Category: Uncategorized

Communication skills

Why do they not listen?  Or worse, why do they appear to listen and then do the complete opposite of what was agreed in the consult?  Is it us or them?  Our communication, or their hearing??

DEALING WITH DIFFICULT CLIENTS – read this great blog by clinical psychologist Dr. Joanna Cates, with some practical tips for disarming and working with awkward owners.

PATERNALISM VS PARTNERSHIP – recent work suggests the typical paternalistic way of communicating, which the professional-client relationship lends itself to, does not foster a sense of empathy or teamwork.

We need to MOTIVATE clients by the way we speak to them.  Here’s an excerpt from a recent paper from the farm animal dept. at Bristol University:

future communication training may need to incorporate methodologies that foster a mutualistic approach as the backbone of practice rather than a useful aid. For example, one such evidence-based methodology widely adopted in the medical and psychological sciences is Motivational Interviewing (MI). MI practice is not just defined by a set of verbal skills cultivating empathy, collaboration and support of patient autonomy, but by an underpinning philosophy of compassion, acceptance, partnership and evoking (eliciting client ideas, rather than imposing) that act as a mindset to guide practice.

The future of veterinary communication: Partnership or persuasion? A qualitative investigation of veterinary communication in the pursuit of client behaviour change by Alison M. Bard et al in PLOS ONE

The VetFutures project is also looking into communication and how to develop this area: “by working in partnership with clientsvets are better positioned to convince them of the value of preventive services”.

Exam Tips

  1. Answer the question – only the question.  Don’t just write everything you know related to the subject, but approach it as problem solving.  If a client came to you with the same question, what would you say to them?
  2. Think like a vet, not a student.  For final year exams, especially vivas, there may be a range of right answers.  These are conversations that may take different directions depending on your answers.  Listen to what the examiner is asking – they may ask leading questions looking for a specific answer.  Don’t worry if you don’t get that ‘mark’.  Keep information relevant, sensible, SAFE comments.
  3. Treat revision as preparation for practice life.  Make notes in a way that you can refer to them easily in that difficult consult, or when you nip back to the car on a farm for a ‘jab’.  This will make your revision worthwhile in the long term, and keep you mind on the context of preparing for a vocation, not just an exam.