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VSPN CE Course STAF174-0816: Personal Boundaries
Audio only: The lectures for this course will be presented in a predominantly audio format.
Please come prepared to listen.

  » Enrollment is closed

Instructor: Katherine Dobbs, RVT, CVPM, PHRR
Course Open: August 4, 2016-September 11, 2016
Real Time Sessions (RTS): Thursdays, August 11, 18, 25 and September 1, 2016; 9:00-10:30pm 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 course will be open to veterinarians, veterinary technicians/technologists and support staff actively interested in setting personal boundaries in the workplace.
VSPN CE Course: Open to veterinarians and veterinary technicians/technologists. This course has been submitted for RACE approval for veterinarians and veterinary technicians/technologists. This course has been approved by the VHMA for CVPM credits.(16-07)

Course Description:
As the veterinary profession struggles with how to define and cope with the emotional aspects of the work we do, we have recently identified two concepts, burnout and compassion fatigue. Burn out is simply defined as the stresses caused by our interaction with the work environment. Among the list of causes is the feeling of having no control over the quality of care provided, and a conflict between individual values and organizational goals and demands. Compassion Fatigue is defined as the stresses caused by our relationship with our patients and clients. The majority of the stress in these relationships comes from the fact that in healthcare, we are expected to be technically proficient, emotionally available, straightforward, clear, and compassionate�all at the same time!

What happens when we see corners being cut, perhaps resulting in providing services below our own personal opinion of �standard medical care�, and we feel powerless to change the system? What happens when we have to be straightforward, yet hide sub-standard quality of services? What happens when we have to demonstrate compassion and be emotionally available when we feel we are asked to act in an immoral way, contrary to our personal values? This is the dangerous zone of moral distress, which can eventually lead to ethics exhaustion. To fight back, we have to find our voice, which means we have to learn how to be assertive in a productive way. This course will explore these concepts, and teach programs that can help you take back your personal power to do what you feel is right for your patients.

Week 1 (Real Time Session August 11): The Art of A.R.T. (Acknowledge, Recognize, and Turn Outward)
Presenter: Katherine Dobbs, RVT, CVPM, PHR
Format: Audio
Nurse and author Vidette Todaro-Franceschi tells us we do not have to accept compassion fatigue and/or burnout as the costs of caring; with intention, we can make choices that help us to reaffirm our purpose and actively sidestep feeling dissatisfied and disenchanted with our work. In her book, Compassion Fatigue and Burnout in Nursing: Enhancing Professional Quality of Life, she teaches a concept called ART: Acknowledge, Recognize, and Turn Outward, which she describes as reaffirming purpose as a healing model for our wounded workforce. We explore how to use her teachings to help us in the veterinary medicine environment.
Objectives: Upon completion of this session, the participant should be able to Week 2 (Real Time Session August 18): Moral Distress
Presenter: Katherine Dobbs, RVT, CVPM, PHR
Format: Audio
One of the things that can compound compassion fatigue and burnout is moral distress. Moral Distress is a sense of powerlessness due to feeling unable to carry out what we think is the right thing to do. The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) recognizes this concept of moral distress in human healthcare, and they have developed a plan of action to help their members overcome this distress. The AACN defines moral distress as when 1) you know the ethically appropriate action to take, but you are unable to act upon it, and 2) you act in a manner contrary to your personal and professional values, which undermines your integrity and authenticity. We will explore and apply a protocol developed by the AACN to address this �moral distress� in the veterinary workplace.
Objectives: Upon completion of this session, the participant should be able to Week 3 (Real Time Session August 25): Ethics Exhaustion
Presenter: Katherine Dobbs, RVT, CVPM, PHR
Format: Audio
If we experience moral distress on a frequent basis, then we may find ourselves experiencing ethics exhaustion. Ethics exhaustion is fatigue, emotional distress, and lack of will to continue to act in a way that is consistent with what you believe is the ethical thing to do. It is having failed to square behavior with belief so often that you no longer care to try. It is a type of learned helplessness, where we have resigned ourselves to being powerless to follow our own moral compass.
Objectives: Upon completion of this session, the participant should be able to Week 4 (Real Time Session September 1): STAT � Special Techniques in Assertiveness Training
Presenter: Katherine Dobbs, RVT, CVPM, PHR
Format: Audio
When our personal boundaries are crossed, whether it is from compassion fatigue, burnout, moral distress, or even ethics exhaustion, we may feel powerless to speak up. We could be suffering from a lack of assertiveness that can help us change our workplace and our professional lives. Simply put, the assertive response is simply to put into words what we are thinking and feeling. Assertiveness can be learned, and can be applied appropriately to specific examples
Objectives: Upon completion of this session, the participant should be able to

Successful completion (scoring 80% or better) on the end-of-course test is required to earn a certificate of completion for the course.

*The lecture portion of this course will be an audio presentation, please be prepared to listen.

*To learn more about the requirements for earning a CE certificate, please refer to Receiving Your CE Credit and Course Completion Certificate.

Course Materials: Course materials will be available in the course library prior to each Real Time Session.

About the Instructor:
Katherine Dobbs, RVT, CVPM, PHR is a graduate of Tomball College with an Associates of Applied Science; Veterinary Technology. She earned certification as a Certified Compassion Fatigue Educator in 2013, Professional in Human Resources in 2008 and Certified Veterinary Practice Manager in 2006. Katherine has written three textbooks in practice management that are published by AAHA Press, is an online blogger for Veterinary Practice News, and has had articles published in Veterinary Team Brief, Veterinary Economics, Veterinary Practice News, AAHA Trends and TechLife. She has presented at International Veterinary Emergency Critical Care Symposium, American Animal Hospital Association, North American Veterinary Conference, Western Veterinary Conference, Association of Veterinary Technician Educators, and Wild West Veterinary Conference, among others.

Total CE Credit: 6

Tuition: $120 ($108 early bird special if enrolled by July 21, 2016)
All prices are listed in US dollars.

* 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 on August 11, 2016, or when the maximum number of participants is reached.
*For more information on how online CE works, see the Participant Resource Center.

To Enroll:
  » Enrollment is closed
  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 800-846-0028 ext. 792 or email Please include the course title, your full name, and contact information in your correspondence.
*Note: "This program (RACE program number to be determined) has been submitted for approval by the AAVSB RACE to offer a total of 6 CE Credits, with a maximum of 6 CE Credits being available to any individual veterinarian or veterinary technician/technologist. This RACE approval is for the subject matter categories of: Scientific, Non-Scientific-Practice Management/Professional Development using the delivery method of Interactive-Distance: (Web-based, Teleconference or Audio-Conference).This approval is valid in jurisdictions which recognize AAVSB RACE; however, participants are responsible for ascertaining each board�s CE requirements.� This course has been approved by the VHMA for CVPM credits.(16-07)

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 VSPN office 800-846-0028 ext. 792 to discuss eligibility for a pro-rated refund.
* Note: To ensure rapid handling of your request for withdrawal, we recommend that you call the VSPN office at 800-846-0028 ext. 792.

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

Charlotte Waack, RVT, CVT
VSPN Director/VSPN CE Interim Director

VSPN CE Services:
800-846-0028 or 530-756-4881; ext. 792
or direct line to VIN/VSPN from the United Kingdom: 01 45 222 6154
or direct line to VIN/VSPN from Australia: 02 6145 2357

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