Our Surgical Nursing Online Learning Program has been developed to enable all veterinary nurses/ technicians and veterinary paraprofessionals access to our world-class teaching materials.
By studying part-time, at your own pace, this program allows you to effectively manage your work-life balance while taking essential knowledge back to practice immediately.
This program is created by veterinary specialists and veterinary nurses who all hold further qualifications in their field. Modules include presentations, notes, interactive quizzes and exercises which test your knowledge as you work, along with pre-module and post-module assessments allowing you to evaluate your progress and reflect on your learning. Each module is supported online by a Module Tutor, who will be available to answer all your questions during the month the module is ‘live’.
Increase your skills, knowledge and confidence with 24/7 access from your laptop, tablet or mobile no matter where you are in the world enabling you to fit your learning around the workings of a busy practice.
Once you join you will be part of an international program with participants from all over the world.
Register your interest to receive Surgical Nursing Online Learning updates.
The surgical nurse/tech/assistant is an essential part of the surgical team. A good working knowledge of both surgical principles and equipment is essential to ensure surgical asepsis and safety to both the patient and surgical personnel. This module will cover all of the surgical principles and review surgical asepsis, sterilisation and surgical personnel preparation techniques. The range of surgical instrumentation and equipment has increased in recent years and is now more easily accessible; this module will introduce you to its use and maintenance.
Key learning objectives:
Discuss how hospital layout affects the running of a clinic in relation to infection control
Distinguish between the terms of disinfection and sterilisation and how these techniques are implemented within the surgical and hospital setting
Have an overview of theatre set-up, maintenance and the importance of surgical traffic etiquette
Gain knowledge of the importance of the appropriate selection, preparation, storage and usage of equipment in theatre including surgical instruments and drapes
Demonstrate aseptic techniques when assisting in surgery either as a scrub assistant or as a non-sterile assistant through appropriate hand preparation, gowning and gloving
Appreciate the importance of surgical Health & Safety. Be able to identify potential risks and hazards within the surgical setting and have the knowledge of how to reduce these risks
Know how hospital-acquired infections are obtained and spread, as well as the different types of infection
The success of a surgical procedure depends primarily on good planning and the awareness of potential patient risk factors. The surgical nurse/tech/assistant is an integral part of the surgical team. This module will give you the background understanding and knowledge of the importance of pre-surgical assessment and patient preparation. With the background knowledge of disease pathophysiology and surgical techniques, this module will give you the confidence to nurse the peri-operative patient.
Key learning objectives:
Discuss the importance of patient pre-surgical assessment and be able to identify which technique is most appropriate
Select the appropriate patient preparation technique and positioning required for specific surgical procedures
Be able to explain the importance of nursing care plans and their use in pre and post-operative surgical patients
Obtain knowledge of the role of nutrition in the surgical patient, identifying the advantages and disadvantages of both enteral and parenteral administration and how to manage these cases in the clinic
Appreciate the importance of client communication in relation to a hospitalised patient
There is no such thing as a safe anaesthetic only a safe anaesthetist’. This module will give you the ability to approach the anaesthesia of more critical surgical patients to optimise outcomes. The ability to confidently calculate drug requirements and understand monitoring equipment will help you navigate a surgical list with ease.
Key learning objectives:
Review acid/base balance, the practical application of blood products and explain when different fluid replacement options should be used
Demonstrate the ability to perform all types of fluid administration calculations
Explain the importance of client consent forms, patient anaesthesia records and be able to complete both correctly
Describe the use of different pre-anaesthetic medication, induction and maintenance agents, explaining the advantages and disadvantages of each in specific cases
Identify different types of endotracheal tubes and their use explaining the advantages and disadvantages of each. Demonstrate the skill of intubating easy and more difficult patients
Obtain knowledge of basic through to advanced monitoring including the pros and cons of multi-parameter monitoring
Be able to describe and explain abnormal pulse oximetry values and abnormal capnography waveforms and suggest options to improve them
Anyone involved in a surgical list will need to be up-to-date on pain assessment and multi-modal options for managing pain peri-operatively. This module will give enable you to promote patient welfare by using a pro-active and thorough approach to analgesia.
Key learning objectives:
Appreciate the pathophysiology of pain and be able to identify pain in different species using pain scoring methods
Explain the different classes of analgesia, including opioids, NSAIDs, local anaesthetics and other agents and their pharmacology
Appreciate the use of a pre-emptive and multi-modal approach to analgesia
Demonstrate different intravenous catheterisation techniques including central venous catheterisation
Be able to identify appropriate analgesic agents for the use of CRI, when and how these should be used/monitored and be able to perform a CRI calculation
Obtain knowledge of different local anaesthetic techniques and which surgical cases benefit from their use
Be able to demonstrate the safe administration of local anaesthetics via transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation
This module will allow you to have a deeper understanding of the part imaging plays in a busy surgical setting. The ability to confidently acquire diagnostic radiographs, triage patients using ultrasound and identify those patients who would benefit from advanced imaging will be of great benefit to you.
