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Courses open for VSPNer registration

STAF111-1003: Intermediate Receptionist/Front Office Skills

Phyllis Webster, AA, OM

October 27, 2003 - November 26, 2003
Real Time Sessions: Monday evenings November 3, 10, 17, 2003 at 9:30pm ET. (USA)


The receptionist/front office staff plays the most critical role in the success or failure of a veterinary practice. It really does not matter how excellent the patient care is from the veterinarians on staff, the practice can be made or broken depending on the front desk staff. A client will always remember their first few minutes at the clinic along with the last few. 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. 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.

This course will consist of three (3) 1 & ½ (one and one-half) hours 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 wishing to enhance their front desk skills is 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 and overcome the unhappy client, while maintaining a positive attitude.

WEEK 1 - Chapter 6, 15 & 16 - Maintaining the flow.
Content: 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 - Chapter 8, 9 & 14 - Cleaning up.
Content: 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 - Chapter 5, 7 & 8 - The Rough Stuff.
Content: 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.

Required Text is: The Veterinary Receptionist's Handbook. By 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:
TEXTBOOK REQUIRED - Orders received after 10/17 may not receive the book prior to course open.
Recommended Text is: Client Satisfaction Pays by Carin A. Smith, DVM. AAHA. This book can be purchased from the VIN bookstore by clicking on this link:

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.

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 CE credits (applied for RACE and VHMA approval)

$72 ($65.00 early bird special if registered before October 17, 2003). Full time students of an AVMA accredited Veterinary Technician Program will receive a reduced rate for this course of $36.00 (upon verification of student status)


  1. You must be a registered member of VSPN ( Membership in VSPN is free.
  2. VIN Member DVM's SHOULD NOT register for their staff. Please have the staff member register through VSPN. Please email if you have questions.
*VT students, please include your program directors name, school, and school phone number in the comments section of the CE registration form. Your registration will be delayed if this information is not included.
*** For More Information on VSPN's upcoming CE Courses, check out

Note: "This course has been submitted for approval for 7.5 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.)

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 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 withdrawal retroactively. Note: To ensure rapid handling of your request for withdrawal, we recommend that you call the VIN office at 1-800-700-INFO.
Nanette R. Walker Smith, RVT, CVT
VSPN Content Director or


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