Applied Veterinary Nursing Practice A||Core||In this subject, students will develop and practice a wide range of nursing and technical skills required by practicing veterinary nurses. Students' applied learning will be undertaken in a controlled laboratory environment. Nursing approaches taught include: an examination of the nursing process, models, plans, and protocols, and their application in practical veterinary nursing. Students will begin to learn skills required within emergency nursing and ICU areas. Students will consider ways in which a sustainable veterinary practice can be achieved and maintained. The concepts of peer education and peer review will be taught, and students will be guided through their approach to these. Through their work integrated learning (WIL) placement, students will work in a veterinary hospital with an experienced veterinary nurse to further practice and develop a range of level appropriate veterinary clinical skills. During their weekly workshop, students will be guided in how to prepare themselves to gain employment in veterinary nursing, and will be encouraged develop their resume and apply for trainee positions.||1|
|VET1SAB||Small Animal Behaviour And Training||Elective||This subject offers a thorough and practical introduction to the basics of small animal behaviour and training at a level appropriate for student veterinary nurses. Students will develop the underlying knowledge and basic skills required to conduct puppy classes, and advise owners on common behavioural and training problems. Students will learn to take a thorough history and to perform a careful behavioural "triage" to enable a sound decision as to when veterinary intervention is required. Students will also develop the skills required to assist with behaviour modification as directed by veterinarians in the treatment of behavioural problems. Through a work integrated learning (WIL) placement, students will have the opportunity to observe and assist with the care of a wide number of hospitalised and visiting dogs and cats. An integral part of these interactions will involve applying behaviour and training theory, and critically reviewing how they have seen veterinary team members do the same.||1|
|VET1EHS||Equine Health Systems||Elective||This subject aims to develop the knowledge and skills required for successful and economically-rational equine health management. The ability to recognise and evaluate problems early and determine the need for veterinary attention versus treatment by non-veterinary personnel is fundamental to such management. This subject is not designed to develop expert diagnostic skills and does not equip students to prescribe treatments. Upon successful completion of this subject, students will be able to recognise the clinical signs of an ill horse, triage the significance of the presenting clinical problem, seek veterinary assistance when required, and appropriately manage the recovery of the horse. This subject develops the knowledge required for graduates to form a productive working partnership with an attending veterinarian in the health management of the horses under their care.||1|
|LTU0AIM||Academic Integrity Module||Core||The Academic Integrity Module will introduce you to academic integrity standards, so you’re informed about how to avoid plagiarism and academic misconduct. You’ll complete four parts that cover academic misconduct and academic integrity decisions, such as cheating, plagiarism and collusion. You’ll learn about the text-matching tool, Turnitin, that is used at La Trobe, how to get help and where to go to develop referencing skills.||1|
|ABS0WOM||Wominjeka La Trobe: Indigenous Cultural Literacy For Higher Education||Core||Wominjeka La Trobe is a short one-hour compulsory online subject that introduces all La Trobe students to Indigenous Australian history, culture and customs. A rich and relevant cultural heritage education is important for everyone. This topic highlights the link between Indigenous knowledge and values and broader cultural literacy. It asks you to think critically about your own attitudes, values and beliefs.||1|
|VET2VAD||Veterinary Nursing And Animal Disease||Core||In this subject, you will gain an understanding of disease processes, including common infectious and non-infectious animal disease categories, from a veterinary nursing perspective. You will be taken through the process of animal disease management, including aetiology, investigation, treatment, management and prevention. This subject also examines the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of a range of common veterinary pharmaceuticals. Students will also acquire skills in performing a range of common clinical pathology tests. You will apply the theory learnt in this subject via their work integrated learning placement.||2|
|VET2DIA||Diagnostic Imaging And Anaesthesia||Core||This subject examines the applied science of imaging, anaesthesia and pain control and it teaches students how to integrate theory with practice. Students refine these clinical skills through simulated settings and work integrated learning placements. During placement, students will participate in a surgical operating theatre, so that anaesthetic induction, maintenance and recovery of animals can be observed and skills applied. Under supervision of the veterinary team, students will assess the pain levels of medical and surgical patients, as well as assist with imaging procedures, such as radiology and ultrasonography, on a range of veterinary cases.||2|
