Let us invite you to the “International comparative analysis of veterinary doctors educational needs in interpersonal communication with a client – animal owner ”.

The document presents the outcomes of a survey on the needs of veterinary doctors in terms of interpersonal communication with a client – animal/pet owner, conducted in selected European Union countries participating in the project: Poland, Greece and Cyprus. 

The main goal of this survey was to broaden the knowledge on the educational needs of veterinary doctors in the field of interpersonal communication with owners of animal patients. We collected and analysed data on veterinary doctors’ communication patterns, professional challenges in communication, self-motivation drives in a professional environment, stress management and strategies to cope with difficulties in everyday practice and in building a relationship with the client. Based on the outcomes of this analysis, a training programme with its methodology – a curriculum for veterinary doctors on the subject of communication with clients – animal/pet owners is being prepared, which is the main goal of the Project.

Veterinary doctors are a very specialized group of professionals in the medical field, who after graduation have to tackle various specific situations in the workplace. Every year, the number of practicing veterinarians increases all over Europe. At the same time, in their daily professional practice, doctors seem to face more and more demanding clients – animal owners. They often face the challenge of their clients’ changing attitudes, needs or increasingly demanding approaches, which can be a serious barrier at work. Communication with an animal owner is a very specific type of contact. It includes the skills of personal communication and requires a certain level of empathy, but also the knowledge how to conduct a conversation with the client to receive the necessary information to effectively diagnose the health problem, communicate during the treatment of the animal, and encourage the client to continue treatment to successfully complete the entire medical course for the benefit of the patient.

Furthermore, veterinary doctors in most EU Member States do not have mandatory degree or diploma in the field of communication with a client – animal owner. There are not any educational standards or training modules in university veterinary faculties that would cover interpersonal communication at workplace. Therefore, it is crucial, in this changing situation on European veterinary services market, to design a training programme of high educational value dedicated specifically to this professional group.

Since there is relatively little research covering veterinary doctors’ educational needs in terms of communication with clients in the European Union, this study is unique in that it investigated an under researched topic of needs of veterinary doctors. Furthermore, it explored communication competences in order to design bespoke training courses of high educational value.

The research has been developed in frame of an international strategic partnership project titled “Developing communication competences among veterinary doctors”, co-financed by European Union ERASMUS+ Programme (acronym: COMVET), which is aimed at developing a training programme and its methodology for veterinary doctors in the field of interpersonal communication with the client – animal/pet owner.