charlottehannahm
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Hi,
I'm interested in doing veterinary nursing at university 2021, however the only thing putting me off is the poor salary. Why are vet nurses so underpaid? Is there career progression in the field to earn more money?

Thanks
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username4577650
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The sad truth is that generally all veterinary professionals are underpaid, vet nurses in particular. Starting salary isn't appalling, but there really isn't much salary progression (afaik). However, there's currently a shortage of veterinary workers, so salaries are predicted to rise and you'll never be out of a job for long. Love of the job and good job security makes up for the low salaries for some people. However, if the low salary really bothers you that much, I would recommend you look at a different field- there are many other great jobs to do with animals.
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ch0c0h01ic
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(Original post by charlottehannahm)
Hi,
I'm interested in doing veterinary nursing at university 2021, however the only thing putting me off is the poor salary. Why are vet nurses so underpaid? Is there career progression in the field to earn more money?

Thanks
It's a mixture of factors:
1) Widely held misconception that vet fees are "overpriced"
2) Poor utilisation of nursing expertise (ie; many practices use nurses as glorified receptionists and cleaners)
3) Poor commercial awareness of many staff (ie; strong relationship between salary and training/performance/management/sacrifice/responsibility - you can't live the "easy life" and expect the highest salary)

Don't get me wrong, I think nurses deserve to be paid more, but I don't think they're terribly paid.

When you consider that salary bandings for veterinary nurses employed by corporate practices are around £20,000-35,000 it isn't that bad when you consider that a significant proportion have little or no student debt, and were able to earn while they studied on the job over a 2-3 year period. Bear in mind that to earn the higher banding you would be expected to take on additional responsibilities (eg; managerial, overtime, locum, consulting, repping, etc).

Sure a a new graduate vet employed by one of the big corporates may start on £28,000-32,000 however they had to study full time for 5-6 years, have in the region of £50,000-100,000 of student debt and carry significantly more responsibility.
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ch0c0h01ic
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(Original post by pikipek)
The sad truth is that generally all veterinary professionals are underpaid, vet nurses in particular. Starting salary isn't appalling, but there really isn't much salary progression (afaik). However, there's currently a shortage of veterinary workers, so salaries are predicted to rise and you'll never be out of a job for long. Love of the job and good job security makes up for the low salaries for some people. However, if the low salary really bothers you that much, I would recommend you look at a different field- there are many other great jobs to do with animals.
What jobs might these be?

Most animal care related jobs are poorer paid than veterinary professionals (ie; nurses, surgeons, practice managers).

If you are referring to conservationists, marine biologists, etc you need to be aware that most are very poorly paid, relying on jobs/careers unrelated to their degrees to make a living.
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weeemma
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I'm a final year veterinary nurse, I don't get paid while I'm studying , only thing I get back is my travelling costs from my practice.
The qualified vet nurses in my practice earns only £18500 a year, the head nurse is about £22000, then they work overtime - weekend, night's to earn more , and the amount of hours a week they just do as well.
Yes I think that veterinary nurses do lot more than what they get paid for the job, considering what they must do and responsibilities as well.
And a nurse in a hospital earns more than a veterinary nurse at the bottom of there pay band to. And they do a year less training with 3 years compare to 4 years for a veterinary nurse.
I will disagreed about nurses earning less than a veterinary nurse but depending where in the country you are depends on what you earn to. I know that the lowest band paid nurse still earns slightly more than a veterinary nurse.
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Jess1109
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(Original post by pikipek)
The sad truth is that generally all veterinary professionals are underpaid, vet nurses in particular. Starting salary isn't appalling, but there really isn't much salary progression (afaik). However, there's currently a shortage of veterinary workers, so salaries are predicted to rise and you'll never be out of a job for long. Love of the job and good job security makes up for the low salaries for some people. However, if the low salary really bothers you that much, I would recommend you look at a different field- there are many other great jobs to do with animals.
What other jobs with a higher salary would you recommend ?
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Tracey1995
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(Original post by Jess1109)
What other jobs with a higher salary would you recommend ?
Nursing I would suggest as pay good depending on which band you start on like xx
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Jess1109
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(Original post by Tracey1995)
Nursing I would suggest as pay good depending on which band you start on like xx
Thankyou What do you mean by which band? x
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Tracey1995
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(Original post by Jess1109)
Thankyou What do you mean by which band? x
Just PM you on this ok xx
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ElizaX
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If you're only in it for the money I wouldn't bother, it's a job where salary worries come last, you're not in it for the money, you're in it because you love what you do.