Key learning objectives:
Explain the different radiographic techniques available, their pros and cons and uses in specific situations
Revise contrast studies, becoming familiar with their use and the specific equipment required to perform them
Demonstrate correct positioning of a patient for specific pre and post-surgical assessment views
Improve your basic film reading, identifying radiographic artefacts and faults
Explain ultrasonography techniques including AFAST™ and TFAST™ and how these techniques benefit surgical cases when diagnosing and monitoring for complications
Identify specific equipment and materials required for ultrasound-guided procedures
Describe the use of echocardiography in the surgical patient, both pre-operatively and as part of a diagnostic workup
Develop your knowledge of the equipment and materials required for interventional radiography
Review advanced imaging (CT/MRI and Scintigraphy) and their uses in diagnosis, pre and post-surgical assessment of the surgical patient
By the end of this module, you will be able to prepare confidently for a wide variety of soft tissue procedures through your understanding of the underlying conditions and risks associated with the procedure.
Key learning objectives:
Explain the principles of surgical technique in order to achieve a good surgical outcome
Review the variables affecting the choice of suture material
Revise the main pathways of haemostasis and discuss the options for controlling haemorrhage at surgery
Demonstrate a good knowledge of appropriate surgical instrumentation for a variety of soft tissue surgical procedures through familiarity with nomenclature and instrument handling
Understand the pathophysiology of GDV and the steps necessary to optimise outcomes and minimise morbidity/mortality
Describe the pathophysiology of a variety of surgical conditions of the gastrointestinal tract, options for treatment and complications associated with it, including peritonitis
Be familiar with surgery of the head and neck including Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome, Maxillectomy/Mandibulectomy, TECA-LBO and ophthalmic surgery
Understand the pathophysiology of pyometra and discuss options for treatment
Demonstrate the correct handling, maintenance and storage of endoscopic surgical equipment for laparoscopy/thoracoscopy
Review suture patterns and techniques
This module will expand your knowledge of fracture types, their repair and a variety of other orthopaedic procedures. Attentive and proactive rehabilitation nursing care is one of the most integral parts of successful postoperative outcomes. This module will give you the understanding to select which of these techniques is likely to be most useful in specific cases.
Key learning objectives:
Consolidate your knowledge of a wide range of orthopaedic equipment including basic instrumentation, plating kits, external fixation kits, joint surgery, spinal surgery and arthroscopy
Transform your understanding of the use, care and maintenance of orthopaedic equipment to maintain quality and efficient stock control in your clinic
Have an overview of the different fracture types and options for their treatment including forelimb, hindlimb and skull
Understand the principles and mechanics for specific joint surgical procedures including joint replacement
Revise the pathophysiology of different conditions of the spine and the specific surgical procedures necessary to treat them
Be familiar with the pros and cons of a variety of rehabilitation techniques and the importance of their role in the patient after specific surgical procedures
As per Simon Sinek “Always plan for the fact that no plan goes to plan”. This module aims to give you the knowledge of potential complications that can arise and hence the confidence to deal with them effectively to ensure a positive outcome. Wound management is also an integral part of the nursing aftercare. This module will review wound types and discuss advances in their treatment.
Key learning objectives:
Revise the collection, analysis and handling of surgical samples to maximise the chance of a diagnosis and minimise the risk of lost or non-diagnostic samples
Become familiar with identifying surgical complications early and consolidate your knowledge of how to minimise them
Develop your skills in managing surgical complications
Transform your understanding of wound management to enable you to become comfortable handling some of the more challenging cases
Recognise the importance of appropriate post-operative management after discharge and how to communicate this to the client
Appreciate the importance of clinical governance in a veterinary practice
*Please note: Module order may be subject to change
Alison graduated from Writtle College in 2005 with a BSc (hons) in Equine Science and qualified as a small animal VN in 2009 whilst working in mixed practice in Bristol. In 2010 she moved to Langford Vets to work as a su …
Barbara graduated with an integrated Master’s in Veterinary Medicine from the Technical University of Lisbon, Portugal in 2009. After graduation, she worked for a year in a small animal practice in Portugal. In 2011 Barb …
Claire graduated from the University of Bristol in 2005 with a BSc (Hons) in Veterinary Nursing and Practice Administration. Following graduation, Claire joined a multidisciplinary referral hospital where she went onto l …
Darren graduated from Cambridge University in 2006, spending a one year rotating small animal internship at the Animal Health Trust, Newmarket thereafter. He then spent 5 years in general practice in Bishops Stortford wh …
Nicki graduated from Bristol Vet School in 2000, and stayed on to undertake an internship and then residency in veterinary anaesthesia. In 2005, she moved to Liverpool Vet School to undertake a three year lectureship pos …
These programs are postgraduate qualifications and require a sound knowledge of veterinary anatomy, physiology and nursing prior to entry.
