justdoingmybest
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Hi, so this is my first post on the forum even though I've been lurking for some time - because I have some serious questions about my future and my chances that I need answering. A few years ago I began to develop some very serious problems with my mental health and anxiety, and as a result I ended up in hospital and was unable to attend school. Since early 2016 (Yr 9) I haven't been regularly attending school and as a result I've missed out on a lot. I'm currently at somewhere designed to offer more support to students, which is incredibly helpful as now I can complete my GCSE's. I'm aiming for three GCSE's by the end of the year, but this doesn't include Science which I will require for Vet School. Obviously I will need at least 5, so I'm planning on trying to get at least 2 more when I go onto college next year. Completing these with only one year of prep and work is definitely going to be difficult, but I've been told I have a good work ethic and a high standard of work, so three GCSE's at a minimum C grade (or whatever it is with the confusing new marking system) should be doable.
I have some more post-secondary people coming in within the next few weeks to discuss colleges I can apply to, course I'll take, etc etc, which should help me out a little in this regard. But being me, I chose to want the career that would require a fair amount of qualifications and time put in to achieve, which will be difficult at the stage I'm at. I'm not sure exactly how colleges work - this will be a college, not a sixth form, so I'll have more choices but I haven't received any info on it yet. As A levels take two years, if I'm to do a Biology and Chemistry A level, surely I'll require Science GCSE's beforehand? I'm hoping this makes sense - I've been told that I cannot begin studying for certain A levels until all my GCSE's are out of the way first, but since there is a two-year period of going to college, is this even possible? I wouldn't have thought it would be realistic to get three+ A levels and at least two more GCSE's in two years when you can only do one at a time.
I'm also in the dark about the exact kind of qualifications you need to apply to Veterinary School. I'm only looking to become a Veterinary Nurse, not any sort of Surgeon or someone in a much higher or complicated position. I'm not expecting to get into Cambridge or anywhere else highly prestigious (I'm not sure I'd even want to!) but I'm really hoping I'll be able to go to a decent enough Uni so that I can have realistic job choices.

Any help/advice? Is what I'm hoping for realistic? I'd be really upset if not, but please be honest
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justdoingmybest
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ch0c0h01ic
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(Original post by justdoingmybest)
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If you properly break it down into paragraphs rather than a wall of text you're more likely to get a response

(Original post by justdoingmybest)
Hi, so this is my first post on the forum even though I've been lurking for some time - because I have some serious questions about my future and my chances that I need answering. A few years ago I began to develop some very serious problems with my mental health and anxiety, and as a result I ended up in hospital and was unable to attend school. Since early 2016 (Yr 9) I haven't been regularly attending school and as a result I've missed out on a lot. I'm currently at somewhere designed to offer more support to students, which is incredibly helpful as now I can complete my GCSE's. I'm aiming for three GCSE's by the end of the year, but this doesn't include Science which I will require for Vet School. Obviously I will need at least 5, so I'm planning on trying to get at least 2 more when I go onto college next year. Completing these with only one year of prep and work is definitely going to be difficult, but I've been told I have a good work ethic and a high standard of work, so three GCSE's at a minimum C grade (or whatever it is with the confusing new marking system) should be doable.
I have some more post-secondary people coming in within the next few weeks to discuss colleges I can apply to, course I'll take, etc etc, which should help me out a little in this regard. But being me, I chose to want the career that would require a fair amount of qualifications and time put in to achieve, which will be difficult at the stage I'm at. I'm not sure exactly how colleges work - this will be a college, not a sixth form, so I'll have more choices but I haven't received any info on it yet. As A levels take two years, if I'm to do a Biology and Chemistry A level, surely I'll require Science GCSE's beforehand? I'm hoping this makes sense - I've been told that I cannot begin studying for certain A levels until all my GCSE's are out of the way first, but since there is a two-year period of going to college, is this even possible? I wouldn't have thought it would be realistic to get three+ A levels and at least two more GCSE's in two years when you can only do one at a time.
I'm also in the dark about the exact kind of qualifications you need to apply to Veterinary School. I'm only looking to become a Veterinary Nurse, not any sort of Surgeon or someone in a much higher or complicated position. I'm not expecting to get into Cambridge or anywhere else highly prestigious (I'm not sure I'd even want to!) but I'm really hoping I'll be able to go to a decent enough Uni so that I can have realistic job choices.

Any help/advice? Is what I'm hoping for realistic? I'd be really upset if not, but please be honest
1) You do not need to go to Vet School or university to study to be a veterinary nurse, you can study Veterinary Nursing in a number of colleges across the country (ie; Diploma in Veterinary Nursing - City & Guilds Qualification).

2) Get plenty of work experience before you commit to a course. Veterinary nursing is not as glamorous as many people think it is, and by and large it is poorly paid.

3) Seriously consider the Nursing Diploma/City & Guilds route as opposed to studying Veterinary Nursing at University given your prior issues. I suspect the more vocational course and learning environment would suit someone like yourself better than the more formal/academic environment of university.

4) You can go back to college to study for further qualifications, whether that is to study A-levels if you are currently doing extra GCSEs now, or for the Diploma in Veterinary Nursing post A-levels, there isn't a 2 year lifelong cap. However you would probably have to pay course costs past a certain point, depending upon your age, the level of qualifications you have and your local authority/government.

