I could see the orange vet wrap hurtling through the air and I knew it was coming right for me. It almost hit the ceiling and then began its decent towards my head. My brain started scrambling because I had about 4 seconds to think of a response to the teacher’s question and that I would have to answer in front of the class. Now confident that it wouldn’t hit someone else, I reached up and caught the roll.
The goal of the exercise was to practice communicating with clients in difficult situations. During the first scenario, the teacher who was pretending to be the client, wanted to know why she should get her cats vaccinated for rabies. People were chosen to respond by tossing a neon orange roll of vet wrap into the air, and whoever it landed on would be the lucky person. After each student’s response, the teacher would ask more questions and the wrap would be sent flying towards someone else.
Knowing that I was not one to talk in front of large groups and that I am usually very quiet, many people were happy that I was chosen. Luckily for me, in those 4 seconds I came up with what I thought was a decent response. Looking up at the teacher, I said “First off, the common wealth of Virginia technically wouldn’t know that you had a cat, or if it was vaccinated. However if someone got bit, your cat would need to be tested for rabies and the only way to do that is by beheading your cat. And you definitely don’t want that to happen.” Based off my word choice, the class erupted in laughter and even the teacher got a kick out of it.
Coming into veterinary school, I knew that learning how to effectively communicate with people would be my biggest challenge. When I talk, what I am thinking and what I actually say tend to be two different things, as was the case here. A couple classes have a strong focus on communication this semester, so I’m confident that I will drastically improve.
What made this discussion even more interesting was that our teacher admitted that her cats are not up to date on any of their vaccines. A day later, I found an email from the teacher to the class. Based on the arguments my classmates and I made, she had purchased rabies vaccines and her cats would be vaccinated shortly, noting that she definitely didn’t want them to get beheaded! So at the very least it sounds like I did something right!