Pulse - July 2021 - 21

THE RVT
A Career of Lifelong Learning
The Veterinary Support Personnel Network (VSPN)
Joseph G. Herman, BS, RVT
" I
accept my obligations to practice my profession
conscientiously and with sensitivity-adhering to
the profession's Code of Ethics, and furthering my
knowledge and competence through a commitment to
lifelong learning. "
Sound familiar? It's part of the " Veterinary Technician's Oath, "
something we all recited at one point or another when we stepped
our careers in veterinary medicine up a notch.
In California, " lifelong learning " involves completion of 20
hours of approved continuing education (CE) every two years for
the purpose of RVT license renewal. It is, in fact, illegal for an
RVT to practice in California with an inactive or expired license
due to not meeting the CE requirement.
A World of Knowledge to Tap Into
VSPN is an online, global community dedicated to enhancing
the knowledge of veterinary support personnel. Its 12,000 members
include veterinary technicians and assistants, office and practice
managers, CSRs, ancillary hospital staff, and vet tech and vet
assisting students.
While there is a charge for the CE courses offered, membership
in VSPN is free and provides access to a considerable collection of
resources. These include community message boards where members
interact with, and learn from, one another under the auspices
of trained moderators, usually veterinary technician specialists. Also
provided are access to " rounds sessions, " similar to one-hour conference
talks, and the VSPN Notebook, an online clinical resource
that eventually will be available as an app.
VSPN's parent company is the Veterinary Information Network
(VIN), a well-known, online community with an impressive
collection of resources for veterinarians. And as with VIN, one of
VSPN's crown jewels is its CE component.
Anatomy of a CE Course
VSPN offers both interactive and non-interactive courses. The
format of the non-interactive courses is self-study, on-demand, in
which a video is watched and a test taken. By contrast, the interactive
courses provide live, real-time sessions, allowing participants to
ask and answer questions of the instructor.
Because the VSPN community is international in scope-spanning
all time zones-attendance and participation in the real-time
sessions are not mandatory, but highly recommended. To compensate
for time differences, each course stays open for 10 days after
its completion, providing video and audio of the real-time session,
as well as a transcript of the entire presentation. Questions
for the instructor are asked during the real-time session via a chat
box, and most are then answered by the instructor live, becoming
incorporated into the audio-video presentation and eventually into
the transcript. There also is a course library containing reference
PULSE
JULY 2021
material, tests with answer keys, and, in the case of non-interactive
courses, any handouts used.
Each interactive course also has its own message boards, and
whether viewed live or by replay within the 10-day period,
attendees can post questions and receive answers on the boards,
thereby demonstrating their participation in the course, which
is a requirement for obtaining CE credit. All course materials-
whether from interactive or non-interactive classes-are made
available to attendees indefinitely.
Advantages of Online vs. In-Person Conferences
Charlotte Waack, CVT, RVT, is the VSPN Director/VSPN CE
Director. With regard to the interactive courses, " The real-time
sessions are great, " said Waack, " because the instructor can take
questions from so many more people. At an in-person conference
with, say, 500 attendees-or even just a hundred-the presenter
may take only two or three questions the entire time. But with
the online courses, " continued Waack, " where participants usually
number around 100, oftentimes up to 40 questions can be
answered-if not live, then on the message boards. "
Advantages of distance learning also have been underscored
during the COVID crisis. As conferences have been forced to
move online, their high quality has become clear to a broader segment
of the profession. " We have veterinarians signing up seven
to 10 people for online CE courses, " said Waack, " because they're
realizing there's really good information out there in a readily
accessible format, and they're encouraging their staff to take part. "
A fringe benefit of online learning is the casual atmosphere in
which it can take place, from the comfort of your home, using a
Zoom platform. However, cameras are not allowed to be turned
on during the interactive CE courses. " And because you're not on
video or audio, " said Waack, " you can be learning while in your
pajamas, with your dog at your feet and your cat in your lap. "
Continuing Education vs. On-the-Job Training
While we all get better at what we're doing over time, on-the-job
training-prevalent in veterinary medicine-and continuing education
are not analogous. In fact, CE picks up where OJT lets off.
" Personally, I don't consider in-clinic, on-the-job training to be
continuing education, " said Waack, " because-with notable exceptions-I
don't know whether the people doing the training have
actually studied what they're teaching. They may be able to show
me 'how' to do something, but they can't necessarily tell me the
'why' that goes with it. Continuing education instructors, on the
other hand, are vetted, and they do know the 'whys' behind the
'hows.'
" If you work in veterinary medicine, " added Waack, " lifelong
learning is important, because the face of medicine changes so
quickly, and we need to keep up. We should never become complacent
in our knowledge. " P
21

Pulse - July 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Pulse - July 2021

Pulse - July 2021
Chapter Meetings & Calendar
President’s Perspective
SCVMA Profile
Pulsepoints
The RVT and the Human- Animal Bond: Exploring the Interspecies Connection
Practical Pathology
Medical Leeway
UC Davis Update
Tools For Success
Angel Fund
Dear Tabby
The RVT
Industry Insights
Quick Reference
AVMA Diplomates
Digital Photography For Veterinarians
Resources
Disease Table
From The SCVMA Office
Pulse - July 2021 - Pulse - July 2021
Pulse - July 2021 - Cover2
Pulse - July 2021 - 1
Pulse - July 2021 - 2
Pulse - July 2021 - Chapter Meetings & Calendar
Pulse - July 2021 - President’s Perspective
Pulse - July 2021 - SCVMA Profile
Pulse - July 2021 - Pulsepoints
Pulse - July 2021 - 7
Pulse - July 2021 - 8
Pulse - July 2021 - 9
Pulse - July 2021 - 10
Pulse - July 2021 - 11
Pulse - July 2021 - The RVT and the Human- Animal Bond: Exploring the Interspecies Connection
Pulse - July 2021 - 13
Pulse - July 2021 - 14
Pulse - July 2021 - Practical Pathology
Pulse - July 2021 - Medical Leeway
Pulse - July 2021 - UC Davis Update
Pulse - July 2021 - Tools For Success
Pulse - July 2021 - Angel Fund
Pulse - July 2021 - Dear Tabby
Pulse - July 2021 - The RVT
Pulse - July 2021 - Industry Insights
Pulse - July 2021 - Quick Reference
Pulse - July 2021 - AVMA Diplomates
Pulse - July 2021 - Digital Photography For Veterinarians
Pulse - July 2021 - 26
Pulse - July 2021 - 27
Pulse - July 2021 - 28
Pulse - July 2021 - Resources
Pulse - July 2021 - Disease Table
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Pulse - July 2021 - From The SCVMA Office
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