New Zealand
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Additional Support From Allied Veterinary Professionals Welcomed Amid Workforce Shortage

The Veterinary Council of New Zealand (VCNZ) is encouraging an increased use of veterinary nurses and technicians for clinical work within their scope of practice.

VCNZ CEO and Registrar Iain McLachlan says, “spreading the workload among various members of veterinary teams is essential in responding to the current vet shortage in Aotearoa”.

“This may mean that when an appointment is made for a minor routine procedure, animals may be seen by someone other than their usual vet.”

Allied Veterinary Professionals (AVPs), which include veterinary nurses, technicians, and technologists, are trained professionals working in clinics alongside veterinarians. In any case where an animal requires specialised care and treatment, veterinarians will still be the first port of call.

“Very much like human health, where you might see a GP practice nurse, seeing a veterinary nurse or technician can safely happen at veterinary clinics,” Iain says. “AVPs have their own set of standards, ethics and guidelines, so are trusted specialists in their fields. VCNZ wants to empower veterinary professionals to use their skills to the full extent.”

Allied Veterinary Professional Regulatory Council of New Zealand (AVPRC) Chair Jennifer Hamlin says, “Veterinary nurses and AVPs learn a number of leadership skills in their formal qualifications. Some of these include interpersonal communication, problem solving and evidence-based practice. These skills equip them for stepping into roles where they can work more autonomously in the clinical environment.”

Competent AVPs are “incredibly valuable” members of the veterinary health care team, according to VCNZ Professional Advisor Seton Butler, and are responsible for many tasks including anaesthetic inductions, intubations and prepping for surgical procedures in companion animal clinics. “They can also be the first professional called to calvings, and if needed, they can perform epidurals or prepare for a caesarean in advance of the veterinarian arriving in well-run production animal clinics.”


To work as a veterinarian in New Zealand, you must be registered with VCNZ and hold a current practising certificate. The Veterinary Council of New Zealand upholds veterinary standards to protect animals, people and veterinary professionals. For more information visit

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