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Communication competences crucial for veterinary doctor

We talk about professional development, motivations, needs of veterinary doctors with the Veterinary Doctor’s Service magazine in Poland.

Excerpt of a conversation for “Serwis lekarza Weterynarii” with Inga Kołomyjska Managing Director of KIKO Educational Solutions Polish Coordinator of the COMVET project.

Veterinary Magazine: Where did the idea for the project come from?  

okładka serwis lekarza weterynarii

Inga Kołomyjska: The project” Improving communication skills among veterinarians “was created in response to the reported needs of veterinarians. During the implementation of the project on interpersonal communication between the dentist and the patient, veterinarians came to us and stated that they also need a professional education in the field of communication with the client – animal owner. At that time we conducted a preliminary needs analysis and began work on preparing a project to respond to these expressed needs.

SLW: Why is the topic of the project – interpersonal communication between the veterinarian and the animal owner – important?

Veterinary dostors are very specialized group of professionals in the field of medical professions who, after graduation, have to deal with various specific situations in the workplace. Every year, the number of practicing veterinarians is increasing all over Europe. At the same time, in their daily professional practice, veterinary doctors have to face more and more demanding clients – owners, animal keepers. They often face the challenge of changing their clients’ attitudes, their needs, and their increasingly demanding approach. This can be a serious barrier at work. Communication with the client (animal owner) is a very specific type of contact. It includes the skills of personal communication, requires a certain level of empathy, but also the knowledge of how to direct a conversation with the client to receive the necessary information to effectively diagnose the problem, communicate during the treatment of the animal, and encourage the client to continue treatment to complete the entire medical process, to successful for the patient

As part of the project, we conducted, among others, an advanced international comparative analysis of the educational needs of veterinarians, in particular in the area of ​​interpersonal communication with the client-animal owner.

As part of the study, we asked many questions to veterinary doctors, including challenges in their interpersonal communication in everyday practice, difficult professional situations, how they dealt with them, motivation, what they value most in their work and development needs. In Poland, over 279 veterinary doctors took part in the study. We can already reveal some results from this analysis. For example, as part of the research, we asked question about the motivation to work for veterinarians. We asked “what do you like most about your work?” This question was an open question, where each respondent could answer it in an unfettered manner. The collected responses have been grouped into answer categories.

Over 44% of the veterinary doctors in question said that what they like most about their job is “contact with animals, help for animals, and contact with people (animal owners)”. The second most numerous group of answers (about 28% of respondents) presenting what veterinarians like in their work was “achieving success and good effects of therapy”. Over 13% of veterinarians declared that in their work they appreciate the most “diversity and lack of predictability in performing work”. Among the veterinarians in question, about 10% liked the “surgical procedures” the most, and 3% appreciated “professional independence” (understood as lack of a supervisor, boss), and 2% indicated “professional development”. For less than 0.9% of respondents, the main motivation was the financial aspect of the practice (salary), and similarly 0.7% of the surveyed veterinarians declared that they did not like their work at all.

This shows the dominant trends, but also the diversity of the most important motivations of practicing veterinarians, which may translate into their selection of their preferred form of professional activity. This motivation is also an important factor in communication with the animal’s owner.

One of the most frequently chosen factors motivating Polish veterinarians as part of the study is contact with animals, but also with animal owners. The social aspect of professional work is very important for over 50% of veterinarians. For those who value contact with the owners, professional work will be more effective and probably more pleasant, because these doctors will have the opportunity to meet their social and communication needs. Contact with animals, help and treatment are very important for most veterinarians. This contact is often associated with a relationship with other people, owners. Several doctors pointed out that contacting or helping animals was the most important. For those who underestimate communication with owners, the work of a practicing veterinarian can be a challenge because owners are the main source of information about animal health. Customers are also largely responsible for the practical implementation and effectiveness of veterinary treatment. These veterinarians can increase their social competences, e.g. through dedicated training, which can significantly help them in their further work, making it a greater pleasure.

 

Excerpt of the conversation, which was fully published in the publishing house of Serwis lekarza Weterynarii No. 19, June 2019.

More information availabe at the Polish Coordinator’s: www.kiko.com.pl

 

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