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Courses open for VSPNer registration

STAF111-0606 : Challenges Facing the Receptionist/Front Office Staff Member (Intermediate Receptionist/Front Office Skills)

Phyllis Webster, AA, OM

June 1 - July 1, 2006
Real Time Sessions: Wednesday evenings June 7, 14, and 21; 7:00pm-8:30pm pm ET (USA)

COURSE DESCRIPTION: Building customer loyalty is an opportunity happening all day, every day. The front office staff member plays the most critical role in the success or failure of a veterinary practice. A unified front desk staff will create a loyal clientele that will assure compliance with the doctor's recommendations. Your front desk staff will attract new clients, solidify the current clients and generally improve productivity and efficiency in your veterinary practice along with handling the distressed client. This course is for all receptionists, front office staff and also those assistants and technicians who fill in at the front desk. There is a required text for this course, see information below.

The Challenges Facing the Receptionist/Front Office Staff course, second in a series, consists of three (3) ninety minute real time sessions; library materials supplementing the chapters in the required text; multiple choice quizzes (after each real time session) designed to enhance course effectiveness and material retention; a cumulative final online; and interactive message board discussions.

All veterinary staff members wishing to enhance their front desk skills are encouraged to register. This course covers those essential skills needed to improve productivity and efficiency in the veterinary practice.

Upon completion of this course, the participant should be able to:

  1. Admit and discharge patients while staying on schedule. Increase the front desk's ability to multi-task.
  2. Increase their knowledge of medical terminology, accurately discharge patients and market the doctor's recommendations.
  3. Turn price shoppers into appointments. Provide accurate quotes where needed.
  4. Handle emergency situations with patients, overcome the unhappy client, and handle payment issues while maintaining a positive attitude.
  5. Overcome client objections while building client loyalty.
Required Text: The Veterinary Receptionist's Handbook. M.T. McClister, DVM and Amy Midgley. Veterinary Medicine Publishing Group. This book can be purchased from the VIN bookstore by clicking on this link:

Recommended Text: Client Satisfaction Pays. Carin A. Smith, DVM. AAHA. This book can be purchased from the VIN bookstore by clicking on this link:

Adjunct materials (Available from the VIN Bookstore):
Staff Training, Essentials of Client Service:
Staff Training, Perception of Value:
Staff Training, Telephone Skills:


Week 1: Maintaining the flow.
The Veterinary Receptionist Handbook - Chapters 6 & 15
Client Satisfaction Pays - Chapters 2, 6, & 12
Admitting patients for boarding, grooming, surgery, etc. is an important aspect as a front desk staff member. Will give tips to maintain a smooth patient flow in and out of the exam room while staying on schedule. Customizing a schedule that minimizes the client's wait time.

Week 2: Cleaning up.
The Veterinary Receptionist Handbook - Chapters 4, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 & 14
Client Satisfaction Pays - Chapters 3, 4, 11, 13 & 16
Communication is an important aspect of interaction with clients. We will discuss the importance of dispensing medications and discharging patients correctly. Accurate quotes are needed to turn price shoppers into appointments. The front desk staff must be able to market the doctor's recommendations since clients value their expertise.

Week 3: The Rough Stuff.
The Veterinary Receptionist Handbook - Chapters 5, 7, 8 & 17
Client Satisfaction Pays - Chapters 14 & 15
Emergencies and unhappy clients happen daily. We will discuss those skills needed to take control of the emergency situation at the front desk. Deal with those unhappy and demanding clients, including payment issues. Overcome client's objections to recommended procedures by the veterinarians while building customer loyalty.

LIBRARY MATERIALS: Library materials will be made available prior to the topic week so participants will have plenty of time to prepare for the real time sessions and discussion.

MESSAGE BOARD DISCUSSIONS: Message board discussions regarding the topic presented will begin on the day the course opens and continue for one week following the last real time session. These discussions will be held in the VSPN CE course area.

CE HOURS: 4.5 (RACE and VHMA approved)

$79 ($71.00 early bird special if registered before May 18, 2006).
Students currently enrolled in and taking at least 2 classes or 5 units at an AVMA accredited or CAAHT approved Veterinary Technician Program may be eligible to receive a reduced rate for this course (upon verification of student status) *VT students: You must include the following information in the comments section of the CE enrollment form in order to be eligible for this discount: your program directors name and contact information (email/phone) and school name.

** NOTE: Registration will be closed when the maximum number of participants is reached or at 5pm ET the day of the first real time session.

Minimum Requirements for Online CE


  1. Each person must individually be a registered member of VSPN ( Membership in VSPN is free.
  2. Each person must be able to receive emails from and addresses. This is our major form of communication with participants. It is highly recommended that course participants use their own, personal emails rather than clinic/hospital email addresses.
  3. VIN Member veterinarians SHOULD NOT register for their staff. Please have the staff member register through VSPN. Please email if you have questions.
**For More Information on VSPN's upcoming CE Courses, check out

Note: "This course has been approved for 4.5 hours of continuing education credits 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 of continuing education. Call VIN/VSPN for further information." (Attendees are encouraged to check with their licensing jurisdiction(s) for information regarding recognition by their board.) This course has also been submitted for approval of continual education units toward CVPM requirements by the VHMA.

COURSE WITHDRAWAL AND REFUND POLICY: Withdrawal prior to the listed start date of a course entitles the registrant to a complete refund or a credit toward a future VSPN or VIN CE course, whichever is preferred. Withdrawal within 1 week after the listed start date (i.e. including no more than one real-time session) entitles the registrant to a credit toward any future VIN CE course. (Does not apply to courses with only one real-time session.) After the first real-time session, a registrant may withdraw due to special circumstances and receive prorated credit towards a future VIN course. These requests will be handled on an individual basis. The amount of the prorated credit will be determined based on 65% of the time remaining in the course at the time of withdrawal. It is not possible to withdraw retroactively.
Note: To ensure rapid handling of your request for withdrawal, we recommend that you call the VIN office at 1-800-700-INFO (4636).
Nanette R. Walker Smith, RVT, CVT
VSPN Content Director or


800.700.4636  |  |  530.756.4881  |  Fax: 530.756.6035
777 West Covell Blvd, Davis, CA 95616

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