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Development, teaching, and evaluation of a consultation structure model for use in veterinary education

Radford, A., Stockley, P., Silverman, J., Taylor, I., Turner, R., Gray, C., Bush, L., Glyde, M.ORCID: 0000-0003-1433-7694, Healy, A., Dale, V., Kaney, S., Magrath, C., Marshall, S., May, S., McVey, B., Spencer, C., Sutton, R., Tandy, J., Watson, P. and Winter, A. (2006) Development, teaching, and evaluation of a consultation structure model for use in veterinary education. Journal of Veterinary Medical Education, 33 (1). pp. 38-44.

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It is now widely accepted that veterinary graduates should enter their profession with high-quality communication skills. Until recently, however, this has not been reflected in undergraduate training. Recently, the Veterinary Faculty at the University of Liverpool, in collaboration with the profession's indemnity insurers (the Veterinary Defence Society), has developed one of the first specific communication skills training courses for veterinary undergraduates. For the first three years it has been run, the aim of this course has been to increase students’ awareness of the importance of good communication in the veterinary profession. The course is based on best practice as currently defined in medical education, making extensive use of actors as simulated clients. As well as watching acted-out consultations, the students also role-play scenarios designed to expose them to all aspects of the veterinary consultation (including introductions, history taking, breaking bad news, fee issues, and dealing with anger). Feedback on the role plays is facilitated by members of stbio.

Evaluation of the first year of this course has been published and has shown it achieves its aims of increasing the students’ awareness of the importance of good communication with their clients.1 However, regular facilitators became aware that the students’ learning experience was very variable and, perhaps more importantly, could not be defined. This was felt to be a critical limitation to further development of the course, particularly in the area of student learning and assessment. It was recognized that one of the major obstacles to further development was the lack of a teaching model suitable for the veterinary consultation. Such models are routinely used in medical education. However, their direct application to veterinary education is limited because they do not reflect the diversity of clients with whom the veterinarian/veterinary surgeon communicates (e.g., farmers, companion animal owners), nor do they take into account the two important, and often difficult, areas of euthanasia and finances.

The aim of this project was to develop a consultation model for veterinary education based on the Calgary-Cambridge model of the medical consultation. The model was adapted, recognizing both the considerable overlap and also the likely differences between the veterinary and medical consultations. Subsequently, this model has been used to train communication skills facilitators and undergraduates. Here we present the model and provide results of evaluation of its use within the communication skills program for veterinary undergraduates at the University of Liverpool.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publisher: Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges
Copyright: © 2006 AAVMC
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