gms | German Medical Science

4th InVeST – International Veterinary Simulation in Teaching Conference

14.09. - 16.09.2015, Hannover

Assessment of communication patterns of Canadian dairy practitioners during farm visits

Meeting Abstract

InVeST 2015: International Veterinary Simulation in Teaching Conference. Hannover, 14.-16.09.2015. Düsseldorf: German Medical Science GMS Publishing House; 2015. Doc15invest30

doi: 10.3205/15invest30, urn:nbn:de:0183-15invest303

Veröffentlicht: 10. September 2015

© 2015 Ritter et al.
Dieser Artikel ist ein Open-Access-Artikel und steht unter den Lizenzbedingungen der Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License (Namensnennung). Lizenz-Angaben siehe



Veterinarians have important roles in dairy farmers’ decision-making regarding farm management; they are often regarded as the most trustworthy and reliable sources of advice on disease and disease risk management. Consequently, competent communication is a core clinical skill for practitioners. There is clear evidence in human medicine and companion animal settings that communication skills can influence satisfaction, adherence and health outcomes. However, there is a paucity of evidence-based findings regarding communication skills used by food-animal veterinarians. Therefore, we are planning to conduct a study to evaluate interactions between dairy producers and practitioners.

Veterinary communication with dairy producers will be recorded during regular Herd Health visits. Ten dairy practitioners (each visiting seven farms) will be equipped with a GoPro® (compact, rugged camcorder). Conversations will be recorded and categorized using the Roter Interaction Analysis System (RIAS), a leading technique to analyze interpersonal communication. In RIAS, codes are assigned to communication units (e.g. phrases, parts of phrases, or single words). These codes can be divided in two broad categories: 1) codes related to gathering or verification of clinical and therapeutic information (=instrumental codes); and 2) codes related to expression of concerns, agreement, criticism, empathy, etc. (=affective or social codes). Codes will be used to describe and quantify communication patterns used by the dairy practitioners. We will assess the following: proportion of talk, information gathering, client education and counselling, relationship building, activating, partnership, and orientation.

Recording dairy practitioners will enable description of distinct communication patterns. Identified gaps can be targeted in teaching veterinary students and practitioners. Improvement of communication skills is expected to increase farmer satisfaction and adherence with veterinary advice. Results of this study will help veterinarians to become more effective proactive coaches and advisors for dairy farmers.