You can train team members by using staff meetings, magazine articles, books, and DVDs. But veterinary practice owners and
managers are adding another item to their educational toolbox: online training.
Many companies present classes online for free, or you can pay for customizable videos and classes on demand. These programs
teach customer service skills and basic medical terminology, and help employees grow in their careers. Online training can
also lower the cost of orienting new hires, reduce staff turnover, and promote consistency when it comes to client relations,
hospital policy, and medical standards.
Here are five ways to maximize the benefits of turning the Internet into your very own clinic classroom.
1. INTRODUCE NEW HIRES
Susan Pomroy, CVPM, has embraced online training as practice manager at Animal Medical Center of Highland Village in Highland
Village, Texas. Whether her recent hires are new to the profession or have years of experience, they all receive three months
of training, which includes on-the-job mentoring as well as online education. "Online training provides a guarantee that I've
taught each individual exactly the same thing," she says.
2. CHECK COMPLIANCE
Pomroy doesn't like to hear her employees tell her that no one taught them how to do a certain task. The truth is, Pomroy's
online CE provider lets her log on to check that team members have watched assigned videos and passed tests on the content.
Pomroy can monitor the time it takes team members to watch assigned videos and finish exams, and she pays team members for
their time—even if they watch at home.
3. REWARD ACCOMPLISHMENTS
Rocky Randolph, practice manager at West Loop Animal Hospital in Longview, Texas, says taking the supplied quizzes and exams
on video content gives team members a sense of accomplishment. She estimates that better and more consistent online training
at her practice has decreased her staff turnover rate by 40 percent. One new hire was so excited, he watched all the training
videos before he showed up for his first day.
An online training program is rewarding for the practice, too, Randolph says. "A knowledgeable and well-trained staff promoting
our products and services generates dollars for our practice."
4. EDUCATE ANYWHERE, ANYTIME
Veterinary Economics Editorial Advisory Board member Dr. Jeff Rothstein, MBA, loves online CE because so much of it is free, and even the programs
he pays for are cost-effective, he finds. As president of Progressive Pet Animal Hospitals in Michigan, Dr. Rothstein can
pay for team members at multiple locations to read materials and view videos online, or they can watch them at home. "It gives
us more flexibility," Dr. Rothstein says. "We don't have to take people out of the hospital—and stop earning money—for a day."
5. DO YOUR PART
Keep in mind that a good, dynamic training program needs management and oversight. Pomroy has used her online training system
to identify and help team members who are struggling with a particular concept like vaccination or surgery protocols.
Dr. Rothstein jokes about the extra work a good online CE program requires. "Often a team member will burn through all the
videos, and now all of a sudden you've got to find new stuff to challenge them with," he says. But it's a task he's more than
willing to take on in exchange for practices full of knowledgeable, well-trained team members.
How to make online CE work for you
Find CE suppliers that regularly update their content.
- Look for CE that includes exams, quizzes, or review guides.
- Verify that team members have completed the training.
- Review your online training program regularly and adjust for changing staff needs.
- Visit the Veterinary CE Center at
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