registered veterinary technician thinking about going into human nursing


Hi all. I am a 30 year seasoned registered veterinary technician thinking of going to LPN school to get into human nursing and then transitioning into RN school. I have some degenerative disc disease and scolosis in my back due to the DDD. So veterinary medicine has become difficult for me and I am resigned now to a desk job as an RVT. I miss the nursing aspect and am also having a hard time supporting myself as a single mom on a vet tech salary. So, there are many reasons why I am thinking of making the switch. Are there any of you out there who have made the switch? I would love to hear your stories! Do you like your new career? How physically taxing is it on your body? What did your journey from vet med to human med look like? Thank you all in advance! I feel like I am going through a mid life crisis sometimes! LOL

Hoosier_RN, MSN

3,663 Posts

Specializes in dialysis. Has 30 years experience.

Human nursing generally is physically taxing. Most jobs that are less taxing require a few years at the bedside or in positions where there is a physical element

ETA: most likely, your patients will be heavier, and you may or may not have appropriate lift assistance 

Tweety, BSN, RN

32,611 Posts

Specializes in Med-Surg, Trauma, Ortho, Neuro, Cardiac. Has 31 years experience.

Do not consider nursing with a known bad back.  

There will be some chiming in that they have a bad back and are doing okay, especially away from the bedside, but don't do it.  You're too young.



6 Posts

I would say it depends on how bad your back is. My back and knees are pretty shot from veterinary medicine. I currently work in vet med ER and have been in this field going on 12 years (& just started CNA on the side). I'm well into my 30's and decided it was time to pursue my dream of becoming an RN. I am currently in my second semester of an ADN program and it's the best decision I ever made. It's nothing compared to wresting, getting bit, and lifting those huge dogs with no help. You are on your feet all day, twisting and turning (no different than vet med), but at least you're not physically on your hands and knees ALL DAY. That killed my back. I have a coworker who wears knee pads to work, I don't want that to be me. I have many friends who made the transition from RVT to RN and feel spoiled because of it, they wished they could have done it sooner. We were so used to doing everything in vet med ourselves; the pharmacist, the tech, helping in surgery, X-rays, blood work, discharging pts, helping reception, answering phones, CPR, setting up for endoscopies, and echos / US., laundry, sweeping, mopping, etc. I'm so over it LOL. Honestly, even being a CNA is better than vet med LOL. It also depends on what state you live in, look into the nurse to patient ratios. I think if you want to try something new, there are MANY things you can go back to school for. Maybe go be a phlebotomist. They make more than RVT, I know how hard it is living on that salary. Either way, do what makes you happy (and what your back allows), don't be afraid to make a career change. There are options out there. As for me... It's been so amazing to watch these nurses, these real life super heroes do their thing. And I can't wait to be one of them. Good luck!

Specializes in orthopedic; Informatics, diabetes. Has 11 years experience.

Large animal vet tech for years (my initial degree was pre-vet biology) I have been a nurse now for 10 years. I think that medicine is medicine and it carries over well. I have issues in my hands and some arthritis, but in my 50s and it is easier to work with people than a 1200lb horse 🙂 Go for it! 

We also have an amazing surgeon who is also a veterinarian. Specializes in long bone cancers. 

Specializes in Telemetry, Primary Care. Has 8 years experience.

Chiming in here about the bad back. Despite being 32 and a broski, having done bedside for 7.5 years has taken it's toll. Even with powerlifting as my hobby, I would still feel it some nights at work and sometimes the smallest nursing task can make the back creek. Can't say you should or should not do nursing, but it's for sure physically taxing unless you can score a decent non-bedside position after nursing school.