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Unit information: Surgical Nursing and Theatre Practice in 2015/16

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Surgical Nursing and Theatre Practice
Unit code VETS20005
Credit points 10
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Mrs. Jeffery
Open unit status Not open

All first year units


All other second year units

School/department Bristol Veterinary School
Faculty Faculty of Health Sciences


This Unit covers the material required for the student to understand the surgical conditions of small animals and how they are managed (primary surgical nursing and management of the clinical environment). Learning is through lectures and practicals.


  • It aims to provide the theoretical underpinning knowledge to support the students practical experience during placements of undertaking various tasks related to these subjects.
  • to enable the student to create and maintain an environment that is suitable and safe for aseptic procedures
  • to enable the student to ensure that personnel follow the rules that apply when working in the surgical environment explain the care and maintenance of surgical instruments, including their identification
  • to enable the student to identify commonly used types of sutures and needles, their applications and alternatives to their use
  • to enable the student to describe the care needs of patients both peri and intraoperatively
  • to enable the student to reflect upon the experience gained within the theatre environment and in nursing surgical patients in order to achieve a suitable level of competence and awareness of this important aspect of the role of the veterinary nurse
  • to allow the student to understand the basis of common surgical conditions of dogs and cats and their treatment

Intended learning outcomes

  • understand the need for provision of a suitable environment in the operating theatre
  • identify common surgical instruments and indicate their use
  • demonstrate competence in the tasks necessary to ensure such provision
  • demonstrate awareness of the requirements of patients undergoing anaesthesia and surgical intervention
  • demonstrate the ability to work as part of a team
  • appreciate the special needs of the surgical patient
  • understand the necessity for close observation of anaesthetised and critically ill patients
  • acquire a good level of proficiency with the equipment necessary to nurse such patients adequately
  • understand the nursing requirements during and following specific surgical procedures
  • list and describe the common surgical diseases of dogs, cats and horses

Teaching details

  • Lectures
  • Practicals

Assessment Details

The overall pass mark for this unit is 40%

Students must obtain a minimum of 40% in each of the following areas:

Written exam (1 hours) (50%)

Practical exam (20 minutes) (50%)

Students who fail to satisfy any of the above criteria will be deemed to have failed the whole unit.

NB Students are expected to wear uniform for practical examinations.

Resits as above.

Reading and References

Essential: (Core materials for the curriculum that all students must read)

There will be papers linked to lectures but these will be provided at the time of teaching

Recommended: (Materials needed for a deep and comprehensive understanding of the subject that students should read but perhaps selectively)

The Textbook of Veterinary Surgical Nursing Martin, C and Masters, M (2006) Butterworth Heinemann

BSAVA Textbook of Veterinary Nursing (2011) by Barbara Cooper (Editor), Elizabeth Mullineaux (Editor), Lynn Turner (Editor) British Small Animal Veterinary Association.

BSAVA Manual of Canine and Feline Surgical Principles - A Foundation Manual British Small Animal Veterinary Association.

Canine sports medicine rehabilitation (2013) M. Christine Zink (Editor), Janet B. Van Dyke (Editor)


Veterinary Surgical Instruments- an Illustrated Guide- College of Animal Welfare

Equine Veterinary Nursing Manual by K Coumbe

The Equine Hospital Manual by Kevin Corley & Jennifer Stephen

Equine Veterinary Nursing Manual by K Coumbe

The Equine Hospital Manual by Kevin Corley & Jennifer Stephen

Further Reading: ( Background to a subject or further specialised study that students are encouraged to read)