|VET2PRM||Veterinary Practice Management||Core||In this subject, students will be taught key business concepts as they relate to veterinary practice management in the areas of human, physical and resources management. During their work integrated learning placement, students will apply theoretical concepts into practice. They will assist experienced nurses and veterinarians with stock management, care and maintenance of physical resources, and routine financial resources management. Students will learn appropriate professional communication techniques, including methods of conflict resolution, so as to aid in the management of a veterinary practice.||2|
|VET2VNB||Applied Veterinary Nursing Practice B||Core||In this subject, students will deepen their skills, knowledge and application in a range of key areas associated with independent paraprofessional practice in veterinary nursing. Key areas taught include: nursing care plans, the nutrition of unwell patients, professional client communication, client service and career preparation. During their work integrated learning placement, students will be supported by an experienced veterinary team as they develop a range of core veterinary nursing skills with a view to practicing autonomously. Students will develop deeper professional judgement and the ability to manage more complex professional situations.||2|
|VET2EBN||Evidence Based Practice For Veterinary Nurses||Core||In this subject students will further develop their knowledge and application of research and scholarship in a veterinary nursing context. Students are introduced to basic quantitative and qualitative research methods and the concept of validity assessment via basic statistics. This subject teaches students how to search veterinary nursing databases to find relevant published peer reviewed literature, which they then critically assess. Students are supported to further develop their writing skills either through the task of writing a critical literature review, or preparing a case study at a level suitable for publication in a veterinary nursing journal.||2|
|VET2IAN||Introduction to Advanced Veterinary Nursing||Core||In this subject, students will consolidate the skills they have learnt in previous Veterinary Nursing Practice subjects, as well as being introduced to advanced veterinary nursing knowledge and skills. This introduction will help students to prepare for the advanced veterinary nursing skills which they will learn during third year. Students will become proficient in a range of progressively more complex and demanding veterinary nursing skill requirements. Veterinary nursing skills to be learnt and applied at an introductory advanced level include: emergency and critical care, surgical nursing and care for complex medical cases such as caring for the neurological patient and adopting a holistic animal nursing approach. Students will use an evidence-based and reflective approach to solve problems and to plan for best practice with all aspects of patient care. Through their work integrated learning placement, students will integrate their theoretical knowledge with practice, ensure their proficiency in basic veterinary nursing competencies, and gain introductory exposure to advanced veterinary nursing skills.||2|
|VET2PVN||The Practicing Veterinary Nurse||Core||In this subject, students will undertake an extensive work integrated learning placement, in the form of internships in a number of workplaces. This subject is designed to ensure that students will be ready for practice at the Associate Degree level for a Veterinary Nurse. Topics covered include: reflective practice, employment seeking, preparing for an interview, and registration. Students will continue to apply their theoretical nursing knowledge throughout their placement to refine their clinical skills in veterinary nursing practice.||2|
|VET3AEH||Advanced Equine Health Care||Elective||In this subject, students deepen and apply clinically their underpinning equine health knowledge, by learning how to plan and provide for the nursing care needs of equine patients, and to work as an effective team with equine professionals. Students will examine legal and ethical impacts on the equine sector to help prepare them for ethically and legally challenging decisions and for ensuring that the advice they give to owners is appropriate. Students will integrate the husbandry requirements of horses with health and nursing knowledge to plan holistic individually tailored patient care. Students will also plan how to create and implement evidence based infection control protocols, including for serious zoonotic diseases. Finally, students will learn about equine reproduction and the knowledge and skills required for veterinary nurses to play an active role in assisting with equine reproductive care and management.||3|
