The Revision Guide for Student Nurses (Part I)

General Nursing

This chapter covers some of the most important aspects of veterinary nursing. The needs of a hospitalised animal include comfort, cleanliness, the administration of appropriate medication, plenty of stimulation and TLC.

This subject details nursing procedures undertaken to ensure that a patient receives the very best possible care during a period of hospitalisation.

In addition to achieving a competent education in the theory of nursing procedures, probably the most important aspect of this subject is to treat a patient as you yourself would expect to be treated in hospital.

Some common sense rules:

  1. Never raise your voice or lose your temper with a patient.
  2. Be aware that the patient is in unfamiliar surroundings with unfamiliar people and therefore likely to be fearful.
  3. Attune yourself to the psychological needs of the patient - some animals will appreciate lots of cuddles, while others prefer to be handled as little as possible.
  4. Establish a routine for feeding, the administration of medication and exercise. Not only will this be beneficial to the patient, it will also ensure that important nursing aspects are not overlooked.
  5. Keep scrupulous hospital records.
  6. If there are any aspects regarding patient care which give cause for concern, do not hesitate to ask a veterinary surgeon for advice.

Learning Objectives
The learning objectives of this chapter are:

  1. To understand the importance of intensive care of the recumbent patient.
  2. To provide a hospitalised patient with optimal enteral nutrition for recovery.
  3. To correctly care for the geriatric patient.
  4. To correctly care for the vomiting patient.
  5. To correctly administer an enema.
  6. To gain a good understanding of the different methods in which the bladder may be emptied.
  7. To achieve a basic knowledge of physiotherapy.
  8. To establish the normal vital signs of a patient and thus show competence and vigilance in the detection of any abnormalities in a hospitalised patient.

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