Registration for the examination (and associated written assessment) is optional, and delegates undertaking an Improve International modular training programme can choose to attend the course without undertaking any assessment. Delegates choosing NOT to undertake any assessment receive acknowledgement of their ‘Continuing Professional Development’ (CPD) hours from Improve International but ARE NOT eligible to receive the NCert/VTCert/VPPCert in their chosen discipline.
Registration is via a unique registration link provided at the start of the course via the online learning platform Moodle. Upon registration, you can anticipate email confirmation. (Please add firstname.lastname@example.org to your contacts to ensure you receive correspondence from ISVPS).
The confirmation email contains a password to access the ISVPS ‘Candidates’ Area’, which is separate to Improve International’s Learning Management System (LMS), ‘Moodle’. In addition to providing access to assessment guidance, the ISVPS ‘Candidates’ Area’ also permits candidates to submit their written assessment to ISVPS anonymously.
The examination NCert/VTCert/VPPCert takes place every November by remote invigilation. You will therefore require access to a computer or laptop (not a tablet) meeting the following requirements:
Using remote invigilation, you can take the examination in any private, quiet room and therefore you are not required to travel.
The examination will consist of two 1-hour examinations. A 25 MCQ exam and an online applied knowledge examination (OAKE).
The program is worth a minimum of 100 CPD hours (approximately 48 hours of delivered sessions and 52 hours self-study time).
In addition to the 2500-word clinical audit assessment, we suggest that delegates spend an additional 52 hours of self-study. You will also require access to journals and articles via an internet library service (e.g. RCVS Knowledge; PubMed; Google scholar) which may incur an additional registration fee.
The examination fee is included in the full course price however those delegates that require to resit any part of the assessments will be subject to additional assessment fees which are paid directly to ISVPS. You will also be provided with a suggested reading list where there may be additional cost of books and articles depending on the individual preferences.
Yes, we fully appreciated that sometimes life itself gets in the way. Therefore, delegates are able to defer the program for a maximum of three years from their start date.
Examination candidates are permitted one deferral from the time they become eligible to take the examination. Further deferrals are taken from the candidate’s three ‘attempts’ to pass the summative assessments (please see question 10, ‘What happens if I fail an ISVPS assessment?’). For example, an ISVPS candidate can choose to use two deferrals but then has only two ‘attempts’ remaining. Please note, candidates have four years from course completion to satisfy ISVPS assessment requirements for the award.
Progress of the completion of your module and program are tracked in different ways.
Each module consists of 9 interactive lessons including reflective study which may involve case studies, MCQ writing and calculation practice during week 4, depending on the specific module. The interactive lessons will track and remember your progress whilst you complete it. When you return to a specific lesson or case study, you will return to the page that you last visited.
Once a lesson is completed, a tick will appear next to the lesson icon on the module course page. You will also see a progress indicator at the top right-hand corner of the course page and a more detailed Progress Bar in the collapsible side menu on the left.
Upon completing all 9 lessons and the 2 case studies, you will be awarded a Digital Badge, recognising your achievement. As you progress through the programme, badges will be awarded at 1/4, 1/2 and 3/4 completion stages.
Candidates have three ‘attempts’ to pass the summative assessments. Candidates are ONLY required to repeat the unsuccessful component (for example, if you were to fail the examination—but pass the written assessment—you are only required to repeat the examination, and vice versa). Please note, there is a nominal administration charge to re-submit the written assessment or re-sit the examination. Assessment dates are annual (i.e. your next opportunity to submit the written assessment or take the examination is in the following year).
Proof of qualifications as awarded in the country of origin will be required prior to enrolment on the programme. These are required by ISVPS for exam registration. Please do contact us to discuss your eligibility for further information.
Modules are released every other month. During the months when a module is not running reflective exercises and study skills will be made available.
During the month when a module is live 3 lessons will be made available within the first week followed by a further 3 lessons in week two and week three. During this time delegates will have access to an open forum which is tutor mentored.
Even though you may access our world-leading Learning Management System via any browser, it is recommended that you choose a browser that supports integrated HTML editor. Google Chrome or Firefox on a Windows operating system, and Chrome, Firefox or Safari on a Mac system.
While using Internet Explorer (Edge) should not cause any issue, it has been reported that some security settings and adherence to W3C standards prevent the browser from operating in some instances. If you experience a problem please try one of the other browsers before contacting Improve for additional support.