A survey was conducted among veterinary practitioners in the UK and the USA in 2012/2013. Thematic analysis was used to identify underlying reasons behind answers to questions about the importance of communication skills and the desire to participate in postgraduate communication skills training. Lack of training among more experienced veterinary surgeons, incomplete preparation of younger practitioners and differences in ability to communicate all contribute to gaps in communication competency. Barriers to participating in further communication training include time, cost and doubts in the ability of training to provide value. To help enhance communication ability, communication skills should be assessed in veterinary school applicants, and communication skills training should be more thoroughly integrated into veterinary curricula. Continuing education/professional development in communication should be part of all postgraduate education and should be targeted to learning style preferences and communication needs and challenges through an entire career in practice.
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