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STAF131-0412: Front Desk Module 4-Emergency and Specialty Practice-Managing the Front Desk

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INSTRUCTOR(S): Katherine Dobbs, RVT, CVPM, PHR

COURSE OPEN: April 10-May 18, 2012

REAL TIME SESSIONS (RTS): Tuesdays, April 17 and 24, and May 1 and 8, 2012; 2:00pm-3:00pm 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. Times and dates will be listed in your course confirmation email. Expect to spend up to 1 hour at one of the 2-4 practice sessions held prior to the first Real Time Session.

* The instructor for this course will be using audio which will require you to have a headset or speakers to listen. If you have any concerns regarding your computer's audio capabilities, please be sure to attend a Practice Session.

Level and Prerequisites: This advanced 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 Desk Modules 1 and 2 (Exceptional Client Skills and Challenges Facing the Front Desk) and Front Desk Module 3-Emergency and Specialty Practice-Working the Front Desk) are logical recommended precursors for this course, but are not required.
VSPN CE Course. This course is RACE approved for veterinary technicians only and is approved by VHMA for CVPM credits.

Course Description:
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, 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 be considered for a course certificate of completion.
** The lecture portion of this course will combine both text and audio presentation. Please be prepared to listen.

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 Texbook(s): There are no required textbook for this course. Required reading will be in the course area library upon the course opening.

About the Instructor: 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.

Course Outline:
Week 1 (Real Time Session April 17): 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 (Real Time Session April 24): 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 (Real Time Session May 1): 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 (Real Time Session May 8): 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.


Tuition: $80 ($72 early bird if registered by March 27, 2012).
*Enroll in all four Front Desk Modules before January 12, 2012 or enroll in Front Desk Modules 3 & 4 before March 6, 2012 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).
** To ensure participants are ready and prepared for classes, enrollment will close when the maximum number of participants is reached or at 5pm ET the day of the first Real Time Session unless otherwise noted. If the first Real Time Session is on a weekend, course will close on the Friday before the first Real Time Session.

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

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  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 has been 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 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 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
Jennifer Withrow (; ext 159
Nanette Walker Smith (; ext 187


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