Professional Communication skills are arguably the most important skills new graduate veterinarians can possess. Employers of new graduates report wide disparity in communication and professional skill sets when compared with medical and surgical skills. Many factors may contribute to this gap. Standardized testing such as NAVLE, PAVE, & ECFVG certainly help support medical standards in our profession. However, variability in communication skills amongst new graduates, is still a gap in our ability to produce practice ready veterinarians.

The LMU-CVM curriculum has constructed communications and professional skills development into each semester emphasizing the importance of professional skills alongside clinical skills. Through a combination of lecture, labs and a robust assessment rubric with simulated clients, the LMU- CVM is creating new standards in assessing communication skills and professionalism in efforts to decrease the variability seen in today’s new graduate veterinarians.  

Our presentation focuses in depth in three key areas to help others develop programs or augment existing programs in communication training. Our starting point is what we desire for our end product, then working backward developing the foundational concepts and techniques for the desired outcomes. Secondly, we teach how to construct an assessment tool, to more accurately assess learning and mastery of skills taught. Lastly most institutions share the same hurdles; of lack or resources most notably facilities and trained faculty and staff to assess students and or provide feedback. We will share a bridge to these hurdles to help make delivery and impact more sustainable amid these barriers we all face.     

Pulliam, Dustin Course Director- Professional Skills, Linda Descanio lecturer- Professional skills and Communications 
Lincoln Memorial University College of Veterinary Medicine Harrogate, Tennessee United States of America