Course Overview

This version of the course is no longer open for enrollment. The replacement course will will use the updated version of the textbook will be open for enrollment by October 15, 2017.

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.

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.


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 distance course that meets RACE requirements; program number 57-25694.


Open Enrollment and Activity Requirements

Open enrollment allows students to enroll in a course at a time that is best for their schedule. Each participant has a personal start and end date. Unless otherwise requested, a participant's start date will be within 48 hours of payment submission.

During their personal 6 weeks of access time, the participant is not expected to be online in the course at any specific times as there are no real time lectures. However, all assignments must be submitted by the assignment deadline date.

This course is designed to be as schedule friendly as possible as we understand it can be hard to fit interactive CE into an already busy schedule.


Course Focus, Content, and Learning Objectives

This course is designed for the technician who seeks to expand their 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.

Veterinary Nursing: A Suite of Surgical Procedures and Techniques is a 6-week course that reviews the basic elements and components of the surgery suite. 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. Preoperative, intraoperative and postoperative patient care and monitoring rounds out the course.

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


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


Technology Requirements

Students will be required to download a spreadsheet and then upload it to complete an assignment therefore access to some form of spreadsheet processing program, such as MS Excel, will be needed. Another assignment will require a camera or smartphone for the uploading of images.

In addition, some sections of the course give the student the option of viewing on the page or via a PDF document; the latter facilitates downloading for future reference.


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.


Participant Feedback

...The required text was a great selection, very straightforward and clear, great reference tables and instructional photos. Mary Ellen's responses on my graded assignments were fast and I really appreciated the additional references and information she provided.

...Mary Ellen provided great feedback and information for each assignment. This has been an informative course and a great learning experience. Thank you so much for all of the information, resources and 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 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.

...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.

...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 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.

...Calculating drug doses for me was probably the most beneficial especially the solutions.

...I like the articles that the instructor attached that were relevant to each topic.


Course Instructor

Mary Ellen Goldberg BS, BS, LVT, CVT, SRA, CCRVN, CVPP, VTS-lab animal medicine (research anesthesia), VTS-physical rehabilitationMary Ellen Goldberg BS, BS, LVT, CVT, SRA, CCRVN, CVPP, VTS-lab animal medicine (research anesthesia), VTS-physical rehabilitation

Mary Ellen Goldberg is a graduate of Harcum College and the University of Pennsylvania. She worked at Virginia Commonwealth University in the Division of Animal Resources and for Research Scientists, advising on their choices for anesthesia and pain management protocols. She was a member of VCU’s IACUC for 10 years. She has been the instructor of anesthesia and pain management courses at VetMedTeam since 2003. She was the Executive Secretary for the International Veterinary Academy of Pain Management(IVAPM)
from 2008-2018.

Mary Ellen is a Certified Veterinary Pain Practitioner through IVAPM. Mary Ellen is also a Surgical Research Anesthetist certified through the Academy of Surgical Research. She is on the Exam Chair for APRVT (Academy of Physical Rehabilitation Veterinary Technicians). She is Exam Chair for the Academy of Laboratory Animal Veterinary Technicians and Nurses (ALAVTN). Currently, she is a staff member at the Canine Rehabilitation Institute, as a Certified Canine Rehabilitation Veterinary Nurse. (CCRVN).

Mary Ellen was chosen NAVTA’s Veterinary Technician of the Year 2018. She has written several books and contributed to numerous chapters regarding anesthesia, pain management and rehabilitation. She speaks at national meetings on these topics and gives private CE to organizational groups. She has worked in various aspects of veterinary medicine from small animal to equine and mixed practice. She participated in coccidiosis research for a pharmaceutical company, and has been active in zoo animal and laboratory
animal medicine.


Upcoming Sessions



Price: $179.00

This course is eligible for the 10% Multi-course discount. To learn more about the discount please visit the Multi-Course Discount page.