Comparing veterinary students’ and practitioners’ perceptions of communication in a bilingual context

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Article numbere587
Journal / PublicationVet Record
Issue number12
Online published16 Jun 2021
Publication statusPublished - 18 Dec 2021


Background: Using veterinary medicine as the clinical context, this case study elicited perspectives of practitioners and students in Hong Kong about the impact of their communication skills on clinical practice.

Methods: A cross-sectional mixed-method design was adopted. Fifty students from the Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine programme were surveyed about their perspectives on expected communication needs as future practitioners and their perceptions of communication skills to be acquired in their programme. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with five veterinary medical practitioners to ask how they themselves feel about communicating in bilingual situations.

Results: The students highlighted that English is the predominant instructional language in their training, although there are evident discrepancies between the curriculum and the clinical setting given the three predominant languages used in Hong Kong. The veterinary medical practitioners also highlighted strategies for clear communication, and the significance of interpersonal skills as effective communication is essential for learners in training to ensure client satisfaction and optimal clinical outcomes.

Conclusion: This study can offer insights to educators on ways to bridge veterinary training and the clinical setting in bilingual contexts where communication problems result from language differences used for instruction and in clinical settings. Taking cultural context into consideration, multimodal teaching and learning materials can be developed to accommodate students’ needs for both academic and professional purposes.

Research Area(s)

  • clinical communication strategies, cultural competence, effective communication, outcomes, veterinary