We recognise that placements within a Veterinary Practice are hard to secure. So this page has been designed as a guide to help you find a placement. This process may take several months. 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? The vet will need to know.
  2. Find all the practices in the area in which you can travel to within a 50 mile radius of Reaseheath College. The RCVS Find a Vet website will help you. Searching by postcode which will give you the option to locate practices within a stated radius.
  3. Where can you get to? You will need to be prepared to travel outside of your local area in order to find a long term placement. Use google maps to find the distances you may need to travel.
  4. Focus on gathering experience before asking a practice 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 that this is the industry you want to enter.
  5. Work experience can be anything from a few hours to as long as a week or more. You will need to be flexible but please note, due to insurance reasons you cannot go into a practice until you are at least 16 years old.
  6. Find out the name of the person(s) you need to contact to arrange your placement. This will generally be the Head Veterinary Nurse or Practice Manager. The RCVS Find a Vet website will help you find this  information or you can use the internet to look up the practice website.
  7. See the person you need to speak to face to face at the practice. Be pro-active and contact the practice yourself – don’t let others do this for you!
  8. Ensure you consider – what if the person I need to see is busy? Make sure you call before you go to see them to find out 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 or a placement.
  10. The best way to get work experience or a placement is by asking the person yourself – don’t ask someone else to do it for you.
  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 your work experience is agreed ensure you confirm times and dates – you don’t want to be late! Turn up on time dressed in smart, casual clothes which you can work comfortably in e.g. black trousers (not jeans) and a smart top. Have your hair tied back and remove all visible piercings.
  14. Whilst carrying out your experience enjoy every minute and 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 how 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. DO NOT just stand and watch. Use your initiative and be helpful where you can and ask questions.
  17. DO NOT do anything which you are unsure of – ASK!
  18. Discuss with your supervisor what your long term goal is and what experience you need to gain whilst on your course e.g. 2 days/week VCA OR at least 30 hours/week as an apprentice SVN.
  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 Veterinary Nursing Team at the college address or email to veterinarynursing@mphpersonalstatement.com.
  3. Arrange further experience until your course starts. This will ensure you know how the practice works and what your role will be whilst studying on your chosen course.
  4. Keep a folder of any references.
  5. The college will contact your practice to arrange health and safety checks of the premises you will be working.
  6. Under 18 years old? Your parent/guardian will need to give their permission for you to start your placement as part of your course. Your 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 the Veterinary Nursing Team via email – veterinarynursing@mphpersonalstatement.com or phone – 01270 616490.