Vet schools stress importance of bedside manners for furry friends

John McDevitt
May 17, 2018 - 2:39 pm

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Having a good bedside manner is not only a good practice for physicians with human patients.

Veterinarians, too, must show compassion for their four-legged subjects as well as their humans counterparts. 

The University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine built these communication techniques into the curriculums for first-, second- and third-year vet students.

"It originated from the human medical side. I am definitely happy to say it's in many, many vet schools as a part of the core curriculum now," said Brady Beale, veterinarian and chief medical communication director for Penn Vet's Ryan Hospital. 

Beale, who is also the course director for the communication labs, said the school hires actors to work out scenarios with students on how to deal with communicating to pet owners their animal's illnesses or treatments.

"Things like potentially an end-of-life discussion," she added. "So perhaps it's the grieving or very worried client who is with their pet in the exam room, or it might even be the angry client who is frustrated about how expensive the treatment is."

Students receive a pass/fail grade.

"These graduating students come out with having practiced those often very difficult discussions," said Beale.