We recognise that placements within a Veterinary Practice are hard to secure. So this page has been designed as a guidance to help you find a placement. This process may take several months. “If you do not at first succeed try again”. Students who are ‘nicely’ persistent will be rewarded for their efforts.

20 steps to securing a veterinary practice placement

  1. What experience have you had so far?
  2. Where can you get to? You will need to be prepared to travel outside of your local area in order to find along term placement.The Traveline website will help you plan your journey.
  3. Find all the practices in the area in which you can travel to. The RCVS website will help you. Search by postcode which will give you the option to locate practices within a stated radius.
  4. What time can you spend in the field gathering experience? Focus on gathering experience before asking for a long term placement. Generally you do not know the practice and they do not know you so the experience will give you time to build a relationship and more importantly confirm in your mind this is the field you want to enter into.
  5. Plan your diary so you have a variety of options to ask the vets. Work experience can be anything from a few hours to as long as a week or more.
  6. Find out the name of the person(s) you need to contact. This will generally be the Head Veterinary Nurse. The RCVS website will help you find this information.
  7. Plan to go in to see the person you need to.
  8. Consider though – what if the person I need to see is busy?
    • Call before you go to arrange to see them when they are available
    • Have a short letter which introduces you, why you have contacted them plus your CV in an envelope addressed to them to look over when they are less busy. If you do this, ask when would be a good time to contact them to discuss further.
  9. Start with your local veterinary practice, where your pets are registered, for work experience and work.
  10. The best way to get experience is by personally asking the person yourself.
  11. Decide on what you are asking for e.g. ‘1 week during half term’. If the person says they are booked, pull out your diary where you have highlighted dates you are available and ask for another week.
  12. Make a judgement whilst talking – if a week seems too long, ask for a couple of days, or one day, or even half a day to help them during their busy periods. This will demonstrate you are keen! If the practice cannot commit ask when would be a good time to contact them again
  13. Once confirmed experience ensure you confirm times and dates – you don’t want to be late. Ensure you turn up on time dressed in smart, casual clothes which you can work comfortably in eg black trousers, not jeans, and a smart top. Hair tied back, removing all visible piercings.
  14. Whilst carrying out your experience enjoy every minute. Be helpful!
  15. Tasks you can immediately help with:
    • Smile and greet clients when you see them
    • Be friendly and approachable – demonstrate this in your body language
    • Ask where you can help staff
    • Sweep and mop floors
    • Tidy working areas e.g. cleaning surfaces during consults if present
    • Make drinks for everyone
    • Make sure pets are comfortable
  16. Don’t just stand and watch. Use your initiative and be helpful where you can.
  17. Don’t do anything which you are unsure of – ask!
  18. Discuss with your supervisor what your long term goal is and the experience required whilst on your course – 2 days/week Veterinary Care Assistant OR at least 15 hours/week Veterinary Nurse.
  19. Once completed experience thank your placement and ask for a reference.
  20. If you enjoyed your placement arrange further experience. Build a portfolio of experience which you can show future prospective placements.

Once you have secured a placement

  1. Ask the practice to write on headed paper what they have offered to you, provide a contact person for the college to contact from this point onwards.
  2. Send your letter of acceptance to the vet nursing team at the college address or email to vetnursing@reaseheath.ac.uk
  3. Arrange further experience until your course starts. This will ensure you know how the practice works and what your roll will be whilst studying on your chosen course.
  4. The college will contact your practice to arrange health and safety checks of the premises you will be working.
  5. Under 18 years old? Your parents/guardian will need to give their permission for you to start your placement as part of your course. You course tutor will provide you with the necessary forms.

Should your practice require further information on becoming a Training Practice or training with Reaseheath please contact Animal Management on 01270 613222.