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VSPN CE Course STAF162-0813: Enrichment for Veterinary Patients

INSTRUCTOR: Sherrie Yuschak, AAS, RVT, VTS (Behavior), CPDT-KA
COURSE OPEN: August 27-October 7, 2013
REAL TIME SESSIONS (RTS): Tuesdays, September 3, 10, 17, and 24, 2013; 9:00pm-10:00pm ET (USA)
Course RTS Times in Your Area: World Clock Converter

Practice Sessions: In order to prepare you for a successful experience in your CE course, we request you attend a Practice Session prior to the first Real Time Session. Please arrive promptly at the start time; each Practice Session is up to 1 hour in length. For more information, please visit the CE Practice Area.

* The instructor for this course will be showing videos during the RTS which may have an audio component requiring you to have a headset or speakers to listen. Videos will also be available in the library to view and listen to outside of the RTS. If you have any concerns regarding your computer's audio capabilities, please be sure to attend a Practice Session

Level and Prerequisites: This basic level course is open to all veterinary staff interested in the fundamentals of enriching the veterinary patients' environment in order to optimize health, healing, and behavior.

VSPN CE course: This course has RACE approval for veterinary technicians only.

Course Description:
Enrichment does not just stop at toys and fun. The lives of and the care our patients receive during treatment can benefit from incorporating several techniques of enrichment. Relaxed and cooperative patients receive more thorough and timely treatment resulting in minimal stress on both sides of the table. Effectively adapting and enriching the veterinary environment to allow for higher quality patient care results in improved health outcomes and builds revenue. Staff experience less stress and fewer injuries when patients are easier to handle. Clients are happier when their pets are able to receive treatment without struggle, discomfort, or fear. All of these benefits and more can be gained through implementation of the environmental enrichment strategies presented in this course.

This course consists of four (4) sixty (60) Real Time Sessions, supplemental library materials, interactive message board discussions, a mandatory end-of-course test, and may include online multiple choice quizzes (after each Real Time Session). Successful completion (scoring 80% or better) on the end-of-course test is required to earn a certificate of completion for the course.

Upon completion of this course, the participant should be able to Course Materials: Course materials will be available in the course library prior to each Real Time Session.

Required Textbook(s): There is no required textbook for this course.

Recommended Resources: A list of resources in addition to this essential resource below will be provided in the course library once the course opens.

About the Instructors:
Sherrie Yuschak has been a small animal Registered Veterinary Technician for more than 16 years and also holds a Veterinary Technician Specialty credential in Behavior. Sherrie is also a Certified Pet Dog Trainer-Knowledge Assessed, President of the Society of Veterinary Behavior Technicians, and member of the Academy of Veterinary Behavior Technician's Examination Committee. Currently, Sherrie works as the Clinical Behavioral Technician at North Carolina State University's College of Veterinary Medicine.

Course Outline:
Week 1 (Real Time Session September 3): Environmental Enrichment
Content: In this first session, we will discuss what environmental enrichment is, how it benefits the animal, what the staff can gain from it, and how the veterinary practice overall can make gains from enrichment. We will also consider the steps necessary to implement an enrichment program within a veterinary facility and how to overcome any hurdles to success. Safety and cost concerns will also be highlighted.

Week 2 (Real Time Session September 10): Environmental Enrichment for General Practice Patients
Content: Several types of environmental enrichment will be explored in this session. The sensory experience of the patient will be illuminated and suggestions for positive impact on each area will be addressed. For maximum comprehension of enriched patient care the behavioral signs of stress and relaxation in dogs and cats will be covered.

Week 3 (Real Time Session September 17): Environmental Enrichment for Special Needs Patients
Content: In week three, we will focus on the special needs that some patients require such as extended hospitalization, special diet/feeding methods, physical limitations, etc. We will discuss obstacles that can occur and strategize to work within such restrictions. Creativity, adherence to the veterinarians' treatment plan, and safety will be emphasized.

Week 4 (Real Time Session September 24): Environmental Enrichment Education for Clients
Content: The last session includes information that can be used to educate clients regarding the importance environmental enrichment within the home. Techniques will be discussed that can improve pet behavior, enhance the bond between client and pet, and maximize animal welfare through consideration of the pets' needs as a unique species. Some of the suggestions can carry over to the veterinary facility as well and empower the client to be an active participant in the patient experience.


Tuition: $80 ($72 early bird special if enrolled by August 13, 2013)


* 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).
*To ensure participants are ready and prepared for classes, enrollment will close at 5pm ET Monday, September 2, 2013. or when the maximum number of participants is reached.

*For more information on how online CE works, see the Participant Resource Center.

  1. Enrollment qualifications: VIN CE courses are open to VIN member and non-member veterinarians. Veterinarians enrolling in a VSPN CE course must be a VIN member. Veterinary support staff must be a VSPN member to enroll in a VSPN CE or a VIN CE course open to VSPN member enrollment.
  2. Each enrollee must be able to receive emails from and addresses. Email is our major form of communication with participants; personal emails are highly recommended rather than clinic/hospital email addresses.
  3. Each person is individually responsible for his/her own registration. To ensure that all information received is secure and correct, please do not enroll for a course on behalf of another individual.
  4. For further assistance call 1-800-700-INFO (4636) or email (VIN CE) or (VSPN CE) Please include the course title, your full name, and contact information in your correspondence.
*Note: "This course is approved for 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/VIN 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).

Course withdrawal and refund policy: A complete refund of the paid course price will be issued when your withdrawal request is received prior to the listed start date of the course. If you wish to withdraw after the start date please contact the VIN/VSPN office 1-800-700-INFO (4636) to discuss eligibility for a pro-rated refund.
* Note: To ensure rapid handling of your request for withdrawal, we recommend that you call the VIN/VSPN office at 1-800-700-INFO (4636).

*For more information on VSPN's upcoming CE courses, check the VSPN Course Catalog.

Nanette R. Walker Smith, MEd, RVT, CVT, LVT
VSPN Content Director & CE Coordinator

VSPN CE Services:
1-800-846-0028 or 1-530-756-4881 or direct line to VIN/VSPN from the United Kingdom: 01452226154
Barb Burri (; ext. 764 (New Hampshire)
Charlotte Waack (; ext 193 (Illinois)
Chris Upchurch (; ext 197 (Florida)
Debbie Bess (; ext 178 (Nevada)
Nanette Walker Smith (; ext 187 (Colorado)

800.700.4636  |  |  530.756.4881  |  Fax: 530.756.6035
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