There are nearly a million horses in Great Britain and horse riding as a leisure and competitive sport is growing in popularity¹. Horses are prone to a variety of disorders that affect their health and soundness and specialist equine veterinary care can make the difference between life and death, or, less dramatically, between being able to go for a ride on a Sunday morning or not. Fortunately there are many equine hospitals and clinics in the UK, staffed by dedicated equine veterinary surgeons who treat all equine patients, whether they are elite sport horses or family pets. As in all hospitals, well trained nurses are essential, playing a key role in the care and recovery of patients.
The Open College of Equine Studies (TOCES) offers two routes for students to learn the skills and knowledge necessary for employment in the Equine Veterinary Nursing profession; RCVS Equine Veterinary Nursing Diploma and BTEC Equine Nursing Technician qualifications.
All of our programmes are offered through what is known as “blended learning” which provides a flexible way to study around your current commitments. The programme structure includes:
- Distance learning material, studied from home
- A series of study weeks ( held 3 times a year)
We are currently accepting enrolments onto all of our Equine Veterinary Nursing and Technician programmes, ready for our induction study week 8 – 11 September 2014.
We had overwhelming interest in our Equine Veterinary Nursing Programme Information online webinar held last month. If you missed this, you can view a recorded version of the webinar here.
Established 25 years ago, TOCES has been innovative with the development of its learning materials in many equine subject areas and has extended this to meet the needs of veterinary nursing students. Study weeks are held at TOCES, supported by the team at Rossdales Equine Hospital, providing opportunities for students to be taught at this world renowned hospital.
In the UK veterinary nurses can train and become registered on the RCVS Register of Veterinary Nurses. TOCES, based in Suffolk, offers the City and Guilds Level 3 Diploma in Veterinary Nursing (Equine Pathway), which enables graduates to become registered. They also offer an Equine Pathway Top-up programme to qualified Small Animal VNs wanting to specialise in this field.
The courses consist of specially designed printed and online learning materials combined with a series of 8 4-day study weeks. Students are assessed via a combination of multiple choice question examinations, college-based examinations and assignments, the RCVS Nursing Progress Log (NPL) and practical objective structured clinical examinations (OSCEs).
As well as offering training towards the core and equine pathway units of the RCVS Level 3 Diploma in Veterinary Nursing, TOCES will oversee practical training and monitor the completion of work-based clinical skills via the online NPL. The full course will take approximately 2-3yrs to complete, whilst the top-up option takes approximately 18 months.
To enrol onto the RCVS full diploma programme students must be aged 16 or above with a minimum of five GCSEs at Grade C or above. Alternative qualifications of a comparable or higher standard may be accepted in lieu of these; TOCES’ BTEC First Diploma: Equine Nursing Technician is an acceptable entry qualification.
Students must have access to suitable work experience (on the basis of paid employment or an unpaid placement) in a veterinary training practice (TP) or an *auxillary training practice (*aTP). *Practices that do not quite meet the TP criteria can become an aTP and work with TOCES and other TPs to provide the necessary training.
BTEC Equine Nursing Technician Programmes
TOCES’ highly popular BTEC Nursing Technician First and Advanced Diploma courses are suitable for students who may currently be ineligible to train towards the RCVS Level 3 Diploma (e.g. not able to take a position in an approved training practice) or school leavers with insufficient GCSEs to register on the RCVS programme. These qualifications are also ideal for mature students seeking a new career opportunity.
The BTEC First Diploma: Equine Nursing Technician programme is a Level 2 course suitable for students in the early stage of their equine training. Students may wish to work, or already work with horses in either a veterinary practice, welfare organisation or equestrian establishment. No formal entry qualifications are required; the full programme takes approximately 12-18 months and is studies predominantly via distance with 4, 4 day study weeks to attend. This qualification can be used as an entry qualification for the City and Guilds RCVS Level 3 Diploma or the BTEC Advanced Diploma.
The BTEC Advanced Diploma: Equine Nursing Technician Level programme is suitable for students with a base level of equine husbandry, but still in the formative stage of their equine training, aspiring to work, or already working with horses either in a veterinary practice, welfare organisation or equestrian establishment. Applicants must have completed the BTEC First Diploma programme or be able to demonstrate previous veterinary nursing experience. This programme follows the same curriculum and study weeks as the City and Guilds RCVS Level 3 Diploma, but does not require a placement at an RCVS Training Practice – 100 hours work experience is required over the duration of the programme.
Students that hold a BHS Stage 2 or equivalent qualification may be eligible to combine the First and Advanced Diploma.
Subject to meeting the entry criteria, enrolments are now being taken for September 2014.
For further information
You can email the RCVS VN department with specific queries: firstname.lastname@example.org
¹ British Equestrian Trade Association (BETA) National Equestrian Survey (2010-11)