Unit of competency details

ACMVET203A - Assist with surgery preparation (Release 1)


Usage recommendation:
Is superseded by and equivalent to ACMVET203 - Assist with surgery preparationUpdated to meet Standards for training packages Minor changes to clarify content Assessment requirements revised. 28/Nov/2017
Supersedes RUV2603A - Assist with surgery preparationsUnit updated and equivalent RUV2603A 10/Nov/2010

ReleaseRelease date
1 1 (this release) 11/Nov/2010


SchemeCodeClassification value
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 061103 Veterinary Assisting  

Classification history

SchemeCodeClassification valueStart dateEnd date
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 061103 Veterinary Assisting  11/Nov/2010 
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Modification History

Not applicable.

Unit Descriptor

Unit descriptor 

This unit of competency covers the process of assisting with the preparation of patients (animals) and the theatre for surgery, providing pre- and post-operative patient care and cleaning surgical and theatre equipment in a veterinary clinic.

Licensing, legislative, regulatory or certification requirements may apply to this unit. Therefore, it will be necessary to check with the relevant state or territory regulators for current licensing, legislative or regulatory requirements before undertaking this unit.

Application of the Unit

Application of the unit 

This unit is applicable to new entrants to the veterinary industry and will provide an individual with the background and ability to assist with surgery preparations working under supervision of a veterinarian in a veterinary clinic or similar practice.

In addition to legal and ethical responsibilities, all units of competency in the ACM10 Animal Care and Management Training Package have the requirement for animals to be handled gently and calmly. The individual is required to exhibit appropriate care for animals so that stress and discomfort is minimised.

Licensing/Regulatory Information

Not applicable.


Prerequisite units 

Employability Skills Information

Employability skills 

This unit contains employability skills.

Elements and Performance Criteria Pre-Content

Elements describe the essential outcomes of a unit of competency.

Performance criteria describe the performance needed to demonstrate achievement of the element. Where bold italicised text is used, further information is detailed in the required skills and knowledge section and the range statement. Assessment of performance is to be consistent with the evidence guide.

Elements and Performance Criteria



1. Prepare animal for surgery under direction

1.1. Animal intakes and pre-operative procedures are organised for specified periods as instructed.

1.2. Clinic procedures and occupational health and safety  (OHS ) requirements are followed.

1.3. Assist with pre-operative animal preparation .

1.4. Patient is safely and humanely transferred to theatre for treatment.

1.5. Relevant patient records are provided to the veterinarian as requested.

2. Prepare theatre or surgical operating area for use

2.1. Operating table, required equipment and environs are cleaned and disinfected in accordance with clinic policies.

2.2. Surgical packs and equipment  selected by the qualified veterinary nurse are transferred and/or established to/in theatre or the surgical operating area.

2.3. Staff preparation support  is provided in accordance with clinic policies.

3. Provide pre- and post-operative patient care

3.1. Patient is cleaned in accordance with clinic policies.

3.2. Patient is safely transferred to recovery area.

3.3. Vital  signs' observations are recorded as instructed by the veterinarian.

3.4. Signs of pain  are recognised and reported.

4. Clean theatre equipment

4.1. Theatre equipment  and surrounds are cleaned and disinfected in accordance with clinic policies.

4.2. Surgical equipment is cleaned, maintained and sterilised in accordance with clinic policies.

4.3. Theatre linen is washed and prepared for sterilisation.

4.4. Equipment and gowns are stored safely after use.

Required Skills and Knowledge


This section describes the skills and knowledge required for this unit.

Required skills 

  • maintain and use clippers and vacuum cleaners
  • record observations from veterinarian using correct veterinary terminology
  • restrain animals
  • safely dispose of biological hazardous waste and sharps
  • literacy skills to read, select and apply policies and procedures, including OHS and other clinic policies and procedures; follow sequenced written instructions; and record accurately and legibly patient details
  • oral communication skills/language required to fulfil the job role as specified by the clinic, including questioning techniques, active listening, asking for clarification from the owner and consulting with the duty veterinarian
  • numeracy skills to estimate, calculate and record routine workplace measures
  • use interpersonal skills to work with and relate to people from a range of social, cultural, religious and ethnic backgrounds and with a range of physical and mental abilities
  • problem-solving skills to use available resources and prioritise daily tasks
  • use disinfectants and cleaning agents correctly and apply appropriate cleaning and sterilising techniques
  • use, and record the use of, chemicals and medicines in accordance with relevant state or territory legislation.

