ASC183 Foundations in Veterinary Surgical Nursing (8)

This is the third of a suite of first year subjects (four in total) which are used for the awarding of a Certificate IV in Veterinary Nursing. In this subject students are introduced to the field of veterinary surgical nursing and the provision of pre, intra- and post-operative nursing support. Students will develop knowledge and skills associated not only with surgical nursing support but also the preparation of theatre, equipment and personnel for surgical procedures.  Veterinary dental nursing procedures are also taught. For all students  (internal and those studying by distance education), this subject includes online modules, tutorials and a compulsory, 3 day, residential school (conducted on the GOTAFE campus at Wangaratta, Victoria) during which students will begin to develop practical skills essential for a veterinary technologist.

For the Bachelor of Veterinary Technology, students are required to complete four subjects (ASC180, ASC181, ASC182 and ASC183) and a total of 35 days of workplace learning (WPL) in a veterinary clinic to gain the practical skills and competencies required for the awarding of the Certificate IV of Veterinary Nursing.  Of these 35 days, 10 days was completed in ASC180 Animal Handling and Health Care.  The remaining 25 days are completed as extramural placements. Several of the required practical skills and competencies relate to the content provided in this subject and it is advised that students concurrently undertake extramural WPL while studying this subject. The 25 days of extramural WPL are assessed in ASC181 Applied Veterinary Nursing.


* Offering has a residential school. Please view following information for further details.

Session 3 (90)
Online *

Continuing students should consult the SAL for current offering details: ASC183. Where differences exist between the Handbook and the SAL, the SAL should be taken as containing the correct subject offering details.

Subject Information

Grading System



One session


School of Animal and Veterinary Sciences

Enrolment Restrictions

Restricted to students enrolled in the Bachelor of Veterinary Technology



Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this subject, students should:
  • be able to describe and undertake pre-operative procedures including preparing animals for scheduled operations, transferring patients to surgery and caring for the patient pre-operatively;
  • be able to prepare the theatre for surgery use including organising surgical schedules, surgical packs and surgical sites;
  • be able to prepare animals for anaesthesia and surgical procedures and adminster analgesics and anaesthetics as directed;
  • be able to describe and undertake intra-operative procedures including providing surgery support, monitoring patients' vital signs and aneasthesia during surgery, applying a knowledge of anaesthetic agents and the stages and planes of anaesthesia;
  • be able to recognise, respond and assist with emergencies, demonstrating knowledge of resuscitation techniques;
  • be able to describe the principles of aseptic technique and prepare the surgeon (gown, gloves, etc), patient, equipment, theatre and personnel in accordance with aseptic technique;
  • be able to identify and describe a range of anaesthetic equipment, including but not limited to vaporisers, circuits and scavenger systems;
  • be able to clean, sterilise, prepare and pack surgical instruments in an aseptic environment ready for surgery;
  • be able to describe and identify a range of common and non-routine surgical instruments;
  • be able to clean and sterilise surgical suite in preparation for surgery;
  • be able to carry out veterinary dental nursing procedures; and
  • be able to maintain surgical equipment and manage theatre stock.


This subject will cover the following topics:
  • Pre-operative procedures
  • Intra-operative procedures
  • Anaesthesia and monitoring
  • Aseptic technique
  • Surgical support
  • Veterinary dental procedures
  • Surgical equipment maintenance
  • Post-operative procedures

Residential School

This subject contains a 3 day Compulsory Residential School.

The purpose of the residential school is to ensure students have the surgical nursing competencies that veterinary technologists are expected to have (based on industry needs). The program will include tutorials and practical classes associated with the following: anaesthesia monitoring, stages and planes of anaesthesia, aseptic technique, identification, use and maintenance of common surgical equipment, analgesia, and pre-, intra- and post-operative routines.

Special Resources

Travel and accommodation may also be required to attend a compulsory, 3 day, residential school (for both internal and distance education students) conducted on the GOTAFE campus at Wangaratta, Victoria. Students may also choose to undertake (as extramural studies) workplace learning in a veterinary clinic for which they will be responsible for their own travel and accommodation. 


For further information about courses and subjects outlined in the CSU handbook please contact:

Current students

Future students

The information contained in the CSU Handbook was accurate at the date of publication: May 2019. The University reserves the right to vary the information at any time without notice.