CSU class allows veterinarians to polish up client communication skills

CSU class allows veterinarians to polish up client communication skills

A two-day workshop gives about 50 veterinarians training in client relations.
Dec 20, 2010
By dvm360.com staff

Even the most clinically experienced veterinarian can occasionally use some help when it comes to polishing up his or her client-relations skills. And now, a special program at Colorado State University’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital is helping veterinary students and veterans alike hone their bedside manner. At CSU’s Argus Institute, about 50 veterinarians from all over the United States were placed in different scenarios that tested and developed their communication skills during a two-day workshop.

The university hired actors with experience in theater and film to play clients facing tough financial or life-or-death situations with their pets. According to the Denver Post, the veterinarians worked in groups of four or five and met one-on-one with a “client.” Each client described a particular problem with a pet and asked for some kind of guidance. The veterinarians were told to emphasize open-ended questions, allow clients to complete their thoughts, express empathy, and come up with a mutually agreeable action plan.

This training helps veterinarians fill the gap between the clinical knowledge they gain in veterinary school and what they often come across in the real world. According to Jane Shaw, director of the Argus Institute, clients who feel they have been listened to and consulted are more likely to follow through on treatment plans for their animals.

Hot topics on dvm360

Follow dvm360 on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest

For quick updates and to touch base with the editors of dvm360, Veterinary Economics, Veterinary Medicine, and Firstline, and check us out on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.

Sell veterinary clients on your service

But you don't have to have butler-style service to win new clients and keep existing clients happy.

Why veterinarians should be more like a Louisiana shoeshiner

If my veterinary clients feel half as good as I did after visiting the 'Michael Jordan of shoeshines,' I'll be thrilled.

Texts from your veterinary clinic cat

If your clinic cat had a cell phone and opposable thumbs, what would he or she text you?

Learning goodbye: Veterinarians fill a void by focusing on end of life care

Veterinarians dedicating their careers to hospice and euthansia medicine may be pioneering the profession's next specialty—at clients' request.