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Courses open for VSPNer registration

STAF112-0807 : Personnel Issues Facing Veterinary Practice Managers

Heather Howell, LVT, MBA

August 20 - September 23, 2007
Real Time Sessions: Thursday evenings August 23and 30, September 6 and 13; 9:00pm-10:30pm ET (USA).

COURSE DESCRIPTION: To enable and empower veterinary practice leaders to effectively manage hiring and personnel issues. The course will cover how to hire the "right" people for the veterinary profession, how to conduct an orientation, how to set up and maintain personnel files and information, performance planning and employee evaluations, disciplinary action and termination procedures.

The course consists of four (4) online sessions covering discussion of personnel situations; homework reinforcing the handouts and real time sessions; interactive message boards to discuss the real time sessions and homework; and a final exam. The course offers homework that each participant must complete during the course. The goal of the homework is to test the participant's knowledge of the material discussed in each session.

All veterinary support staff are encouraged to join the course and its discussions; however, this course is focused toward veterinary practice managers, hospital administrators, supervisors and those involved in the personnel management aspects of the practice.

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

TEXTBOOKS: There is NO "required" textbook for this course.
The following references were used in developing course materials; they can be considered supplemental reading for the interested participant: COURSE OUTLINE:

Week 1: Hiring the Right People
Content: During this lecture we will discuss what to look for in an applicant. We will also discuss developing a hiring team and the reasons behind involving your staff in the hiring process. Recruiting, hiring issues and methods will be the focus. In addition we will cover suggested interview questions and techniques applicable to the discussion.

Week 2: Orientation and Personnel Records
Content: This session will cover new employee orientation programs and their importance; examples will be given of such programs. The manager's role in overseeing proper orientation as it relates to liability issues will be discussed. Personnel record keeping methods will also be covered. Suggestions for how to start a personnel file will be covered: what can and should be included, as well as what must be filed separately will be reviewed. We will also discuss maintaining personnel files and avoiding potential liabilities in record keeping.

Week 3: Performance Planning, Evaluations and Progress Reports
Content: This session will focus on formal communication with employees. We will discuss the merits and downfalls of traditional employee evaluations. We will present the concept of performance planning and will discuss empowering employees, goal setting, and dealing with substandard performance. This session will also cover the record keeping and liability aspects of formal communications.

Week 4: Disciplinary Action and Termination
Content: This lecture will cover at-will employment, contractual employment, and how to handle disciplinary procedures. We will cover the importance of an employee policy manual, consistency in handling employee issues, and liabilities involved in disciplinary actions and termination. This session will discuss warnings, mentoring programs, retraining, documentation, and finally termination procedures.

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.


$111 (100.00 early bird special if registered before August 6, 2007).
* 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 50% discount off the regular rate for this course (upon verification of student status). 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 director's 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.

** Minimal computer requirements for participating in VSPN and VPSNCE

** Click on "How To's of Online CE" and "Polices & Procedures" for more on how our online CE works


  1. Each enrollee must individually be a registered member of VSPN or VIN ( Membership in VSPN is free; VIN membership includes VSPN membership.
  2. To enroll in any VSPN CE course click on the ENROLL NOW link below the course title on the right side of the page at
  3. Each enrollee 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.
  4. VIN Member veterinarians SHOULD NOT register for their staff. Please have the staff member register through VSPN. Please email if you have questions.
  5. VIN Member veterinarians ARE ELIGIBLE to take this course, we are requesting RACE accreditation for both veterinarians and veterinary technicians. **Please access the course enrollment through
Note: "This course has been submitted (but not yet approved) for 6 hours of continuing education credit in jurisdictions which recognize AAVSB 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 VSPN CE at 1-800-700-4636 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 for 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).
** For More Information on VSPN's upcoming CE Courses, check out

Nanette R. Walker Smith, M.Ed., RVT, CVT, LVT
VSPN Content Director & CE Coordinator
1-800-846-0028 or 1-530-297-4950, ext 187

Ginger Sanders (, ext 183
Charlotte Waack (, ext 193 VSPN CE Services
1-800-846-0028 or 1-530-297-4950


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

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