During February I participated in the second-year veterinary student (2VM) communications elective. Every Thursday we would head over to the simulation lab at the Health Science Center to practice our communication skills with different scenarios. In these scenarios we are the veterinarians, not veterinary students. As the veterinarian, we were responsible for taking a history, discussing the differential diagnoses or what the problem potentially could be, and the tests we would like to perform to help decide what diagnosis to make. These scenarios ranged from interacting with a client new to our practice to a client making tough decisions about quality of life and euthanasia. We participated in these scenarios with different actors. And let me tell you—they were very convincing!
I really enjoyed taking this elective because as a practicing veterinarian you cannot help your patient without having the client on-board. Having difficult conversations about expectations, money, and quality of life are going to be everyday occurrences as a veterinarian. I am very glad I got the opportunity to practice these skills, and I feel more confident in my ability to communicate with clients in the future.