|VET3VSM||Veterinary Shelter Medicine and Patient Care||Elective||In this subject, students will learn how to plan and manage the behavioural, husbandry and health care needs of animals living within an animal welfare shelter, to achieve positive animal welfare outcomes and compliance with the Code of Practice for the Management of Dogs and Cats in Shelters and Pounds. Topics covered in relation to the animal shelter include: animal welfare and ethics, relevant legislation, animal behaviour and husbandry, and shelter-specific medicine. Using an evidence-based approach, students will review the design and management practices of a shelter they have visited or undertaken placement at, in order to recommend changes and/or improvements. Students will also learn how to present an evidence-based argument regarding a contentious area in animal welfare and ethics. Through their shelter visits and placements, students will be exposed to the emotional and physical challenges faced by staff that work within animal welfare shelters, and will come to learn how to maximise staff well-being within these environments.||3|
|VET3ASC||Advanced Veterinary Surgical Patient Care||Core||In this subject, students will learn how to move beyond routine surgical nursing, to work as a senior surgical nurse and manager. Students will learn how to manage surgical theatres and wards within a veterinary hospital, to ensure that patient care at the pre-, peri- and post-operative stages is prioritised appropriately and maintained to a high standard. Students will learn how to plan, monitor and manage the anaesthesia and analgesia of a range of complex veterinary surgical patients. Students will also learn how to critically examine theatre space design and workflow. The management of theatre personnel, equipment and patients involved in a surgical theatre's daily operations will be taught. Finally, students will plan the specific pre-, peri-, and post-operative care requirements of a range of complex surgical patients. Students will undertake a work integrated learning (WIL) placement which allow them to further develop their depth of knowledge and practical experience in surgical theatre and ward management, including the nursing, anaesthesia and analgesia management of complex surgical cases.||3|
|VET3ECC||Emergency and Critical Care||Elective||In this subject, you will undertake a work integrated learning (WIL) placement to learn and apply the knowledge and skills required to manage the veterinary nursing emergency and critical care (ECC) area of a veterinary clinic or emergency referral centre. Using an evidence-based approach, you will learn how to triage, prioritise and manage the nursing care of emergency and critical care veterinary patients. In doing so, you will learn how to integrate knowledge of the pathophysiology of a range of critical care and emergency veterinary conditions, with each animal's specific history and nursing care needs. You will learn how to monitor complex and seriously ill emergency and critical care patients, interpret the data obtained and take appropriate actions based on the results. Finally, students will learn how to work as an effective member of a veterinary ECC team, including how to lead such a team when required.||3|
|VET3LAH||Large Animal Health Care||Elective||In this subject, students will extend their knowledge and practical skills with cattle and sheep, beyond the introductory husbandry, handling and preventative health care covered earlier in the course. Via a work integrated learning (WIL) placement, students will learn how to safely work with large domesticated animals including cattle, sheep, goats and alpacas whilst undertaking a range of farm animal management procedures and assisting a veterinarian with the management of animal health conditions. Students will learn how to perform a number of reproductive assistance techniques in cattle, including: pregnancy testing, artificial insemination and assisting cows through parturition (calving), as well as learning how to assist veterinarians with the diagnosis, treatment and surgical management of large animal health conditions including conditions like: bloat, caesareans and foot abscesses. Students will evaluate animal production systems from a holistic perspective, by undertaking an analysis of an animal production animal system from legal, behavioural, husbandry, welfare and ethical perspectives.||3|
|VET3EAW||Exotics, Avian, and Wildlife Care||Elective||In this subject, students learn how to plan and provide evidence based nursing care for a range of exotic, avian and wildlife species. To deepen their knowledge, students will examine the anatomy, physiology, behaviour, handling, husbandry requirements and common conditions of a range of animal species, including pocket pets (rabbits, rats, guinea pigs, mice and ferrets), birds (covering a range of common species), reptiles, amphibians, fish, and native Australian wildlife (kangaroos, possums, wombats and echidnas). Through a work integrated learning placement, students will plan the specific surgical, clinical and nursing care needs of these patients. Students will examine the relevant legislation, and evaluate its impact on the nursing care approaches required for different species. Students will holistically examine the importance of habitat for wildlife, and work together to plan a response to the needs of vulnerable animal populations following natural disasters, such as fire, flood and drought.||3|
