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TECH140-0509 : Advanced Nursing - Critical Care Module 1

Andrea Steele, BSc, VTS (ECC)

May 7-June 13, 2009
Real Time Sessions: Wednesday evenings; May 13, 20, 27, and June 3; 9:30pm-11pm ET (USA)

This is module 1 of a two part course in Advanced Nursing Skills for emergent and critically ill patients. Advanced Nursing Modules 1 and 2 will emphasize the role of the technician in emergency and critical care. Throughout the series, technicians will be encouraged to critically think, problem solve, and develop new skills. These courses will be presented in a systems approach, beginning with nursing techniques that may be universal to any emergency situation, or critical illness, followed by techniques that focus on the various body systems.

All members of the veterinary support staff may join the course and its discussions; however, this course is focused toward the experienced technician who routinely deals with emergent or critical cases, or has an interest in specializing in Emergency and Critical Care. Module 1 is a required prerequisite for Module 2; this is to help insure a complete understanding of advanced nursing techniques of critical care.

Upon completion of this course participants will be able to discuss and interpret

Overall Goal: To provide a basic understanding of many disease processes, while emphasizing the role the credentialed veterinary technician plays in the emergent and on-going care of these patients.

TEXTBOOKS: There are no required texts for this course; however, the instructor recommends the following:

Week 1: Critical Care Basics-Assessing and Stabilizing
Content: The emergent arrival, a step by step approach to stabilization including; assessing and triage, primary survey, collecting the minimum database, emergency fluid therapy, vascular access techniques, oxygen supplementation methods and the secondary survey.

Week 2: Critical Care Basics-Continued Care
Content: Once stable, the patient moves from emergent to critical or intensive. We will discuss instrumentation of the patient including: blood pressure monitoring (direct and indirect), ECG monitoring techniques, and pulse oximetry. Next, techniques for obtaining blood gases (arterial and venous), and the advantages and disadvantages of each method will be discussed. Finally, calculations of constant rate infusions and techniques in pain management will round out this session.

Week 3: Respiratory
Content: Emergent patients can arrive in respiratory distress, or a critical patient under your care can suddenly go into respiratory distress. This session will focus on how to recognize and deal with respiratory distress, recognizing respiratory fatigue, and methods of assessing ventilation and oxygenation. Students will gain an understanding of respiratory changes that can occur in critical patients. Finally, we will discuss long term oxygen supplementation and the oxyhemoglobin dissociation curve, as well as criteria for mechanical ventilation.

Week 4: Cardiac
Content: Basic ECG interpretation is a must for any technician, and we will focus on common arrhythmias. The cardiac patient, including common diseases and brief pathophysiology will be discussed. Finally, we will discuss the ongoing nursing care of these patients, and the rationale for some of the treatments that may be chosen.

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 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.


$120 ($108 early bird special if registered before April 23, 2009)
*Enroll in both Modules before May 13, 2009 and receive a 15% discount off the regular course price.
*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 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.
Note: "This course has been submitted for approval of 6 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).
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, M.Ed., RVT, CVT, LVT
VSPN Content Director & CE Coordinator
1-800-846-0028 or 1-530-756-4881, ext 187

VSPN CE Services
1-800-846-0028 or 1-530-756-4881
Charlotte Waack (, ext 193
Chris Upchurch (, ext 197
Darci Palmer (; ext 179
Debbie Bess (; ext 178

*** For More Information on VSPN's upcoming CE Courses, check out


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