Haere mai! Welcome to the Work Placement page for the

New Zealand Diploma in Veterinary Nursing



This page lists the information that you need in regard to your work experience to retain enrolment in the New Zealand Diploma in Veterinary Nursing.


You must confirm your work placement arrangements prior to commencing study in the New Zealand Diploma in Veterinary Nursing programme.  See the bottom of this page for requirements that need to be completed to retain enrolment in this programme.


About Work Placement in this Programme

The aim of work placement for students in the New Zealand Diploma in Veterinary Nursing (Level 6) (NZDVN) is to help create work-ready graduates by ensuring students get the opportunity to practice and apply clinical nursing skills. Students should aim to be working alongside clinical coaches and focusing on getting hands-on experience nursing patients in a clinical environment.


Work Experience Requirements

To meet NZQA requirements for graduation in this programme, you must complete a minimum of 240 clinical work experience hours during the 32 weeks of the academic programme. This includes 110 hours in the first half of your programme, and 130 hours in the second half of the programme.  For fulltime students, this is equivalent to a minimum of 1 full day per week in work placement. For part time students it is half of this. You may complete work experience at a regular time each week, or in blocks of time.

For this programme, you are required to get exposure to a range of clinical situations. To achieve this, you must complete at least 40 hours of your work placement at a different clinic from your primary placement.

Specifics of work placement shifts can be arranged to suit your individual needs, however, while block placements of time are accepted for work placement hours in this programme, students tend to do better if they are attending work placement on a regular schedule where they can develop relationships familarity with practice procedures.

It is important to note that the 240 hours of work placement should not be a target, but rather is a minimum level to pass.  You may require more hours than this to develop your competence in the clinical skills required in the programme.  We have seen first-hand that students with more hours in practice tend to do better in the programme, and consequently become better veterinary nurses, so we recommend that you aim to complete twice the minimum number of hours (as long as overall time for study is not compromised).


Organising Placement

Students need to organise their own work placements. There is a higher demand for work placement in Dunedin than is able to be met for all students, please don't contact Dunedin clinics directly, they have asked us to manage these placements. You will likely need to attend a placement out of town for at least some of your work placement.

A suitable work placement will need to allow you access to a wide range of clinical cases, and the opportunity to be involved with a wide range of veterinary nursing tasks. You should seek a placement that employs at least one, and preferably more veterinary nurses qualified to diploma level or higher, and who are willing to mentor you and assist with the development of your clinical competence. A diploma in veterinary nursing is the minimum qualification for a workplace supervisor to verify your work.

If you are needing help with securing clinical work placements, please contact our Work Placement co-ordinator Katie Prasad at Katie.Prasad@op.ac.nz and she will do her best to assist you with this.



Supervisor Support

To support supervisors and students throughout the programme, your learning advisor will be in contact with your workplace supervisors about specific programme requirements, to provide documents that may be of assistance, and to seek feedback on your skills.  Supervisors and students are encouraged to contact learning advisors at any times with any questions or concerns. 




Programme Start Dates

On-Campus (Dunedin and Weltec) start date: 20 February 2023

Distance part-time year 1 (Dunedin & Toi Ohomai): 7 February 2023

Distance part-time year 2 (Dunedin & Toi Ohomai): 30 January 2023

Distance full-time (Feb intake): 7 February 2023

Distance full-time Semester 1: (Returning from July 2022): 30 January 2023

Distance part-time Semester 1: (Returning from July 2022): 31 January 2023

Distance full-time Semester 2: (July intake): 24 July 2023

Regular work placement should begin from the second week of the programme.  Students that are returning to the NZDVN programme may begin from the recommencement date of their programme.


STUDENTS:  Work Placement Documentation

Students who have not supplied the following information by the programme start date risk being withdrawn from the programme.


1. Secure your work placement:

  • Students based in Dunedin - to reduce pressure on local clinics please don't contact local clinics directly, they have requested that we manage this for them. We will do our best support you in arranging work placement in Dunedin. Please note, some 'out of town' placements may be required to ensure you gain enough hours to meet your programme requirements.  You can email our Workplace Co-ordinator, Katie Prasad at Katie.Prasad@op.ac.nz and she will make contact with you.
  • Students based outside of Dunedin - to secure work placement at a clinic you will need to introduce yourself to your prospective work placement supervisor and let them know of your work experience requirements.

2. On-line Forms: