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Courses open for VSPNer registration

TECH159-0712: Basic Medical Calculations

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INSTRUCTOR(S): Elizabeth Warren, RVT

COURSE OPEN: July 2-August 9, 2012

REAL TIME SESSIONS (RTS): Mondays, July 9, 16, 23, and 30, 2012; 8:30pm-10:00pm 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.

Level and Prerequisites: This intermediate medical math course includes a brief review of the fundamentals of arithmetic leading to interactive study of calculations frequently performed by veterinary technicians and assistants in veterinary practice. Participants should have a good grasp of fundamental concepts and successful completion of a high school or college algebra class is strongly recommended.
VSPN CE Course. This course has been submitted for RACE approval veterinary technicians only.

Course Description:
This six-hour skills development course reviews the fundamentals of math and is designed to help students learn to work through the types of calculations frequently performed by veterinary technicians and assistants in veterinary practice. There will be a review of basic math concepts and an introduction to the formulas and skills necessary to solve drug and fluid dosage problems and opportunities to practice (as a group and individually) doing the types of medical math problems that we encounter every day in the veterinary hospital.

Medical calculations require the understanding and use of fundamental arithmetic and algebraic concepts. Though the basics will be reviewed in this course, the time for review is limited, so those who need more thorough instruction in fundamental concepts may have difficulty with the fast pace of this short course.

This course consists of four (4) 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.

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 is no required textbook for this course.
Recommended Textbook(s):

About the Instructor: Elizabeth Warren is an RVT and instructor at Austin Community College, where she teaches first-year courses to veterinary assistant and technician students, including medical calculations. She also works part-time in a veterinary emergency hospital and has been a VSPN staff member since 2001 and is a regular contributor to the VSPN Notebook´┐Ż.

Course Outline:
Week 1 (Real Time Session July 9): Math Assessment and Review of Decimal Numbers, Fractions, and Percentages
Content: We will discuss the pre-course math assessment quiz as well as math anxiety, and I will share some tips and tricks that can help make math less stressful. We will start thinking about math as a language (very helpful for organizing the information in word problems and interpreting verbal and written medication orders) and practice estimating answers before solving problems. Then we will talk about and work with decimals, fractions, and percentages.

Week 2 (Real Time Session July 16): Solving for "X" and Systems of Measurement
Content: The second week will cover common systems of measurement, commonly used units of measurement, and converting from one unit to another using the principles of basic algebra. Most medical calculations require us to equate a known set of information to a partially known set of related information in order to find the unknown or missing piece of data in the information set. Knowing how to do this is fundamental to dosage and fluid calculations.

Week 3 (Real Time Session July 23): Dosage Calculations
Content: In this session we will determine oral and parenteral drug dosages using the skills developed in weeks one and two. We will cover calculating quantities of medication for patients based on weight and body surface area, dosing units of medication, filling prescriptions accurately, and measuring liquid volumes of medication.

Week 4 (Real Time Session July 30): IV Fluid Calculations
Content: In the last week we will determine fluid dosages and learn how to calculate fluid doses (for maintenance, replacement, anesthesia, and shock) drip rates, cover rate-control devices, and calculate volumes for common fluid additives.


Tuition: $120 ($108 early bird if registered by June 18, 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

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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 submitted for approval for 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: 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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