Back Print Save Bookmark in my Browser Main : Course Catalog : Emergency and Specialty Practice: Managing the Front Desk Module 4

Courses open for VSPNer registration

STAF131-0509 : Emergency and Specialty Practice: Managing the Front Desk Module 4

Katherine Dobbs, RVT, CVPM, PHR

May 4-June 7, 2009
Real Time Sessions: Thursdays, May 7, 14, 21, and 28, 2009; 2:00pm-3:00pm ET (USA) **one hour real time sessions

Managing the front office of an emergency or specialty practice can be challenging. It requires finding the right type of people to hire that can handle the stressful situations and highly emotional clients that are common in this type of practice. Then these team members must be orientated to the work that lies ahead, and given initial and ongoing training to meet the challenges of this position. This course will explore how to successfully recruit and train the front office team of the emergency or specialty practice, utilizing a customized Code of Conduct for this niche of veterinary medicine. The course will explore many of the complicated issues involved in establishing policies related to the delivery of excellent client service to both the pet owner and the referring community.

This course will consist of four (4) sixty (60) minute real time sessions; library materials supplementing the required reading; multiple choice quizzes (after each real time session) designed to enhance course effectiveness and material retention; a cumulative final exam online; and interactive message board discussions. Katherine Dobbs holds credentials as a RVT (Registered Veterinary Technician), CVPM (Certified Veterinary Practice Manager), and PHR (Professional in Human Resources). She has taught and lectured worldwide both in onsite and online venues.

This course is designed for office managers and supervisors, and all veterinary front office staff members that are involved in developing policy and protocol for the operation of the front office in an emergency or specialty practice. The Exceptional Client Skills and Challenges Facing the Front Desk Modules 1 and 2, and Emergency and Specialty Practice-Working the Front Desk Module 3, are logical recommended precursors for this course, but are not required.

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

TEXTBOOKS: There are NO required textbooks for this course. Required reading will be in the course area library upon the course opening.


Week 1: Introducing The Triangle Code of Conduct: Relationships With The Referring Community
Content: We will explore a Code of Conduct that illustrates the Triangle of Care within referral veterinary medicine. Participants will learn how to use this Code of Conduct in the recruiting and orientation process to obtain front office team members that are prepared for the referral practice environment. Discussion on how to expand the concepts in this Code of Conduct to create training tools to achieve the desired front office team. Explore communication centered on the referral relationship between the general and emergency/specialty practice. Discover the resources available from the AVMA and AAHA to augment the front office training program.

Week 2: The Front Office Team: Relationships with Pet Owners
Content: Participants will learn how to apply the Triangle Code of Conduct to the relationship between the front office team and the pet owners. Learn how the delivery of exceptional client service directly affects the general practitioner's decision to refer to a particular practice. We will explore the client and patient triage process in detail, and how to establish a flow of communication that delivers immediate service to both the pet and pet owner. Discuss the sensitive situations that the front office team is exposed to such as euthanasia, lack of funds, client grief, and client complaints.

Week 3: The Front Office Role on the Healthcare Team
Content: This week we will discover how the front office team is an integral part of the healthcare team, and how their medical training can be enhanced to earn them the respect of the entire team. We will explore how to develop a medical training program that focuses on medical terminology in the form of commonly used medical treatment and procedures, frequently diagnosed diseases and conditions, commonly used medications, routinely performed lab tests, and everyday medical acronyms and abbreviations to enhance the ability of the front office to communicate with the pet owners, the referring community, and the practice team. We will finish this session with a discussion of emotional health and review safety measures that protect the front office team and the practice.

Week 4: Front Office Policies, Protocols, and Positions
Content: Explore the difficult policies that revolve around the pet owners' capacity to contract, handling complaints, and terminating the veterinarian-client-patient-relationship. Delve into more protocols for the operation of the front desk, and flow of communication with the emergency/specialty practice. Discuss different types of client service positions that can be customized to create excellent relationships with pet owners and the referring community such as Referral Coordinator, Client Liaison, and Client Advocate.

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.


$80 ($72.00 early bird special if registered before April 20, 2009).
*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: Enrollment will be closed when the maximum number of participants is reached or at 5pm ET the day of the first real time session.

**The Participant's Resource Center includes all you need to know about online CE with VIN and VSPN:


  1. Each person must individually be a registered member of VSPN ( Membership in VSPN is free.
  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.
Note: "This course has been submitted for approval of 4 continuing education credits 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 to VHMA for approval for CVPM CE credits.
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

VSPN CE Services
1-800-846-0028 or 1-530-297-4950
Charlotte Waack (, ext 193
Chris Upchurch (; ext 197
Darci Palmer (; ext 179
Debbie Bess (; ext 178


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

Copyright 2000, Veterinary Information Network, Inc.