5) You will almost certainly have to achieve decent passes in your GCSEs before progressing to A-levels. The chances of getting a decent A-level pass without a decent GCSE pass in hand is unlikely. Some colleges offer accelerated single year A-level courses although this is not something offered everywhere, it can be expensive and you need decent GCSE passes (or plenty of tutoring/support) to make it work.

6) The Nursing Degree route versus the Nursing Diploma route has been discussed at length before (search the forum). Both have advantages and disadvantages. The nursing degree route does not guarantee better job prospects despite what some would have you believe and a lot of your success depends on your prior experience, work ethic and how you apply yourself.

7) What you are thinking about is achievable but you have a lot of work ahead of you (ie; academically and work experience) and it may take you a couple of years longer than you think to be in the position to apply. That in itself is neither a good or a bad thing, a couple of years is nothing over the course of your career and you end up entering the jobs market with more life experience (hopefully!).
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justdoingmybest
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(Original post by ch0c0h01ic)
If you properly break it down into paragraphs rather than a wall of text you're more likely to get a response



1) You do not need to go to Vet School or university to study to be a veterinary nurse, you can study Veterinary Nursing in a number of colleges across the country (ie; Diploma in Veterinary Nursing - City & Guilds Qualification).

2) Get plenty of work experience before you commit to a course. Veterinary nursing is not as glamorous as many people think it is, and by and large it is poorly paid.

3) Seriously consider the Nursing Diploma/City & Guilds route as opposed to studying Veterinary Nursing at University given your prior issues. I suspect the more vocational course and learning environment would suit someone like yourself better than the more formal/academic environment of university.

4) You can go back to college to study for further qualifications, whether that is to study A-levels if you are currently doing extra GCSEs now, or for the Diploma in Veterinary Nursing post A-levels, there isn't a 2 year lifelong cap. However you would probably have to pay course costs past a certain point, depending upon your age, the level of qualifications you have and your local authority/government.

5) You will almost certainly have to achieve decent passes in your GCSEs before progressing to A-levels. The chances of getting a decent A-level pass without a decent GCSE pass in hand is unlikely. Some colleges offer accelerated single year A-level courses although this is not something offered everywhere, it can be expensive and you need decent GCSE passes (or plenty of tutoring/support) to make it work.

6) The Nursing Degree route versus the Nursing Diploma route has been discussed at length before (search the forum). Both have advantages and disadvantages. The nursing degree route does not guarantee better job prospects despite what some would have you believe and a lot of your success depends on your prior experience, work ethic and how you apply yourself.

7) What you are thinking about is achievable but you have a lot of work ahead of you (ie; academically and work experience) and it may take you a couple of years longer than you think to be in the position to apply. That in itself is neither a good or a bad thing, a couple of years is nothing over the course of your career and you end up entering the jobs market with more life experience (hopefully!).
Thank you so much for your reply! I will definitely consider different options...I wasn't aware there was a lot you could do besides Uni so thanks for mentioning that.
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animalmagic
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I would definitely recommend the diploma route vs university. You will earn as you train and won't have the debt you would have from a degree, and you will have a far more practical training which stands you in good stead for when you are qualified.
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justdoingmybest
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Back again to ask a couple more questions - the college I'm now looking at offers a 2 year Vet Nursing Apprenticeship, which I would leave with a Level 3 Advanced Apprenticeship in Veterinary Nursing.

I'm just wondering what I could do afterwards if I took that course - as you mentioned University may not be the best option for me, although a significant amount of those who took that particular course went to the RCVS/N...Is there possibly another route I could take to lead me to a job in a private practise?
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ch0c0h01ic
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(Original post by justdoingmybest)
Back again to ask a couple more questions - the college I'm now looking at offers a 2 year Vet Nursing Apprenticeship, which I would leave with a Level 3 Advanced Apprenticeship in Veterinary Nursing.

I'm just wondering what I could do afterwards if I took that course - as you mentioned University may not be the best option for me, although a significant amount of those who took that particular course went to the RCVS/N...Is there possibly another route I could take to lead me to a job in a private practise?
You sound a little confused.

The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) is the independent regulatory body of vets and nurses. Once you have done a qualification of the necessary level (ie; Veterinary Nursing Degree, Diploma in Veterinary Nursing) you can apply to have your name added to their register of veterinary nurses to become a 'registered veterinary nurse' (RVN). Becoming an RVN gives you the freedom to work in the vast majority of teaching and referral institutions, corporate practices and more progressive practices. If you want to take things further still you could then go to university to study veterinary nursing, or study for further qualifications such as advanced nursing diplomas, certificates, etc.

Unfortunately there are still some independent veterinary practices that employ non-registered "nurses" where training is provided "on the job". While some of these individuals are very experienced they lack the formative education and qualification to meet the requirements of the RCVS register, and that creates large question marks over their abilities and competencies. There has been a large debate as to whether these individuals can hold or use the "nurse" title. It has only been relatively recently that the RCVS has introduced the "registered" veterinary nurse distinction.

Do not get me wrong, some of the non registered nurses I have worked with in the past have been great. However, this is not a reliable career path despite what some very convincing practice owners may have you believe. I strongly suspect that the RCVS will continue to clamp down on non registered "nurses" in the future, and it does raise questions about the employer who is unable (or unwilling) to pay to have their nurses properly trained, examined and registered.

The vast majority of responsible employers (myself included) would never run the risk of employing a non registered veterinary nurse as a veterinary nurse.
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