vet1cvt communication for the veterinary team




Credit points: 15

This subject addresses La Trobe's Global Citizenship Essential. Global Citizenship is about learning to live in an interconnected world, including the social, environmental, political and economic challenges this brings.

Subject outline

This subject introduces students to effective human communication techniques, strategies and their application in a veterinary and global context. The role of communication in supporting the wellness of all stakeholders in veterinary careis considered. Students will practice and critically review communication methods through the extensive use of role play scenarios, including the development of skills to interact sensitively and effectively with a range of people and in diverse cultural contexts. During placement, students will observe and under supervision, begin to assist with a broad range of veterinary team communication requirements including, for example, client consultations, patient handover rounds, and patient record keeping. Students will also learn personal cognitive and coping skills to help them appropriately respond to a range of authentic professional workplace situations in a professional, ethical, caring and empathetic manner so that students play an active role in their own professional responsibility and employment satisfaction.

SchoolSchool of Life Sciences

Credit points15

Subject Co-ordinatorDilhani Premaratna

Available to Study Abroad StudentsNo

Subject year levelYear Level 1 - UG

Exchange StudentsNo

Subject particulars

Subject rules

Prerequisites Must be admitted in the Bachelor of Veterinary Nursing (SBVN)


Incompatible subjectsN/A

Equivalent subjectsN/A

Special conditionsN/A

Learning resources


Resource TypeTitleResource RequirementAuthor and YearPublisher
Readings101 Communication skills for veterinary teams:RecommendedMyers, W (2014)Communication Solutions for Veterinarians
ReadingsHandbook of veterinary communication skillsPrescribedWiley-BlackwellChirchester

Graduate capabilities & intended learning outcomes

01. Use appropriate communication styles and approaches according to the circumstances and needs of clients, paying special consideration to cultural context, diversity and the human-animal bond

Students undertake guided preparatory readings on communication styles and approaches, and watch video links on the human-animal bond. Students share with their peers, their own cultural and life experiences, and discuss the diversity of clientele that they will encounter during clinical practice, and how communication style needs to be responsive and adaptable.

02. Recognise and respond appropriately to people in distress

Students undertake a workshop session with a focus on euthanasia and end of life care. An experienced clinician shares stories of their experiences with people in distress, and integrates this with theory on how to best assist people in distress. Students share with their peers their own experiences with distressing situations within veterinary contexts, and teams discuss how these could have best been handled.

03. Communicate in an ethical, professional, empathic and effective manner with clients in a range of veterinary nursing practice contexts

Students undertake preparatory readings on professional body codes of conduct (veterinary and veterinary nursing). During workshops student teams work through case study scenarios and use role plays to practice how to communicate ethically, professionally, empathetically and effectively in a veterinary nursing context. Students also consider how they can act as positive global citizens during these interactions.

04. Communicate effectively with colleagues in veterinary nursing contexts, including situations involving collaboration in groups and working with managers/supervisors.

Students are given pre-workshop materials to read through, which are reflections from working veterinary team members, in which they discuss what they have found to be the most positive and negative communication aspects of interpersonal communications when working with colleagues. During a workshop, student teams come up with a list of ways in which colleagues can best communicate with each other within a veterinary team context, and how varied cultural and belief systems can be included within this plan.

05. Reflect upon one's own internal self-communication during and following challenging experiences whilst on placement.

Students undertake a workshop session with a focus on positive psychology, mindfulness and self-care. Students reflect upon their coping mechanisms and are challenged to further develop a range of healthy coping mechanisms, and to be supportive of each other into the future.

06. Recognise and respond to the educational needs of others in a veterinary nursing practice context

When undertaking the group online global communication project, student teams consider what educational needs the general public has in terms of a challenging situation (e.g. deciding when to euthanize their pet). They then consider from an online communication perspective, how they can best address those educational needs, in a culturally sensitive manner.

Subject options

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Start date between: and    Key dates

Epping, 2019, Semester 2, Blended


Online enrolmentYes

Maximum enrolment sizeN/A

Enrolment information

Subject Instance Co-ordinatorDilhani Premaratna

Class requirements

WorkShopWeek: 31 - 43
One 3.0 hours workshop per week on weekdays during the day from week 31 to week 43 and delivered via blended.

Placement - Off SiteWeek: 31 - 43
One 3.0 hours placement - off site per week on weekdays during the day from week 31 to week 43 and delivered via blended.
"WIL placement"

Unscheduled Online ClassWeek: 31 - 43
One 1.0 hours unscheduled online class per week on any day including weekend during the day from week 31 to week 43 and delivered via online.
"Delivered as reading material, quizzes, video clips."


Assessment elementComments%ILO*
10 x 5 min Pre-workshop online Quizzes (850-words equivalent)2% each Weeks 2-12 2001, 03, 04, 06
1 x 10-min Role Play (1,000-words equivalent) Individual exercise 10 minutes role play Role play a range of veterinary nursing communication scenarios, including challenging situations with both clients and colleagues. (Effective global citizenship will be assessed as part of the role play, where students will be expected to be aware and sensitive to people's belief systems and cultural background. 5% is directly related to global citizenship.) 1501, 02, 03, 04, 06
Team online global communication project (1,200-words equivalent per student)Groups of 4 students Create on-line clinic communication materials (such as a website, or a form of social media) for clients on an emotionally and culturally challenging area of importance both locally and internationally (e.g., euthanasia, grief). Students are assessed on identifying the different global, cultural and belief system perspectives on their topic and their ability to convey diverse perspectiv3001, 02, 03, 06
Reflective Placement Journal (1,400-words equivalent)Students to critically reflect upon three varied challenging communication scenarios that they experienced whilst on clinical placement. (Global citizenship - One scenario is to be chosen where diversity of values, perspectives or background required the demonstration of a sensitive and empathic approach to reach a positive outcome. Students will reflect on how their personal communication skills impacted3501, 02, 03, 04, 05