|AGR3RP1||Applied Research Project 1||Core||This subject aims to develop students’ theoretical knowledge of the methods and relevant project management skills required to plan and undertake an applied research project in the primary industries field. Elements covered include searching for, analysing and synthesising relevant academic literature; selecting appropriate research methodologies; incorporating research design and methods of data collection; and ethical considerations. This subject is the first part of a research project that will be continued in Applied Research Project 2. Students will be supervised in their research by teaching staff or an appropriate industry professional. Students can choose to develop a project in the Experimental Stream” which plans a laboratory or field research project or in the “Industry Stream” which develops a proposal to address a problem related to industry to produce recommendations or materials.||3|
|AGR3RP2||Applied Research Project 2||Core||In this subject you will complete the second part of an applied research project initiated in the subject Applied Research Project 1. You will apply knowledge and skills to undertake a small research project including: the collection, analysis and interpretation of data, adherence to ethics considerations, and the development of recommendations and/or materials for industry. You will develop time management skills, ability to organize, liaise and work closely with external collaborators and will be required to demonstrate the processes you used to manage the project. Projects are in either the “Experimental Stream” for laboratory or field research projects or in the “Industry Stream” which completes research to address an industry problem to develop recommendations and/or materials for the industry. You are provided with research supervision by teaching staff and/or appropriate industry professionals. This subject addresses La Trobe's Innovation and Entrepreneurship Essential. which entails developing the ability to tackle problems creatively, generating new ideas, taking calculated risks and creating change to achieve ambitions - now and in the future.||3|
|VET3MPC||Advanced Veterinary Medical Patient Care||Elective||In this subject, students will learn how to plan and deliver gold standard veterinary nursing care to medical ward patients with a broad range of serious complex medical conditions. Students will deepen their understanding of the complex disease processes involved, and will apply this knowledge to plan appropriate personalised holistic veterinary nursing care. Students will also be expected to research current best practice in the veterinary literature, and to integrate this evidence into their plans. Supported via a work integrated learning (WIL) placement, students will critically evaluate nursing care delivered to complex medical cases, including methods of communication with clients, colleagues and the general public alike. Students will learn how to plan the delivery of multiple pharmacological agents and how to recognise potential side-effects with complex medication plans. Finally, this subject will enable students to learn how to best educate clients about the management of complex medical conditions, so that pet owners are able to properly manage the in-home care of their pets.||3|
|VET3VPT||Physical Therapy for Veterinary Nursing Patients||Elective||In this subject, students will examine the anatomy and physiology of the body systems involved with conformation, locomotion and biomechanics in a range of animal species, and will consider how damage to, or altered structure and/or function, can result in changes to animal gait and ease of movement. Aided by a work integrated learning (WIL) placement, students will learn about the types, indications and methods of physical therapy available for animals, that trained veterinary nurses are capable of competently and safely undertaking, under the direction of a trained animal physical therapist. Students will also appreciate the importance of early intervention and referral of patients to trained animal physical therapists. Upon completion of this subject, students will be able to competently and safely perform a range of basic physical therapy techniques included within prescribed plans and scope of practice as well as provide ongoing support for the provision of family centred patient care and develop an understanding of the limitations of both themselves and the client.||3|
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When you are studying higher education courses you may qualify for FEE-HELP payments for part or all of your tuition fees. FEE-HELP loans do not cover materials costs.
Fees displayed are effective for new applications received on or after 1 November 2021. Tuition fees do not include textbooks, course materials or overseas student health insurance and visa fees.
After initial deposit, international students are able to pay tuition fees in installments, four times per year.
'We’d been discussing what projects we had coming up that we needed to go and buy materials for. And so then the scholarship came and it was just a sigh of relief.'
Melbourne Polytechnic is committed to providing transparency to the admissions process. In line with this commitment, we provide you with information that will help in making informed choices about your future studies.
Please refer to the La Trobe University Bachelor of Veterinary Nursing Page to check the specific requirements for this course. For further clarification regarding the selection requirements please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note, ALL applicants (VTAC, direct, course transfer and international) are also required to submit a written personal statement and supporting documentation. Click here for more information..
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