In 2002, IHC expanded the scope of communication training to veterinary medicine through educational grants from sponsors such as Bayer Animal Health. The Veterinary Communication Project at IHC was developed to address gaps in veterinarian-client communication training at veterinary schools. To address those gaps, the Project has produced 16 educational modules with tools and resources for improving communication skills on a variety of topics (listed below). Teaching communication in veterinary medicine is now endorsed across the profession through national reports such as the North American Veterinary Medical Education Consortium, Partners for Healthy Pets, Brakke and Mega studies, Bayer Veterinary Care Usage Study, veterinary curriculum standards as set by AVMA Council of Education, and the North American Veterinary Licensing Examination testing of client communication skills for licensure. In addition, veterinary academic surveys have consistently demonstrated that practice success is dependent upon effective communication skills, and consumer surveys show that good communication is the number one priority when animal owners choose or decide to stay with a veterinary practice. Since 2003, close to 500 faculty members have been trained to teach the IHC’s veterinary communication modules within the curriculum in schools of veterinary medicine and technology across the United States, Canada, Japan, Australia, Portugal, Brazil and Chile.
In addition to the Veterinary Communication Project faculty training (train-the-trainer) offered to veterinary school faculty, IHC has provided over 200 invited presentations, workshops and seminars at state, national and international veterinary conferences. Target audiences have included veterinary professionals in practice, research, industry and academia.
IHC Veterinary Communication Modules
Module 1: Team-Based Learning
Module 2: Getting the Client Story
Module 3: Client Decision-Making and Owner Consent
Module 4: Euthanasia: Discussions at End-of-Life
Module 5: Adherence: Tools to Increase Client Trust and Understanding
Module 6: Nonverbal Communication
Module 7: Eye of the Beholder: Techniques for Challenging Client Interactions
Module 8: Elephant in the Room: Talking with Clients about Money
Module 9: Sharing Bad News
Module 10: Ethics: Ethical Dilemmas in Practice and Communicating Responsibly
Module 11: Breaking the Silence: Disclosing Medical Errors
Module 12: Healthcare Team Communication: Improve Morale and Productivity
Module 13: Building Client Trust: Techniques for Relationship-Centered Care
Module 14: Compassion Fatigue: Self Care and Resilience
Module 15: Clear the Air: Managing Team Conflict
Module 16: The Power of Feedback in Practice
IHC Faculty (Train-the-Trainer) Development Course
IHC has held an annual week-long train-the-trainer (faculty development) course in New Haven, Connecticut over the summer since 2003, which has been attended by close to 500 faculty members from academic institutions and veterinary organizations. The teaching and learning format of the course is highly interactive and includes small group learning, case-based training, and simulated-client scenarios that allows for immediate application. Participants take away with enhanced skill development in three areas: 1) teaching and facilitation; 2) client and team communication and; 3) coaching and feedback. Each faculty participant leaves the week-long training with the use of IHC’s veterinary communication modules. Tuition fees and annual license to use IHC’s copyrighted materials are required.
IHC has also offered train-the-trainer programs onsite for organizations and institutions who are invested in trainng a critical mass of employees. Onsite programs have been offered at Michigan State University, University of Calgary, University of Florida, Texas A&M University, and in medical organizations throughout the United States, Canada, and Australia.
“I have worked in the field for 44 years and now feel empowered to really model and teach communication skills to my students, interns and residents. I wish I could take this every month. I am privileged to be a part of this program and hoping for a follow-up retreat for re-training.”
~ Faculty participant, Veterinary Faculty Course