Communicating Complex Veterinary Diagnoses with Confidence

December 13, 2016
VMD Staff

Brian Faulkner, Bsc (Hons), BVM&S, CertGP (BPS), CertGP (SAM), MBA, MSc (Psych), MRCVS, explains strategies for veterinarians to communicate complex diagnoses with confidence.

Brian Faulkner, Bsc (Hons), BVM&S, CertGP (BPS), CertGP (SAM), MBA, MSc (Psych), MRCVS, explains strategies for veterinarians to communicate complex diagnoses with confidence.

Interview Transcript (slightly modified for readability)

“Sometimes vets who are in the process of developing confidence ask me, ‘Until I feel more confident and more secure in myself, what do I do? How do I reassure clients?’ I would say, first of all, be yourself. But there’s a way of coping with uncertainty. There’s a difference between saying, ‘I don’t know what’s wrong, and I don’t know what to do,’ which can actually instill a lack of confidence in the client about us. Because it comes across as sounding like we’re lost and we haven’t a clue. And as honest as it may be that we don’t know what’s going on, and we don’t know what to do, there’s a difference between saying, ‘Well, here are the suspects. Here are the possible causes — one, two, and three. Here are our options. There’s no absolute answer and sometimes I’m not sure what the most effective answer is at this stage.’ But there’s a difference between saying, ‘Let me contain the situation, make sense of it, and possible causes,’ and then saying what the options are.

I do an online program called the colorfulconsultation.com and I do a model within that called the Confidence Chromosome. And it’s a metaphorical chromosome. And what we have is the word confidence happens to have 10 letters. I identify 10 beliefs that will either undermine our self-confidence, or enhance that self-confidence. That’s a program that I find that a lot of people in general — it’s not just for veterinary surgeons, but actually it’s for anyone in life, those particular beliefs – and that’s a program I’ve developed. But I use it specifically in the young vets – and not-so-young vets that I coach.”