Course Overview

Please Note: The instructor for this course will be unavailable from May 3, 2015 to May 21, 2015. Each student's personal end date is being extended by 2 weeks as a result. During this period students will continue to have access to the course and may submit assignments that will be graded upon her return.

Excellent surgical nursing is a crucial component of every surgical procedure. While the attending veterinarian is the team member who provides the surgical skill and oversees the entire process, the direct hands-on surgical nursing falls into the realm of the veterinary technician. Together the surgeon and the surgical technician create a team that can deliver quality surgical services for their patients.

Many veterinary technicians looking for opportunities to enhance their skills and contribute more to the veterinary team will find this area of practice very satisfying. For example, viewing each patient as an individual and being familiar with the procedure being performed helps to determine the patient's analgesia requirements, pre-, peri- and post-operatively, all with a goal to prevent wind-up and enhance patient recovery.

Veterinary Nursing: A Suite of Surgical Procedures and Techniques will help participants learn to identify important surgical instruments as well as integrate proper sterilization techniques. Patient preparation and monitoring is covered in depth, including catheter and endotracheal placement, as well as preparing the patient in an aseptic manner, as indicated for the appropriate procedures. Patient monitoring is critical during surgical procedures and this course covers a variety of monitoring devices including troubleshooting guidelines should an emergency occur.

Client education is also essential in patient care and participants will be able to create discharge instruction specific to the patient's procedure and follow up care. This course includes challenging assignments that will require the student to utilize professional experience and critical thinking skills, along with new concepts and knowledge acquired through the course materials. Participants are not required to work in practice to complete this course.


Continuing Education Credits

Course meets the requirements for 15 RACE hours of continuing education credit for veterinary technicians in jurisdictions which recognize AAVSB's RACE approval. However, participants should be aware that some boards have limitations on the number of hours accepted in certain categories and/or restrictions on certain methods of delivery.

This course is an interactive online course that meets RACE requirements; program number 57-10148.


Course Content

This 6-week course discusses the basic elements and components of the surgery suite, along with pre-, intra- and postoperative patient care and monitoring. Students will gain a comprehensive understanding of surgery equipment, including anesthesia delivery systems, patient monitoring devices and surgical instruments. Patient procedure preparation, including catheter placement, endotracheal intubation and aseptic prep techniques are covered.


Course Focus and Learning Objectives

This course is designed for the technician who seeks to expand his/her knowledge in surgical nursing skills. The course was developed for students currently working in a veterinary hospital. The assignments are practical and the student will need to utilize practice resources.

Upon completion of the course, the student will be able to:

  • Prepare the surgical suite for pending procedures
  • Identify medical instruments and their usage
  • Demonstrate the preparation of the patient for surgical procedures including IV catheterization, intubation, and preparation of the surgical site
  • Appropriately position and ready the patient on the surgical table for common abdominal, ophthalmic and orthopedic procedures
  • Employ proper hand washing, masking, gloving and gowning techniques and maintain proper surgical nursing decorum
  • Define and apply the concepts of asepsis, sterile field, and surgical conscience
  • List and describe the functions of anesthesia monitoring devices
  • Recognize the various suture patterns and explain their usage
  • Identify and anticipate common problems that may arise during surgical procedures
  • Implement safe post-surgical monitoring techniques as well as recognize potential complications
  • Define the key terms associated with pain management and the importance of preoperative, intraoperative, and postoperative analgesia
  • Utilize appropriate sterilization techniques for surgical equipment
  • Compose and relate comprehensive discharge instructions for the pet owner


Participation Access Parameters

The design of this course allows participants to enroll at any time. 

After enrolling, please allow up to 48 hours for course activation. Each participant will have a personal start and end date that begins upon activation.


Participant Feedback

...I love the instructor. she really knows her stuff, and she is super helpful, and approachable. She provided a lot of support in the two classes I have taken from her. She really sets the standards for nursing quite high. I can honestly say that my patients are receiving better nursing care and pain management advocacy from me as a result of her.

...I enjoyed the freedom that this course allowed me in completing the assigned material. I also very much enjoyed the textbook assigned as well as the feedback that the instructor provided.

