Press Start—Veterinary/Client Interaction Game Project


Professional Skills courses encompass a series of four semesters offered from the beginning of freshman year to the end of sophomore year during the veterinary curriculum. These courses cover many topics, including an expanding focus on client communication skills. These skills are being taught in veterinary schools for the first time so a significant effort goes into curriculum development with a lot of trial and error to see what works to bring this material to students in a meaningful way.


The video game project includes adaptation of an existing video game platform to produce everyday veterinary scenarios for use by students in the study and reinforcement of communication skills taught in the classroom (including verbal and non-verbal skills, relating skills, process skills, and perception skills).

Learning Challenge

The first challenge is that veterinary students believe they possess the requisite skills for communicating with clients and yet the available research from the parallel field of human medicine indicates that client communication skills of medical professionals are lacking without appropriate training.

The next challenge is the lack of awareness on the part of students that the quality of their communication skills is of equal importance to their medical knowledge in terms of influencing medical outcomes for their patients.

Challenges also include putting together the entire client communication skills curriculum within the time allowed in the schedule and with the limited available teaching resources.


These are some of the questions that will be asked:

Does this tool work to reinforce communication skills?

Does this tool work better or worse than other methods?

What additional benefits may exist to using an educational gaming experience in the learning of client communication skills (e.g., increased engagement in the material)?

Was the game useable by students not familiar with gaming environments?

Did students evaluate the experience positively?

Personal Bio

Graduated from Iowa State University, College of Veterinary Medicine in 1995 with a DVM (Doctor of Veterinary Medicine) degree.

Completed a rotating internship in small animal medicine and surgery at University of Minnesota in 1996.

Entered private practice in the field of small animal practice with national practice Banfield, The Pet Hospitals from 1996-2001.

Practiced for several years before assuming responsibilities for recruitment, university relations, and the national senior extern program.

Maintained part-time involvement with the College of Veterinary Medicine by designing and teaching the Elective Small Animal Surgery senior rotation from 1996-2002.

Joined the University of Minnesota CVM faculty full time in 2001.

Professional interests include finding new and innovative ways to teach beginning clinical and professional skills to veterinary students.

Current projects include development of a video game tool for reinforcing client communication skills and development of the first of its kind Communication Skills Rating Tool for use in evaluation of veterinary exam room skills.

Title: Director of Experiential Education and Assistant Clinical Professor.

Enjoy time at home with husband Jeff and children Hunter and Reagan and four-legged child Hiro, a rescued research beagle.

Last modified Tuesday, 10-Apr-2007 10:45:34 CDT

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