Although most of my friends probably don’t realize this, I am extremely shy and I don’t think I am all that good at interacting with people. Once I get to know someone and become close friends, I open right up and could talk for hours. This has been one of my biggest fears so far in life–and also one of the biggest things that has held me back while growing up. Coming into the profession, I knew I would be capable of doing euthanasia and learning all sorts of health-related things, but my biggest doubt was my ability to communicate.
Throughout the first year, we have had many talks about learning communication techniques and how to use them effectively. As I’m sure most of you know, many schools hire actors and put the students in simulated scenarios, in which the goal is to have students practice communicating and delivering news to the client. Last semester, we did a couple of mock sessions with our teachers and classmates, but this semester was the real deal.
Being shy, I was absolutely mortified as I awaited my turn. I’ve never been good at talking to strangers and getting information from them. My vet back home would always have me doing appointments and gathering histories, but despite all of that I never felt good about my abilities.
After a few short minutes of waiting, it was my turn. After reading the scenario, I entered the room and before I knew it the session was over. Although the scenario was very basic, I left the building feeling good about my performance. Perhaps it was my white coat and officially having the title of “Doctor”. Maybe it was the fact that I was expecting to have to go into much greater detail. Or maybe it was something else. Regardless, I left the room feeling much better about myself. I had a good conversation with my “client,” followed most of the guidelines given to us beforehand, and it really wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. It wasn’t a perfect performance, but I am definitely headed in the right direction.