June 10, 2009
When it’s time for veterinarians and staff members to log required continuing education hours, they have multiple options and even more opportunities for professional development in their areas of interest.
Large national and regional conferences are wonderful places to acquire a lot of CE in a short time while networking with peers. But for those who can’t get away from the practice, there are other options as well.
Most state veterinary medical associations schedule annual conferences that may be close to home. In larger states, local associations bring the information even closer, often with evening sessions. Variety may be somewhat limited, but if your interest fits the agenda, you can spend an evening or a day or two absorbing some good education.
Click here for a directory of links to state veterinary groups.
Local referral practices can be a good place for CE. Emergency and specialty practices often host monthly events for their referring community, bringing in experts from sponsor companies or spotlighting their emergency clinicians and specialists. These are often evening or afternoon sessions that can easily fit the schedule of the veterinary team.
John Thompson, CEO of Advanced Critical Care and Internal Medicine in Tustin, Calif., says his referral group, Advanced Veterinary Specialty Group, generally provides one hour of CE a month to the local veterinary community. The talks are RACE accredited.
Veterinary schools and vet tech programs often host CE events, so check with them, too.
Elsewhere, training is available through Webster Veterinary and its traveling management school, Webster University, which visits major cities. Click here for the course schedule.
Michelle Guercia, CVT, CVPM, a practice management specialist at Webster Veterinary, says the company offers a “unique classroom setting that benefits managers through mentoring, networking and the application of practice-specific tools, decreasing the learning curve found in veterinary management positions.”
Good opportunities sometimes come to your doorstep. Pharmaceutical and equipment companies may put on CE events. You can request a seminar at your practice, or gather several practices together for an event.
Even if a sponsoring company has a product to introduce, the sales pitch is usually balanced with a good educational opportunity. The session may be planned as a “Lunch-N-Learn,” which is a nice way to reward your team.
The amount of online CE is astounding and comes from a variety of sources. Get started by visiting the American Veterinary Medical Assn., Clinician’s WEBrief, or Compendium. Other websites include the Veterinary Information Network, the Veterinary Support Personnel Network, VetMedTeam and Lifelearn.
Veterinary schools that offer online CE courses include:
• Kansas State University
• Colorado State University
• University of Georgia
• University of Wisconsin
• Washington State University
To learn more about veterinary radiology, try vetradce .com, and for more on dental health, go to greenies.com.
Companies serving the veterinary industry have jumped aboard the online train.
“Today’s veterinary practitioners and staff are busier than ever and may not be able to leave their practices or rearrange their schedules to accommodate in-person sessions,” notes Lynn Bromstedt, divisional vice president for Abbott Animal Health.
Abbott is launching a series of electronic modules this month. For more, go to Abbott Animal HealthCE.com.
Other opportunities may be explored at Bayer HealthCare, Impromed, Idexx and Virbac.
One way to locate RACE-approved events is to visit RACE Search.
When looking for the right education for your needs or the needs of your team, it’s important to consider all possible sources.
Katherine Dobbs, RVT, CVPM, PHR, owns interFace Veterinary HR Systems LLC of Oshkosh, Wis.
Not all educational opportunities result in officially approved continuing education hours, but the learning can be just as valuable. Delving into a specific area of interest can be professionally and personally rewarding as you network with others who share your passion.
Numerous veterinary clubs, associations and societies offer a listserv where members can converse via e-mail about cases and specific issues. For example, the International Veterinary Academy of Pain Management and the Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Society have listserv communities.
As veterinary technicians become more specialized, the number of tech academies continues to grow.
• Academy of Internal Medicine for Veterinary Technicians
• Society of Veterinary Behavior Technicians
• Academy of Veterinary Dental Technicians
• Academy of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Technicians
• Academy of Veterinary Technician Anesthetists
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