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Embracing the awkward silence

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THROUGHOUT vet school, I imagined that veterinary practice would be pretty straightforward. Yes, sure, there would be scientific conundrums and clinical challenges, but those could be solved by judicious research and asking colleagues for help. I had been trained in communication skills, I had read the suggested consultation models, and I had practised eliciting the case history from willing actors.

How wrong I was. When I started in practice, I suddenly found that I seemed to be solving the wrong problems. I’d listen carefully to the client, ask for clarification, work out a diagnosis and treatment …

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