Back Print Save Bookmark in my Browser Main : Course Catalog : Introductory Veterinary Assisting Module 1

Courses open for VSPNer registration

STAF135-0910: Introductory Veterinary Assisting Module 1

Heather Howell, RVT, LVT, MBA

September 8-October 8, 2010
Real Time Sessions: Tuesday evenings, September 14, 21, and 28, 2010; 9:30pm-11:00pm ET (USA)

Module 1 covers the foundational elements of veterinary nursing and companion animal hospital orientation including terminology, hospital make up, basic client services, and patient nursing. This course is meant to provide a basic understanding for the novice veterinary support staff member. The goal of these modules is to impart knowledge and techniques veterinary assistants can utilize when assisting veterinarians and veterinary technicians. All members of the veterinary support staff may join the course and its discussions; however, this course has a basic content and is focused toward novice veterinary assistants, animal caretakers, and new hospital employees in companion animal practices. Exotics and large animal medicine will not be covered comprehensively.

Heather Howell, LVT, RVT, MBA has taught numerous classes online for VSPN and has developed this series of courses to teach veterinary assistants, animal caretakers, and new employees the basic elements of the companion animal hospital and enable them to actively contribute to quality patient care. Module 1 has three (3) ninety (90) minute online interactive real time sessions covering discussion of 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 will also utilize interactive cases to test the participant's knowledge of the material discussed in each session.

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

There are no required texts for this course. A list of recommended resources for participants will be provided in the course library.


Week 1: Roles of the Veterinary Staff, Client Interaction, and Basic Terminology
Content: This session will cover the basic knowledge of how each position in a veterinary hospital contributes to the overall health of the hospital and patients and how to fit in at your new job. Taking initiative, anticipating the veterinarian and technician's needs, and becoming indispensable will also be discussed. This session will also touch on client relations and phone skills. This will be valuable for all veterinary assistants, particularly those in a smaller practice where cross coverage of job positions is required. Basic medical records charting and veterinary terminology will also be covered to enable the participant to professionally interact with the staff and the clients.

Week 2: Safety and Basic Animal Restraint/Handling
Content: This session will cover on the job safety and common hospital hazards, including how to minimize such hazards. Taking responsibility for personal safety will be discussed. Basic patient restraint and handling will also be covered including restraints used for a variety of procedures. Tips on becoming proficient at handling and anticipating patients will also be discussed.

Week 3: Nursing
Content: This session will cover techniques in patient care and nursing. It will include discussion of normal vital signs, basic patient monitoring and care, charting patient care, hygiene, and exercising and feeding of the hospitalized patient. This session will also cover compassion and stewardship of our patients.

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.


$90 ($81 early bird special if registered before August 25, 2010).
Enroll in all three VA Modules before September 14, 2010 and receive a 15% discount off the regular course price. This discount is only available through this date.
*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.

**For more on how online CE works see the VSPN Participant's Resource Center


  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 for 4.5 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 for approval for continual education units toward CVPM requirements through 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 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. (Refund policy 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 & VSPN CE Director

VSPN CE Services:
1-800-846-0028 or 1-530-756-4881 or direct line to VIN/VSPN from the United Kingdom: 01452226154
Charlotte Waack (, ext 193
Chris Upchurch (; ext 197
Darci Palmer (; ext 179
Debbie Bess (; ext 178
Nanette Walker Smith (; ext 187


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

Copyright 2000, Veterinary Information Network, Inc.