Consultation & Communication Skills For Veterinarians

The evidence is now clear: get the communication and consultation skills right and outcomes for you, your patients and your clients are likely to improve. As well as making your job more satisfying and reducing the risk of litigation, good communication strategies improve both clinical and business outcomes.

This course is suitable for veterinarians at all levels. Veterinary nurses and practice managers who hold consultations or have a special interest in communication skills are welcome to enrol in this course. Please be aware that the course is designed for veterinarians, but the learnings are applicable to all veterinary staff.

Consultation Skills and Communication Skills for Veterinarians
Full Day, Delivered Online
10 CPD points

Event Calendar: coming soon

Learning Objectives


  • Explain what is meant by consultation skills in the context of veterinary care
  • Describe key consultation skills and their use in consultations
  • Discuss the evidence in favour of effective communication skills
  • Be aware of the important barriers to effective clinical communication
  • Understand the consultation as a meeting of stories
  • Describe consultation models applicable to Veterinary Medicine
  • Explain the principles of delivering effective feedback in consultations
  • Explain the difference between “patient centered” and “vet-centered” approaches
  • Describe how to use role play, video and observation safely and effectively in learning consultation skills
  • Describe techniques for dealing with clients who bring multiple problems or lists to the consultation
  • Explain the concept of the patient’s “ideas, concerns and expectations” and discuss its importance in clinical practice
  • Discuss the pros and cons of using open questions in a consultation
  • Be familiar with a model for breaking bad news in the consultation
  • Describe the principles of effective information-giving in the consultation
  • Discuss the pros and cons of sharing decision-making with patients in the consultation
  • Be aware of available decision support tools
  • Explain the principles and rationale of “safety-netting” at the end of a consultation
  • Describe techniques for dealing with aggressive behaviour


  • Incorporate some key consultation skills into their daily clinical practice
  • Describe and use skills for building rapport
  • Describe how to get clients to tell you what is really wrong and what they want
  • Analyse a consultation in order to offer constructive feedback on consultation skills
  • Demonstrate effective feedback skills using a template
  • Demonstrate how open and closed questions, summarising and signposting can be used in a consultation
  • Be able to use a model for breaking bad news in the consultation
  • Demonstrate a client-centered approach when consulting
  • Critique a colleague’s attempt to deliver complex medical information
  • Demonstrate an ability to integrate both the vet and client’s agenda
  • Practice using role play with feedback to learn consultation skills
  • Incorporate appropriate “housekeeping” skills into clinics in order to ensure readiness for the next consultation
  • Be familiar with skills for dealing with aggressive behaviour

1) Introduction: What Are Consultation Skills and Why They Are Important

  • Verbal and non-verbal communication skills
  • Client-centredness
  • Barriers to communication

2) Consultation Models – An Introduction Unit

  • What are consultation models?
  • Roger Neighbour’s Inner Consultation
  • Calgary-Cambridge model
  • Helman’s Folk Model
  • Berne’s transactional analysis model
  • Learning and improving consultation skills
  • How to give effective feedback

3) The Beginning – Making a Connection

  • The Golden first minutes – building rapport
  • Finding out why the client has really come: ICE
  • Dealing with lists or multiple problems

4) The Middle – Confidently Guiding the Client Along

  • Summarising
  • Signposting
  • Picking up on minimal cues
  • Giving information and explaining
  • Breaking bad news or having difficult conversations

5) The End – Making a Plan Together

  • Making a shared plan together
  • A model for shared decision-making
  • Safety-netting
  • Looking after Yourself

“Dr Claire was a dream team partner in a Veterinary Practice makeover and turn round in Tweed heads, New South Wales (MyVet Tweed Heads). In her role there as Vet Director she managed stellar growth and client satisfaction by dealing with each and every patient as if it was her own and communicating with passion and clarity.

Dr Claire has taken these exceptional infield skills from the veterinary frontline to the classroom. We employed Dr Claire several years later as a consultant to our Veterinary Group Vetlove (consisting of 10 veterinary hospitals) to improve communication skills within the group. Dr Claire presented her Communication Course, plus tips and other skills development, in a fun and informative way. Dr Claire definitely had a positive impact on communication skills in the consultation room for our Veterinarians and a consequent uplift in the economics of practices with lead veterinarians that took onboard Dr Claire’s recommendations and enhanced communication technique.”

– Dr Geoff Wilson BVSc Hons CEO VetLove.Pty.Ltd.

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