Urgent Care: Current hours are Monday-Thursday, 8 AM-5 PM. Call 413-614-0039 for an appointment.

At Integrity Veterinary Center, our nursing team includes both veterinary nurses and veterinary assistants. We are fortunate to have an exceptional group of veterinary nursing professionals caring for our patients.

What is a Veterinary Nurse?

Veterinary nurses are an essential part of your pet’s healthcare team! They are skilled professionals who work alongside veterinarians throughout each patient’s hospital visit. In addition to taking a detailed medical history and checking patients’ vital parameters (temperature, pulse, respiratory rate, blood pressure, and weight), veterinary nurses are also trained to assess patients’ capillary refill time, pulse quality, hydration status, and temperament.

In an emergency setting, veterinary nurses promptly triage all patients so veterinarians can attend to the sickest patients first. If your pet has ever had surgery or been hospitalized for a serious illness, there was a dedicated team of veterinary nurses working behind the scenes to ensure they received the best possible care. In addition to administering fluids and medications, veterinary nurses draw blood, place intravenous catheters, run our in-house blood and urine testing, take radiographs (x-rays), closely monitor patients who are under sedation or anesthesia, place continuous glucose monitoring devices, administer blood transfusions, administer chemotherapy, and educate owners about diet, exercise, medication administration, and other aspects of nursing care at home.

A strong majority of our veterinary nurses are Certified Veterinary Technicians (CVTs), and all receive RECOVER CPR training through the RECOVER Initiative. All of our nurses complete a structured, two month long orientation program when they join us, followed by a skill-based training program to ensure they continue to advance and expand their knowledge. Our nurses also have an annual stipend and allocation of paid time off specifically to attend veterinary conferences or other continuing education opportunities.

Veterinary nurses who would like to specialize in a particular area of medicine can pursue a Veterinary Technician Specialty (VTS) Certification. These programs are extremely rigorous; often requiring multiple years of case preparation and study in order to pass the certifying examination. One of our nursing supervisors is a VTS in Internal Medicine, and she mentors any of our earlier-career nurses who are interested in pursuing this path.

What is a Veterinary Assistant?

Veterinary assistants work closely with our veterinary nurses to help streamline patient care and diagnostics. Our veterinary assistants keep our hospital clean and organized, wrap and sterilize surgical packs and instruments, check patients’ vital parameters, hold patients during intravenous catheter placement and chemotherapy administration, assist with radiographs (x-rays) and ultrasound, and perform in-house blood and urine testing.

Similar to our veterinary nurses, our new veterinary assistants complete a focused two month long orientation program. This is then followed by a step-wise training program focused on safe patient handling practices and laboratory skills. Assistants who plan to pursue veterinary nursing certification then complete our veterinary nurse transition program, after which they begin veterinary nursing training.