Maybe look into medicine or biomedical science if you want a great salary.
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Jessicahughes
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The Veterinary Nursing course I am currently doing is 4 years. A veterinary medicine course is 5-6 years like you said. This means Vet nurses only have 1 year less of debt to pay off and I can assure you it is not 'little to no debt'. Vet surgeons also have more resources to practice medicine whereas nurses have to go out on placement and work an unpaid 40 hour week with most unis not covering travel costs which can be £40 a week. They is a lot of ignorance around what vet nurses do and how much research and knowledge they have. Also nurses are quite frankly taken advantage of especially students when it comes to tasks like cleaning and can even be asked to clean windows or receptionist chairs, does that sound fair to you? Vets definitely do carry a lot of responsibility when OPERATING. Its up to the nurses to care for the patients post-op holistically and effectively. And with this a lot of people even within practices think that if a vet has finished operating for the day they should relax and get made teas and coffees whilst reading or responding to clients. Who do you think is expected to make the teas and coffees? No not the vet themselves, not the reception staff, but the nurse who is run off their feet caring for the patients. Don't get me wrong it depends who and of course not all vets are like this but I feel there is a hidden social construct that their is more expected of nurses for less pay and less recognition. They also don't receive a grants like student human nurses as they receive one from the NHS and as Veterinary care is in the private sector, there is no government funding for any students within Veterinary studies. Not to mention the ever increasing registration fees, uniform costs, large number of expensive books, that the unis do not cover because the £9,250 a year isn't enough???? Of course we aren't in this profession for the money, but when you look at the statistics you can't ignore the absolute injustice going on, and the trouble is most people don't know it. They understand the issue with human nursing but as veterinary nursing is in the private sector, its just ignored? And for those vets who think they're better than nurses just because they have a higher social status as more successful and higher pay, you need to take a good hard look at yourselves in the mirror. Of course this is improving in todays society as its much more about equality, but its still not quite there yet. There is still systematic sexism as veterinary nursing is a predominately female profession and historically women get paid less as they 'don't work as hard'.
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ch0c0h01ic
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(Original post by Jessicahughes)
The Veterinary Nursing course I am currently doing is 4 years. A veterinary medicine course is 5-6 years like you said. This means Vet nurses only have 1 year less of debt to pay off and I can assure you it is not 'little to no debt'.
That is true of the graduate route but not the apprenticeship route.

The apprenticeship route (which accounts for a significant proportion of nurses) would have meant qualifying with no debt, and being able to work part time while you study.

Vet surgeons also have more resources to practice medicine whereas nurses have to go out on placement and work an unpaid 40 hour week with most unis not covering travel costs which can be £40 a week.
No they don't.

Vet student placements are unpaid just like that of nursing students, and generally they tended to work longer hours.

I can't remember ever working less than 40 hours/week as a student vet on placement, and sometimes it was as high as 80-100 hours (ie; evenings/weekends/on-call). Some vet schools have started to contribute towards fuel/transport fees but this isn't widespread.

I will concede that I was paid for only one placement (unless you count a couple of litres of fresh milk from the tank on a dairy placement) but the hourly rate worked out at <£2/hour for 3 weeks work.

They is a lot of ignorance around what vet nurses do and how much research and knowledge they have. Also nurses are quite frankly taken advantage of especially students when it comes to tasks like cleaning and can even be asked to clean windows or receptionist chairs, does that sound fair to you? ... And with this a lot of people even within practices think that if a vet has finished operating for the day they should relax and get made teas and coffees whilst reading or responding to clients. Who do you think is expected to make the teas and coffees? No not the vet themselves, not the reception staff, but the nurse who is run off their feet caring for the patients.
Unfortunately that is a symptom of poor management more than anything else.

Vets definitely do carry a lot of responsibility when OPERATING. Its up to the nurses to care for the patients post-op holistically and effectively.
The scary thing is that vets have over-riding responsibility for the majority of activities performed by veterinary nurses.

Don't get me wrong it depends who and of course not all vets are like this but I feel there is a hidden social construct that their is more expected of nurses for less pay and less recognition.
It's more to do with economics.

Nurses generally are under-utilised and generate relatively little practice turnover, hence there is less scope for salary progression. This is something that the RCVS are looking at (ie; Schedule 3 discussion) but don't expect any miracles any time soon.

Not to mention the ever increasing registration fees, uniform costs, large number of expensive books,
Most employers will cover these costs - I haven't paid for my own uniform or RCVS/VDS/CPD fees for several years.

Equally most textbooks aren't necessary - I bought £100s of textbooks as a student (most of which went largely unused).

There is still systematic sexism as veterinary nursing is a predominately female profession and historically women get paid less as they 'don't work as hard'.
The Veterinary profession as a whole is becoming increasingly female dominated, which will see a narrowing of the gender pay gap.

However, until nurses are performing more complex work (and increasing their share of practice turnover) they aren't going to see a significant increase in their salaries, and realistically this will never be on a same level as vets (because of the different training/assessments/job roles/responsibilities).
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