More nursing careers are available for people who love animals than many would first assume. Besides the obvious veterinary nurse career path--a perfect match for an animal-loving medical worker--there are plenty of jobs to choose from that will bring you in to direct contact with animals on a daily basis.
Nurses Who Treat Animals
It might seem like working at a private veterinary clinic will be the only option for a nurse who wants to dedicate his career to animal care, but a wide variety of locations exist for a nurse to find work. Zoos, aquariums, and farms and circuses, as well as any institution that performs animal research, will require veterinary nurses on staff.
Veterinary nurses working under the supervision of the veterinarian attend to animals, give them medicine according to prescription, assist with operations and take laboratory samples.
Nurses Who Work Around Animals
You don't necessarily need to be a veterinary nurse to work around animals. There are plenty of opportunities for nurses to interact with animals in other types of environments. Places like zoos, especially petting zoos which see a high number of children visitors, often have first-aid or nursing stations.
First-aid and nursing stations are also common in state or national parks, as well as in campgrounds, where animals may not be as accessible as they would be in a zoo. It is a good match for a nurse who wants to be closer to nature and wildlife.
A career as a first-aid nurse at zoos or in national parks doesn't necessarily require a master’s degree, and nurses may work for one particular institution full-time or rotate among various organizations.
Other Jobs for Nurses Who Love Animals
Another option for a nursing job that brings you closer to animals might be a placement in a private home that also has pets. Many people who require private nursing need a nurse who is not only comfortable around animals but someone who can also care for their pet if the situation requires. Things like feeding and walking your patient's dog could be an extension of your home nursing services.
Nurses who work at a hospices or schools sometimes train and care for "therapy dogs" which can live with the nurse, keep their patients company and prove to be a great addition to many nursing programs. The nurse must be patient and comfortable enough to train the dog and spend a great deal of time socializing with it. This job requires someone who is passionate about animal and human care.