Communication skills education onsite in a veterinary practice

Jane R. Shaw, Gwyn E. Barley, Ashley E. Hill, Susan Larson, Debra L. Roter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To provide communication skills education to veterinary professionals in the practice setting and evaluate the training by measuring veterinarian communication pre- and post-intervention. Methods: This is a case-based pre-test/post-test intervention study of a veterinary practice in Denver, CO. Four veterinarians from a single practice and 48 clients (selected to represent wellness and problem visits) were recruited to the study. The veterinarians took part in a training intervention consisting of a year-long curriculum, including interactive communication modules, individual coaching and communication laboratories. Six visit interactions were measured for each of the 4 veterinarians pre- and post-skill training. The Roter interaction analysis system (RIAS) was used to analyze the study's 48 videotapes. Results: Compared to the pre-training visits, veterinarians gathered twice as much lifestyle-social data (p<. 0.02), and used 1.5 times more partnership building (p<. 0.03) and positive rapport-building (p<. 0.01) communication. Clients provided 1.4 times more lifestyle/social information (p<. 0.02) and expressed 1.7 times more emotional statements (p<. 0.01) in post-training visits. Conclusion: The training intervention promoted a more client-centered approach to veterinarian-client communication. Practice implications: Practice-based communication training is novel to veterinary practice. As a case study, generalization of the findings are limited, however the findings support the efficacy of the communication intervention and enhanced utilization of veterinarian-client communication skills by these veterinarians.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)337-344
Number of pages8
JournalPatient Education and Counseling
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2010


  • Client-centered care
  • Partnership
  • Patient-centered care
  • Veterinarian-client-patient communication

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Communication skills education onsite in a veterinary practice'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this