Required knowledge 

  • aseptic techniques
  • clinic policies and procedures, including OHS requirements
  • general theatre etiquette, dress rules and 'no-go' areas
  • legislative requirements and health regulations for the storage, use and disposal of chemicals and biological debris from veterinary procedures
  • possible requirements of the veterinarian during operations
  • range of equipment required in both the preparation and theatre areas
  • veterinary terminology pertaining to patient observation.

Evidence Guide


The Evidence Guide provides advice on assessment and must be read in conjunction with the performance criteria, required skills and knowledge, range statement and the Assessment Guidelines for the Training Package.

Overview of assessment 

Critical aspects for assessment and evidence required to demonstrate competency in this unit 

The evidence required to demonstrate competence in this unit must be relevant to workplace operations and satisfy all of the requirements of the performance criteria, required skills and knowledge and the range statement of this unit. Assessors should ensure that candidates can:

  • prepare animals for scheduled operations in accordance with clinic policies and procedures
  • transfer animals safely to and from surgery
  • prepare theatre or surgical operating area for use
  • provide surgery support as required throughout procedure
  • care for animal pre- and post-operatively
  • clean and sterilise theatre and equipment after surgery
  • communicate effectively with the veterinarian and veterinary nurse and follow instructions.

The skills and knowledge required to assist with surgery preparation must be transferable to a range of work environments and contexts and include the ability to deal with unplanned events.

Context of and specific resources for assessment 

Assessment of this unit is to be practical in nature and will be most appropriately assessed in a veterinary practice or in a situation that reproduces normal work conditions.

There must be access to a range of animals and the relevant information, equipment and/or resources to enable one to demonstrate competence.

Method of assessment 

To ensure consistency in one's performance, competency should be demonstrated, to industry defined standards, on more than one occasion over a period of time in order to cover a variety of circumstances, cases and responsibilities and where possible, over a number of assessment activities.

The assessment strategy must include practical skills assessment. Suggested strategies for this unit are:

  • written and/or oral assessment of candidate's required knowledge
  • observed, documented and first-hand testimonial evidence of candidate's application of practical tasks
  • simulation exercises that reproduce normal work conditions
  • third-party evidence
  • workplace documentation
  • portfolio.

This unit may be assessed in a holistic way with other units of competency relevant to the industry sector, workplace and job role.

Guidance information for assessment 

Assessment methods should reflect workplace demands (e.g. literacy and numeracy demands) and the needs of particular target groups (e.g. people with disabilities, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, women, people with a language background other than English, youth and people from low socioeconomic backgrounds).

Range Statement


The range statement relates to the unit of competency as a whole. It allows for different work environments and situations that may affect performance. Bold italicised wording, if used in the performance criteria, is detailed below. Essential operating conditions that may be present with training and assessment (depending on the work situation, needs of the candidate, accessibility of the item, and local industry and regional contexts) may also be included.

OHS  risks when working with animals may include:

  • animal bites, kicks, scratches and crush injuries
  • biological hazardous waste and sharps disposal
  • handling of chemicals and medicines
  • gas leakage
  • inhalation of aerosol particles
  • intraocular contamination
  • manual handling, including carrying, lifting and shifting
  • needle pricks and cuts from other sharps
  • release of infective agents (animal and human)
  • slippery or uneven work surfaces
  • zoonoses.

Animal preparation  for surgery may include:

  • animal restraint
  • clipping, cleaning and preparation of surgical site
  • positioning of the patient.

Surgical packs and equipment  may include:

  • anaesthetic equipment
  • bandaging
  • disposables
  • drapes
  • surgical instruments
  • sutures.

Staff preparation support  may include:

  • preparation of surgical gowns, gloves and masks.

Vital signs  include:

  • pulse rate and quality
  • respiration rate and effort
  • temperature
  • capillary refill time
  • mucous membrane colour
  • heart rate.

Signs of pain  may include:

  • audible, visual or measured signs:
  • arching back
  • behavioural changes
  • biting and kicking
  • displacement of bones
  • elevated temperature
  • increased respiration
  • increased vocalisation
  • withdrawal of affected limbs
  • straining
  • trembling and changes in normal physiology.

Theatre equipment  may include:

  • anaesthetic machine and trolleys
  • instrument trolley
  • kick buckets
  • lights
  • operating table
  • surgical furniture.

Unit Sector(s)

Unit sector 

Veterinary nursing

Competency field

Competency field 

Co-requisite units

Co-requisite units