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Bridging the Divide: Enhancing Communication for Specialists Online Course

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With the global impact of COVID-19 and the postponement of the Bridging the Divide: Enhancing Communication for Specialists live event to 2021, we understand that this is an extremely challenging time for specialists. Now more than ever the need for specialists to communicate effectively is prevalent.  As a result, we will be delivering a portion of this course as an interactive, online program starting in January.


The Approach 

Client and veterinary team communication are essential both to the delivery of high-quality medicine and to the success of specialty veterinary practice. The ability to manage an animal’s healthcare effectively and efficiently depends upon communicating with and understanding the perspective of the people connected to that animal. Like any other skill, communication requires attentive practice. Communication tools and techniques evolve in the same manner as our clinical acumen. 

What’s Involved 

The professional skills and tools offered throughout this course center on communication skills and techniques that contribute to positive patient outcomes in the veterinary consultation. Examples used during the course are relevant to residents and specialists; no specialty-level resources like this exist currently. The knowledge and skills gained from this course is expected to be amplified within the profession since specialists typically consult with many primary care veterinarians on a given day.  


This course provides four modules that are developed specifically for the challenges veterinary specialists face. The modules, building upon each other, will guide the learner’s journey through clinical communication as an evidence-based discipline, all within a safe yet interactive, virtual environment. You will be able to identify and practice core communication skills that are essential building blocks for subsequent simulations that will be offered during the in-person course in 2021.

Upon completion of all modules, a successful participant will be able to: 

  1. Describe how effective clinical communication enhances the delivery of relationship-centered care.
  2. Define and strategize how to make use of the following clinically relevant foundational and structuring skills that contribute to positive patient outcomes in the veterinary consultation:
    • 7 Foundational Skills 
      • Transparency 
      • Open-Ended Questions 
        • Non-Verbal Cues
        • Empathy
        • Reflective Listening
        • (Unconditional Positive) Regard
        • Pausing
        • Three Structuring Skills
          • Signpost
          • Chunk and Check
          • Summary
      • Consider how working through the different decision points and receiving immediate feedback can help with communicating in similar real-life situations in the future.
      • Recognize how effective communication between veterinarians, clients, and supporting members of the veterinary team impacts patient outcomes and improves both client compliance and satisfaction with the delivery of healthcare.  


        While learners may elect to participate in individual modules, it is recommended to complete all four modules, which will be a prerequisite to attend the in-person course being offered later in 2021.