Today's Veterinary Business

DEC-JAN 2017

Today’s Veterinary Business provides information and resources designed to help veterinarians and office management improve the financial performance of their practices, allowing them to increase the level of patient care and client service.

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Page 27 of 67

26 Today's Veterinary Business Communication Consider how well your team educates clients. Does everyone understand the most common learning styles? Moreover, do they know how to tailor exam room communications so that clients can make better health care decisions? Let's explore how higher levels of compliance can result if you understand different learning preferences and know practical ways to improve exam room client education. Misconceptions About Learning Styles Much has been written about learn- ing styles and the need to adapt teaching to help students learn and retain information. Three of the most common styles discussed are based on main sensory receivers: visual, auditory and kinesthetic (VAK). You may have seen a pie chart showing that 65 percent of the population are visual learners, 30 percent are auditory learn- ers and 5 percent are kinesthetic learners. As a result, educators and the general public alike believe that people learn best when taught ac- cording to one iden- tified learning style. But does scientific evidence support this premise? Daniel Willing - ham, a psychology professor at the University of Virgin- ia, says "no." He and other researchers are striving to dispel the myth that people have a spe- cific learning style and that teach- ing should be tailored to a per- son's individual learning style. He says that rather than formatting lessons differently for auditory, kinetic or visual learners, teachers should tweak their instruction based on content. Willingham and oth- er neuropsychology researchers advocate that people have different learning abilities and prefer- ences. Collectively, many researchers today promote the idea of using a combination of ed- ucation methods to maximize learning. Several years ago, I took my Papillon, Chloe, to a veterinary dentist for removal of an oral tumor and any necessary dental care. In addition to reviewing details of the surgical procedure, he showed digital radiographs to ex- plain which teeth needed to be removed. The dentist's combination of auditory and visual client education built trust and reassured me that I was providing the best care for Chloe. Communication TALK THE TALK By Amanda L. Donnelly, DVM, MBA Hear, see and feel Accommodating a client's preferred learning style can lead to a more educated pet owner and better compliance. This is encouraging informa- tion for veterinary practice teams. Why? Because it's not realistic for the average team to ask all pet owners their preferred learning style or accurately evaluate the style during a 20- to 30-minute appointment. Furthermore, expect- ing each team member to then educate clients according to their learning style is unrealistic. A more reasonable goal is to use multiple communication types and educa- tional tools to enhance the overall learning experience for all clients. Many veterinary professionals like to say, "An educated client is a compliant client." The truth of this statement lies in the fact that people are more likely to agree to treatment recommendations once they fully appreciate the need for a service and fully understand the value of the service. Therefore, it is imperative that practices implement a com- prehensive, team-based system to deliver the best client education. People who learn predominately with their eyes are more sensitive to the educator's nonverbal communication.

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