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Courses open for VSPNer registration

STAF134-0212: Empathy and Reflective Listening

INSTRUCTOR(S): Heather Howell, RVT, LVT, MBA

COURSE OPEN: February 14-March 6, 2012

REAL TIME SESSIONS (RTS): Tuesdays, February 21 and 28, 2012; 9:30pm-11:00pm 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 basic course is designed to teach participants communication skills, allowing them to be intentional and effective during challenging or emotional communications. Participants will learn to use empathy and reflective listening skills during challenges, creating communication that meets both parties' needs
VSPN CE Course. This course is RACE approved for veterinarians and veterinary technicians and is VHMA approved for CVPM credits.

Course Description:
Do you feel stuck in your communication patterns when dealing with challenging conversations or conflicts? Do you ever feel as if you've had the same conversation with your spouse/parent/child/boss/client/coworker over and over, but nothing ever changes? These communication tools - empathy and reflective listening - could be just what you are looking for to change the outcome of your interactions. Participants will learn the difference between empathy and other communication tools such as sympathy, solving, consoling, or questioning. Empathy is a valuable communication tool for diffusing challenging interactions, particularly when the other person is very emotional or upset. Reflective listening tips are an essential tool for clarifying other's needs and diffusing emotional communications. Participants will learn about these techniques and have the opportunity to practice during real time sessions. This course is for and can be important for effective communication in every day life.

This course will consist of two (2) ninety (90) 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):
Recommended Textbooks: Recommended Reading: The instructor will include a list of recommended texts in the course library.

About the Instructor: Heather Howell has taught numerous courses online for VSPN and has developed this course to help you better communicate with your peers and co-workers in- and outside the office. This course covers those essential skills needed to evaluate your communications and become more effective in your interactions.

Course Outline:
Week 1 (Real Time Session February 21): Evaluating Your Communication Choices
Required reading: Nonviolent Communication-A Language of Compassion: Chapters 2, 3, 4 and 5
Content: This week we will consider your own communication style in times of stress or conflict. You will have the opportunity to learn about empathy and what it is not. We will discuss when empathy and reflective listening are most effective. You will also discover how to recognize your choices in response to others. You will learn how to clarify what you are observing, feeling, and needing. You will be taught how to recognize when you are making judgments and applying labels, which hamper communication. You will learn to listen for the other person's needs and requests.

Week 2 (Real Time Session February 28): Using Empathy and Reflective Listening as the Listener and the Speaker
Required reading: Nonviolent Communication-A Language of Compassion: Chapters 6, 7, 8 and 10
Content: During class this week, you will practice using empathy and reflective listening as the listener and as the speaker. We will look at what stops you from using these tools. We will consider conversations where these tools are most effective and learn how they shift the speaker's mindset. We will learn how to recognize your feelings, state your needs, and make specific requests. We will discuss receiving other's words as an opportunity. We will also explore finding a way to express our own needs that doesn't provoke defensiveness in others.


Tuition: $60 ($54 early bird special if enrolled by January 31, 2012).
*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

  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 3 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


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

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