Tag Archives: Client communication

The best laid plans…

Excited to practice my new communication skills (see my recent post about the FRANK Communication Workshop I attended), I picked up the phone to dial my 4:30 consultation about some rabbits. The client lived far away and had questions regarding her “herd” of about 100 rabbits (started as a 4-H project). The staff had warned me this would be a challenging conversation.

An hour later, I sighed as I hung up the phone, having barely used ANY of my newly honed skills. In fact, I barely got a word in edgewise.

Luckily, we pre-arranged payment by credit card at a rate of $25 per 15 minutes, because apparently it was not possible to spend less than 20 minutes on the phone with her. And she had a LOT of questions.

Wisely, I opened a blank Word document to take notes during our call. Trying to keep up with what could most aptly be described as “verbal diarrhea” was nearly impossible. I thought my notes would be helpful for practicing my reflective listening–ha! I could have set the phone down, walked away for 5-10 minutes, come back, and she still would have been talking. I literally had to interrupt numerous times to clarify important details or make what I hoped was a useful contribution to the discussion. I’m pretty sure I never asked an open-ended question and lord knows I never had a chance to pause!!

To my pleasant surprise, I could hear her trying to wrap things up as the clock ticked closer to 60 minutes. I asked if the conversation had been helpful for her, and she said yes.

In fact, she will try to bring a couple of her rabbits to come see me some time. I wonder what that will be like?

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AAHA Conference Update

View out my hotel window

So many good things to talk about! The topics I want to cover will certainly keep me busy for awhile. I’ll summarize some of the lectures I’ve attended at this AAHA conference in Toronto, and highlights gleaned from them, but first I want to outline my ideas for future blog posts related to the conference:

  • MyPetEd.com – the first app of its kind (that I know of) that allows you to set up a medical record for your pet (intended for pet owners), search for a veterinarian, look up lost and found pets, and even search adoptable pets–all in the same app. I interviewed the sales person at the booth and will be putting it together sometime after I get home. Personally, I find this very interesting, for reasons I will outline in my future post.
    • Haven’t decided yet if I’ll include the new LifeLearn client education system with this post (offered by the same company), or write about it separately, because that’s something else that I think has tremendous application, and I don’t see any other veterinary service offering anything quite like it, or nearly as high quality.
  • DogLeggs: Therapeutic and Rehabilitative Products. I interviewed Lisa Fair, one of the sales people at the booth, about their products, because I think they fill a unique niche in veterinary medicine that is under-recognized and under-utilized. They don’t teach you in vet school about things like DogLeggs, which make your life sooo much easier AND provide a valuable therapeutic purpose for your patients with special needs.
  • My opportunity to meet with (and have dinner with!) one of my idols, Dr. Robin Downing. Undecided yet as to whether I’ll post pictures…
  • And possibly more on the role of social media marketing in veterinary practices, as this is clearly something I have an interest in, and it has been a point of repeated discussion at the conference.
  • And, if I really feel motivated and have the time, I’d like to cover the Opening Session talk by Steve Little. Good stuff. Milkshakes.

Now for a quick summary of the lectures I’ve attended:

  • Urology: phenomenal series presented by Dr. Doreen Houston!!! I wasn’t planning to stay for all 5 lectures, but I couldn’t pull myself away!
    • Idiopathic Cystitis in Cats–and Dogs? (Parts 1 & 2): Having an excellent speaker (who is also an expert in her field and was awarded the OVMA Veterinarian of the Year Award–for good reason!) walk you through this complicated and frustrating disease miraculously alleviated any feelings of being distraught over the lack of new information in this field. She said everything I already knew: there’s no universally effective treatment, we need to increase our cats’ water consumption, and provide environmental enrichment and stress reduction. But the way she presented it, it felt so revolutionary and invigorating! I LOVED this talk!!
    • Crystals & Stones: An Update on Types, Diagnosis, Management, and Prevention in Dogs (Part 1) and Cats (Part 2): I learned soooo much from this, I can’t begin to summarize it. Sorry for the cop-out. One key point was to be sure to treat a dog or cat with antibiotics (based on culture results) for 1 full month after resolution of struvite stones. In the dog, that may mean dissolving the stone for 2-3 months, and therefore, 3-4 months of antibiotics.
    • Urinary Tract Infections in Dogs & Cats: What’s New in Diagnosis & Management? Key take-home point: always, always culture and do sensitivity testing. That sounds obvious and mundane, but again, the examples she shared and the practice tips she covered were so enlightening. Talked quite a bit about indwelling catheters as well (note: don’t put those patients on prophylactic antibiotics!).
  • Communication
    • Karen Purves presented, “Communicate With Strength: 17 Words that Undermine Your Effectiveness”. She’s a very dynamic, fun speaker who is easy to listen to. Reminded me of stuff I probably already knew, but she also does research on the linguistics of communication and what is most effective (and why), which I find very interesting.

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