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Communication in Veterinary Medicine

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Sarah Wojno

on 10 June 2014

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Transcript of Communication in Veterinary Medicine

Communication in Veterinary Medicine
How Veterinary Professionals Communicate
Professionals in the field of veterinary medicine communicate not just with each other, but with their clients and occasionally even with the public at large.

In a veterinary office or clinic, there is often a range of personnel on the team – from office staff to an experienced veterinarian, everyone’s level of education varies. This further stresses the importance of communication.

Those that work in a veterinary practice utilize multiple methods of communication.

Written communication is used in the form of notes and memos passed between professionals. Good note taking skills must be used by technicians so an accurate account of what an animal is in for can be relayed to a veterinarian.

Emails are also a form of written communication used in veterinary medicine. Speaking to one another in person remains the most important way of communicating, however, as to not have any confusion.
How Veterinary Professionals Communicate
Speaking to clients is one of the most important aspects of working in a veterinary office or clinic.

In the article Four Core Communication Skills of Highly Effective Practitioners, the author outlines specific skills used daily to deal with clients in a veterinary practice: nonverbal communication, open-ended questions, reflective listening, and empathy statements (Shaw 2006).

Each of these skills are crucial to providing basic care to animals and their owners, and mastering them will ensure positive relationships with clients.

All members of a practice’s team are also aware that when communicating with their clients, special consideration must go into the tone they use. Veterinarians, veterinarian technicians and assistants, as well as any office personnel must be considerate of any and all concerns of their clients, and express empathy through the way that they speak with them.
Technology and Communication
Today’s technology allows its participants to be virtually accessible nearly every minute of every day. This has advantages and disadvantages in the field of veterinary medicine.

Veterinarians can be contacted at any time in case of an emergency. While this can be good for the practice, it may not be good for any potential free time outside of the work place.

Despite drawbacks like these, though, professionals in this field have embraced the technological developments in the last few decades. Most of the developments have allowed clinics to become more productive.

Email allows information to be sent through multiple channels, databases allow client information to be accessed at the click of a button, and Internet access allows an unimaginable amount of resources at a clinic’s disposal. These advances also allow veterinarians and clients to communicate outside of the practice, with some clinics offering appointment reminders via text or automated calls.
Communication skills are essential for dealing with clients as well as fellow veterinarians and technicians. The importance of communication in veterinary practice is sometimes misunderstood because of the assumption that they only enjoy working with animals, not people. However, effective communication is a big part of working as a veterinarian or veterinary technician – so much so that there is an annual conference held by the International Veterinary Communication Institute. The importance of communication in this field is even stressed to students seeking a degree, so that these skills may start early on in their career. It is no doubt that the proper use of these communication skills can make the difference between a good clinic and a great clinic.
Effective communication is vital for any level in the field of veterinary science. It may be how the lobby personnel greet an incoming guest, or how a veterinarian practicing for ten years handles his or her clients. Regardless, the importance should not be overlooked simply because it is a field that bases its practice on animals. Communication is so important in veterinary science that students learn how to effectively communicate early on in their studies and continue to learn even into their career. It is hard to imagine where technology will be in the future, but it is important to remember that communication will always be an essential skill needed for any job, especially for veterinary practices.
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