Professional communication skills

Improving professional communication skills enable employees to communicate with a higher level of accuracy, efficiency, and supportiveness, and thereby improve the medical outcome of the patients.

“Clinical communication” means communication in the context of treating patients. The medical result often relies on the owner’s adherence to treatment at home, which depends on the customers trust in the care provider, and the relationship forged during the consultation.


The aim of this survey was to find out how our employees value communication skills in a clinical context. 123 practice managers, 460 veterinarians and 505 receptionists submitted their views.


By investigating additional issues or concerns, veterinarian can develop a prioritized plan, clarify expectations, provide structure, and time control. The customer interaction is also more possitive as a result of improved communication.


  • From 2,385 customers, there were 2,914 issues listed.
  • After probing for additional issues, 1,671 more were identified. 46% of these added additional work at the time of consultation and only 31% rendered in a new appointment.


  • 51% of the veterinarians answered “yes” to the question about having attended a communication course in the past, and 30% had attended a course for 1-2 days or more
  • >82% of the veterinarians stated that communication skills have “very strong” or “strong” impact on all four parameters:
    - Quality of Care
    - Medical outcome
    - Client satisfaction
    - Job satisfaction
  • 70% of the veterinarians have never been given a proper training (> 1 d course) in communication as a clinical skill

Clinic example

Our work with clinical communication skills should lead to long-lasting changes in the way we work. Veterinarian Stina Tørvik-Pedersen, a small animal specialist in Bergen, Norway, participated in one of our first courses.

Stina, what did you think about clinical communication skills prior to your course?
– At first I thought it was a bit unnecessary. I already considered myself really good at talking with clients.

And in hindsight?
– It was the best and most useful course I have ever attended, especially in regards of how often I use these skills: every day, in every single consultation.

What has been most useful?
– I realized that insufficient cost communication made me want to reduce expenses for the client. Another topic was the client’s perspective. I have found it highly rewarding and it often gives me valuable information. I still have things to improve, like giving clients bad news.

Do you have an example of a situation where the skills have improved your outcome?
– Due to lack of communication I did not give a dog the proper rabies revaccination before the clients went on a trip to Denmark. I had clearly made a mistake. I rehearsed the method from our course and the outcome was much better than I could expect. The clients stayed with me and it also helped me not to dwell too much on my mistake.