Dear Colleagues,

So many of us take calls from clients who become “John’s clients” or “Cathy’s clients” or “Nicole’s clients”. These are people who are sometimes demanding or kooky or different… And so many of us get frustrated with our work colleagues for a million different reasons and find ourselves worrying if we gave the right advice or made the right decision for our patients. And even if you feel you’re doing all the right things you might get complaints about stuff internally from staff or from clients.

Experiencing these things or feeling this way doesn’t mean we dislike any of these people or that we disrespect them. It doesn’t mean we don’t know how to do our job either. It’s a signalment of misunderstanding that comes from never having learned about ethics, values and communication in a detailed manner. It does NOT mean you are unethical, or have bad judgment, communication or ethical standards. It means there are differences, which might not be able to be shared or considered due to time constraints, the workplace environment or the relationship you have with the person and situation that is difficult. Or perhaps you have never considered the differences that make your clinical encounters difficult?

These are the things which fuel conversations on social media networks. These are the issues which commonly land us in front of the registration boards and lead to sleepless nights. Sure there are others too… but these difficult clinical encounters are the most common. And the easiest to rectify.

If you can make it to Rose Bay, Sydney on October 15-17th for the Navigating Difficult Clinical Encounters Seminar, you will revise the evidence and understanding behind:

How values influence decision making
Skills in setting expectations
The best way to stage diagnostics
Client, employee and clinic perspectives
Communication styles
Considerations in euthanasia
Handling complaints
The “What would you do?” question

You will develop skills in:

To understand the client’s mindset and its influence on carers
to build rapport, confidence and trust with client.
To recover from a bad start
Facts about trash talking
The ethics of decision making
About the complex nature of animal welfare vs client confidentially vs employment loyalty
How to navigate cost vs welfare consideration
The benefits of repetition
How guilt affects communication
Evidence about effective communication strategies
How to navigate difficult clinical encounters effectively

The idea that gaining these skills through evidence-based information, provided to you by specialists in their fields could dramatically improve your life might seem unfathomable. But I have been sitting with these women and listening to them discuss the elements of the workshop for almost a year. They are exciting, passionate and so incredibly helpful it will blow your mind.

Navigating Difficult Clinical Encounters is open to everyone and will really reduce headaches we all get from difficult clinical encounters.The point of the program is to help us make better clinical decisions. There is good evidence that our moral judgement, our communication techniques and our well being influences our clinical decision making even more than our scientific training in veterinary science. And that there is significant influence by all people involved in the care of a pet.

This training program addresses this, not by just telling us what we should be doing, but by teaching us HOW to do it better.

We all want to go to work happy and come home happy. The best way to do this is when we are able to express and practice our values when caring for a pet. But when we can’t because we are not the only ones involved in the decisions of care for the animals we treat, then we need good skills to protect our patients, ourselves and our colleagues from pain.


Ilana Mendels