This year, BVNA are running a campaign specifically aimed at VCAs – recognising the vital role they have as part of the practice team, as a profession in their own right. We’ll also be discussing the wealth of transferable skills that VCAs have, along with the progression opportunities – which don’t always follow the “typical” route of working towards becoming a veterinary nurse!

Dependent on the setting, the VCA may be known by a variety of different names or job titles – but their role is vital in order to support vets and student/registered veterinary nurses (SVNs and RVNs) to provide care to patients, and ensure the smooth running of the practice or hospital.

In this blog we hear from Sarah Little, who completed her Level 2 VCA Diploma in 2019 and currently works as an Anaesthesia Assistant (a VCA-equivalent role supporting vets and veterinary nurses) at The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies.

Are you a VCA looking for more support? As the professional representative for veterinary nursing, BVNA are here for you too! Join us so your voice can be heard – more information about our Associate membership package can be found here; https://bvna.org.uk/membership/

“My name is Sarah Little, and I have been working at The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies as an Anaesthesia Assistant since October 2017.

“Since starting at the R(D)SVS I have completed the Level 2 Diploma for Veterinary Care Assistants and become an Elite Fear Free Professional. Recently I achieved the status of Associate Fellow (AFHEA) which is a qualification that provides recognition of professional practice for supporting teaching and learning in Higher Education. To do this, I had to run tutorials for final year veterinary students as part of my two case studies, incorporating my experience of understanding canine behaviour and patient handling.


“Afterwards, I decided to take a step out of my comfort zone and prepare for my first public talk at the Royal Highland Show, where I discussed recognising and understanding fear, anxiety, and stress in dogs. A few months later I was invited to discuss my role as an Anaesthesia Assistant in front of various University of Edinburgh colleagues. I’ve even had my article on patient considerations pre-anaesthesia published; if you told 17-year-old me who used to read the VN Times on the bus home after work that I would have my article published for the veterinary profession to see – I probably wouldn’t have believed you!


“I used to be a quiet and shy girl who wished she had the courage to be the person she wanted to be. I learned how to be that woman through the kindness and patience of my colleagues both past and present. I want other VCAs to develop into their best possible selves, which is why I believe it important to be compassionate and encouraging so that you can set a good example. Regardless of your profession in the veterinary industry, it’s worth remembering that you can achieve anything if you put your mind to it! I’m feeling really positive about our future and the changes still to come.”


Thank you to Sarah for sharing her career story. If you’re a VCA and your passionate about showcasing the VCA role, we’d love to hear from you to get involved in our campaign. This could include taking part in online discussion panels, writing brief articles, or producing other resources to raise awareness of the VCA role – or any other ideas you may have of your own!

For more information, get in touch with us at bvna@bvna.co.uk.