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Handbook of Veterinary Communication Skills

Carol Gray (Editor), Jenny Moffett (Editor)
ISBN: 978-1-4051-5817-6
216 pages
March 2010, Wiley-Blackwell
Handbook of Veterinary Communication Skills (1405158174) cover image
This is the first definitive textbook on veterinary communication, written specifically for students and veterinary professionals by a group of international experts. Communication is a core clinical skill, and is now taught as a compulsory part of most veterinary degree courses. Good communication is crucial to the veterinarian-client-patient relationship, to patient health and ultimately to the success of any veterinary business.

The book covers all the key areas of communication including: the basic framework for the veterinary consultation; professional, ethical and legal aspects; communication with clients and colleagues; and coping with end-of-life and other difficult situations. It combines the most up-to-date research with a wealth of practical information, such as:

  • Real-life case studies to help you apply your learning to real scenarios
  • Simple step-by-step guidelines showing you how to deal with specific situations
  • Examples of written resources you can use in practice

This valuable textbook has been written and edited by a carefully chosen group of specialists, comprising veterinary communication lecturers, veterinary practitioners, training managers and counsellors.

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Contributors vii

Foreword ix

Acknowledgements xi

Introduction xiii

Chapter 1 Basic communication skills 1
Mary Kirwan

Introduction 1

Background and origins 1

The importance of communication 2

Definition of key terms 3

Models of communication 4

Verbal and non-verbal communication 7

Listening 15

The cultural context of communication 21

Summary 22

References 22

Chapter 2 A framework for the veterinary consultation 25
Alan Radford

Introduction 25

A guide to the veterinary consultation based on the Calgary–Cambridge observation guide 27

The physical examination 37

Closing the consultation 37

Summary 38

References 38

Chapter 3 Professional, ethical and legal aspects of communication 39
Carol Gray

Introduction 39

Communicating professionalism 39

Gathering information from clients 41

Giving information to clients 42

Informed consent 47

References 59

Chapter 4 Compassionate communication: working with grief 62
Susan Elizabeth Dawson

Introduction 62

The HCAB 63

Review of quality-of-life indicators 93

Setting up and running continuing care clinics 95

PET loss support groups 96

CPD opportunities 97

Resources and useful websites 97

References 98

Chapter 5 Dealing with difficult situations 100
Carol Gray and Jenny Moffett

Introduction 100

The use of veterinary communication skills at the end-of-life 100

A seven-step approach to communication at the end-of-life 102

Euthanasia – before, during and after 105

Welfare concerns 109

Informed clients 110

Communicating cost 112

Dealing with anger 115

Communication of mistakes 118

References 122

Chapter 6 Communicating with colleagues 127
Geoff Little

Introduction 127

The team and its leader 128

Induction schemes and mentoring 131

Appraisals 132

Exit interview 133

Delegation 134

Standard operating procedures 136

Staff suggestion scheme 139

Practice meetings 142

Reporting structure 144

Rotas 145

Interpractice communication 145

References 147

Chapter 7 Communicating with a wider audience 149
Jenny Moffett

Public speaking for beginners 149

Veterinary medicine and the media – a meeting of two worlds 155

References 166

Chapter 8 Communication and self-care in the veterinaryprofession 168

Communication, stress and the individual 168
Martina A. Kinsella

The first step to inner freedom 169

Moving from victim to victor 170

Implementing change 171

Learning assertiveness skills and becoming an assertive

individual 173

Beyond words: communication, social relationship and health 176
David Bartram

The disclosure phenomenon 177

Importance of social relationships 180

The role of telephone support helplines 183

Summary and conclusions 185

Acknowledgements 185

References (Communication, stress and the individual) 185

Further reading (Communication, stress and the individual) 186

References (Beyond words: communication, social relationships and health) 186

Index 190

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Carol Gray is a Lecturer in Veterinary Communication Skills at the University of Liverpool, and has been instrumental in the introduction of communication skills training to UK veterinary undergraduates.  She is also a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, a Registered Practitioner with the HE Academy, UK, and is a member of the LIVE team (RVC Centre for Excellence in Veterinary Education).

Jenny Moffett is Director of Communications at Ross University of Veterinary Medicine, St. Kitts. She is a past editor of the Irish Veterinary Journal and a freelance veterinary journalist. She holds a veterinary degree from the Royal Veterinary College, London, a Master's in Science Communication from Dublin City University and a Diploma in Marketing Communications from the Communications & Management Institute, Dublin.

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  • The first definitive textbook on veterinary communication

  • Covers all the key areas of communication

  • Combines the most up-to-date research with a wealth of practical information

  • Includes real-life case studies and simple step-by-step guidelines on specific situations

  • Edited by a carefully chosen group of specialists, comprising veterinary communication lecturers, veterinary practitioners, training managers and counselors

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"Packed with useful information about the way that communication has evolved and how to handle different situations, this recently published handbook should be a graduation present to all new vets entering the difficult world of practice." (Vets Today, November 2010)

"Handbook of Veterinary Communication Skills covers all key areas of communication and surveys everything from ethics and legal spects to handling clients, colleagues, and difficult treatment options alike. Real-life case studies accompany step-by-step guidelines showing how to handle specific situations, and examples of written resources that can be used in practice. Any library catering to veterinary students must have this!" (Midwest Book Review, September 2010) 

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Proposal quote from Jane Shaw (Colorado):

'[It will be] used as a reference text for veterinary communication curricula associated with   multiple years in the veterinary training program.'

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