A COMMON challenge facing veterinary surgeons and their counterparts in human medicine is the need to communicate effectively with clients and patients, respectively. The challenge is all the more acute when there is bad news to impart. In this article, Cathy Jackson, a GP who provides consultation skills training to the medical profession, gives some advice for making these difficult consultations as pain-free as possible; in doing so, she draws on her own experiences as a veterinary client. In the box on page 104, veterinary surgeon Carol Gray, a lecturer in veterinary communication skills, describes steps being taken to introduce communication skills training into the veterinary curriculum, and discusses some factors specific to veterinary consultations that have a bearing on this area of communication.
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