...The text was helpful and will come in handy in the training of new hires at my practice. MaryEllen was a very good instructor, and was beyond helpful when I needed her.

...The assignments and case studies were helpful as it allowed me to ask other technicians/Doctor's specific questions about surgery and our protocols.

...I liked the homework assignments because they made me think about how the reading material is used into real life application/situations

...I appreciated all of the teacher feedback and the materials that she had given me to aid in my understanding on topics. I really liked the textbook for the course and thought that it was very thorough and informative. Having the images to work with was extremely helpful.


Required Materials

Small Animal Surgical Nursing, 2nd Edition Authored by: Marianne Tear, MS, LVT; Elsevier

Important Text Information:

It is mandatory that each participant has access to this textbook as the content of the book is not reproduced within the course. It is up to each person to determine the best way to acquire the text. Some will already have the text in their library and therefore will not need to purchase another copy. The text is available as a print publication and as an eBook. Where to purchase and in what format is totally up to the participant. The text is not included in the fee for this course.

USA residents: Elsevier texts, both print and eBook, are available via the VetMedTeam Elsevier Text Portal at discounts off regular retail of 25 - 35 %. If you would like to visit the portal to take advantage of the discount please use this link:

VetMedTeam's Elsevier Text Portal

Important: Regardless of which option the participant chooses, access to a copy of the textbook is mandatory. Without the text the student will not be able to complete the assignments, case studies and examinations. If enrolling close to or beyond the course start date, it is recommended that the text be purchased as an eBook to prevent text acquisition related delays. VetMedTeam has no control over shipping delays and other related problems.


Course Completion Requirements

Completed students are awarded a certificate of completion. Completion requirements include:

  • Instructor Graded Interactive Module Assignments: Designed to help the participant reinforce newly learned material

  • Instructor Graded Interactive Case Study Assignments: Designed to help the participant apply the newly learned skills and knowledge though patient and practice based scenarios

  • Examinations: All examinations must be submitted with a score of 80% or better

  • Course survey


Course Instructor

Mary Ellen Goldberg, BS, CVT, VMT, LAAS, SRAMary Ellen Goldberg, BS, CVT, VMT, LAAS, SRA

Mary Ellen Goldberg graduated from Harcum College and the University of Pennsylvania. She took the Virginia state boards and is also licensed in the state of Florida. Mary Ellen is a Surgical Research Anesthetist certified through the Academy of Surgical Research.

She worked at the Virginia Commonwealth University in the Division of Animal Resources as a Laboratory Animal Anesthesia and Analgesia Specialist and has been the instructor of Anesthesia and Pain Management at VetMedTeam, LLC since 2003.

In addition, she is the Co-Editor of the International Veterinary Academy of Pain Management’s newsletter and active in the formation of Academy credentialing for veterinary technicians and veterinarians. Mary Ellen is an elected member of the Board of Directors and Executive Secretary of the IVAPM (International Veterinary Academy of Pain Management). She is on the Exam Writing Committee and the Case Study Review Committee as part of the credentialing process for Certified Veterinary Pain Practitioner (CVPP). She is a member of the Executive Committee. She is a member of the American Academy of Pain Management, American Society of Pain Educators, and Association of Veterinary Anaesthetists.

Mary Ellen has now been appointed to the faculty at the Mannheimer Foundation, Inc., a primate facility in South Florida, to teach residents in Laboratory Animal Medicine from the University of Florida and other Veterinary Colleges about Primate Anesthesia and Analgesia. Mary Ellen is part of the faculty/staff for Canine Trigger Point Therapy Programs in The Woodlands, Texas. She does relief work as a veterinary technician for the Lion Country Safari Hospital in Loxahatchee, Florida.

Mary Ellen has worked in various aspects of veterinary medicine from small animal and equine to mixed practice, coccidiosis research for a pharmaceutical company, zoo animal medicine and laboratory animal medicine.

She lives in Boynton Beach, Florida with her husband. She has 3 grown sons.



Price: $179.00



VetMedTeam 2014