TOCES ‘new teaching facilities enhance equine veterinary nurse training

The Open College of Equine Studies (TOCES) has strengthened the training experience for its student vet nurses with the completion of its purpose-built equine educational facilities near Newmarket, Suffolk.

The new facilities – partially funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development – include a spacious lecture room, library, clinical skills teaching area and wet lab, while outdoors, a range of Monarch loose boxes house the horses used for practical handling sessions.

The Open College of Equine Studies offers equine veterinary nurse training to UK and international students.

OSCE success

TOCES director Julie Brega said: “We are passionate about providing the highest level of training to our student veterinary nurses and the new facilities have allowed us to further improve the students’ experience at study weeks – in particular, the teaching of clinical skills and OSCE training.

“The new facilities certainly played a part in our recent 100% OSCE success rate.”

Blended learning

In 2009, the first cohort of SVNs started their training with TOCES. Since then, TOCES has worked with 75-plus equine hospitals in the UK and overseas, including Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia, Finland and New Zealand.

TOCES said the two-year Level 3 Equine Veterinary Nursing program works well for busy practices as SVNs can continue in full-time employment, while completing their studies through blended learning – and weekly online study days are supported with attended study weeks held at the center .

High success rates

The program offers a combination of ongoing tutor support, high-quality study materials, live remote teaching, pre-recorded webinars, and hands-on clinical skill and OSCE training at study weeks, which, TOCES said, has resulted in the center enjoying very high success rates that have been commended by the RCVS.

TOCES ‘veterinary nursing team consists of experienced VN advisors, lecturers and tutors – all of whom have either worked, or are still working, in the equine veterinary nursing profession. The SVNs’ clinical supervisors (formerly clinical coaches) are also supported throughout the completion of their SVN’s Nursing Progress Log.


The next start date for the Level 3 Diploma in Veterinary Nursing is Monday 26 September 2022, with enrolment closing on 25 August.

An induction study week will be held from 26 to 28 September, followed by weekly online study days every Thursday, starting from 6 October. Enrolment includes BEVA membership.

SVNs must be employed or undertake a placement, paid or unpaid, for a minimum of 15 hours per week within an approved RCVS training practice, which, as an RCVS primary center, TOCES can arrange for UK and overseas practices.

Further information about the course, enrolment or how practices can become a training practice can be found on the TOCES website.


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