ASC183 Foundations in Veterinary Surgical Nursing (8)

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 in an approved veterinary clinic to gain the knowledge, practical skills and competencies required for the awarding of the Certificate IV of Veterinary Nursing. This subject, which is part of the awarding of the Certificate IV in Veterinary Nursing, includes 15 days of WPL.


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

Session 2 (60)
On Campus
Wagga Wagga Campus
Online *
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 the surgery and caring for the patient post-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 including providing surgery support, monitoring patients' vital signs and anaesthesia during surgery, applying a knowledge of anaesthetic agents and the stages and planes of anaesthesia;
  • be able to recognise, respond and assist with animal emergencies, demonstrating knowledge of resuscitation techniques;
  • be able to describe the principles of aseptic technique and prepare the surgeon (gown, gloves, etc), patient, 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 the surgical suite in preparation for surgery, maintain surgical equipment and manage theatre stock;
  • be able to carry out veterinary dental nursing procedures; and
  • be able to communicate post-operative care and patient treatment plans to clients.


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; and
  • Post-operative procedures.

Indicative Assessment

The following table summarises the assessment tasks for the online offering of ASC183 in Session 3 2020. Please note this is a guide only. Assessment tasks are regularly updated and can also differ to suit the mode of study (online or on campus).

Item Number
Value %
Written assessment 1 surgical asepsis and schedule
Written assessment 2 surgical procedures
Written assessment 3 instrumentation and dental
Quiz foundations in surgical vet nursing
Residential school: practical demonstrations

Workplace Learning

This subject contains a 15 days Compulsory Workplace Learning component.

The Workplace Learning (WPL) is to be undertaken at an approved veterinary clinic and involves the student gaining practical skills associated with veterinary nursing. The WPL can begin at the end of Session 1 Year 1 and can be accumulated until the end of Session 1 Year 2.

Residential School

This subject contains a 3 day Compulsory Residential School.

The Residential School is for ALL students enrolled in the subject, both on campus/internal students AND off campus/online students and will be held at GOTAFE Wangaratta. 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

Students will be required to undertake 15 days of workplace learning (in a veterinary clinic) for which they will be responsible for their own travel and accommodation. Travel and accommodation may also be required to attend a compulsory, 3 day, residential school (for on campus/internal students AND online/distance education students) conducted on the GOTAFE campus at Wangaratta, Victoria.

The information contained in the CSU Handbook was accurate at the date of publication: May 2021. The University reserves the right to vary the information at any time without notice.