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VSPN CE Course STAF142-0413: Create a Staff Handbook


INSTRUCTOR(S): Heather Howell, LVT, RVT, MBA
COURSE OPEN: April 29-May 30, 2013
REAL TIME SESSIONS (RTS): Mondays, May 6, 13, and 20, 2013; 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. 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 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 one of the Practice Sessions.

Level and Prerequisites: This intermediate level course is primarily for those who have the authority to set policy and to create and implement staff policy handbooks (office managers, practice administrators, supervisors and veterinarians); however, all members of the veterinary staff may benefit from the course.

VSPN CE Course: Open to VSPN and VIN members. This course is RACE approved for veterinarians and veterinary technicians and is approved by VHMA for CVPM credits.

Course Description:
Staff handbooks are valuable for outlining hospital policies regarding employees. They are also effective for clarifying expectations management has of employees. Staff handbooks can be used as a guide for management when making decisions regarding employee issues that arise.

This course consists of three (3) 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 earn a certificate of completion for the course.
*The question and answer/discussion portion of this course will be an 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 Textbooks:

About the Instructor:
Heather Howell
is a credentialed veterinary technician in CA and NV. She received her BS in Animal Science at UC Davis and her MBA at the University of Nevada, Reno. Since 1988, she has worked in all capacities of the veterinary hospital including hospital administrator, practice management consultant, and instructor.

Course Outline:
Weeks 1 (Real Time Session May 6): Why Do I Need a Staff Handbook?
Content: This session will discuss the reasons for creating a staff handbook to clarify hospital policies. Legal aspects of staff handbooks will be covered. This session will also guide the participants in considering why they are creating a staff handbook and what they hope to accomplish. Participants will develop and analyze their goals for their staff handbooks in interactive discussions in the course message boards.

Week 2: (Real Time Session May 13): What Should I Include in the Staff Handbook?
Content: This session will cover pertinent content of a staff handbook. Participant interaction regarding what is included in their current staff handbooks will occur. Suggestions regarding what to include and suggested policies will be discussed. This session will also explore what is important to each participant to convey in their unique staff handbook via interaction with the instructor and other participants. Participants will outline their staff handbook as an assignment in the course message boards following this session.

Week 3: (Real Time Session May 20): How Do I Write a Custom Staff Handbook?
Content: This session will go over the available resources for staff handbooks including how to write your own staff handbook. It will also cover involving your team in the creation and review of the handbook to personalize it to the participant's practice. Participants will compose wording and compile ideas for policies for their individual staff handbooks as an assignment in the course message boards following this session.


Tuition: $90 ($81 early bird special if enrolled April 15, 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).
NOTE: 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 enrollment will close on the Friday before the first Real Time Session.

*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 has been approved 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/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
777 West Covell Blvd, Davis, CA 95616

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