For a couple of our classes this semester, we have client interviews at the learning assessment center. The clients are all volunteer actors. I hate these interviews because they are very unrealistic at times, but I know it's good practice. We study cases and then are assigned a case to make a handout and visit with the client for 15 minutes. The biggest problem with these interviews is we never know where we are in the case and what the client knows. My problem today is that I focused more on the general problem, Addison's disease, than the actual case. The client asked what we had done to her dog, and all I could remember from the update on the exam room door was giving fluids. This is part of the unrealistic part because we never actually did anything in these case studies and we have a couple minutes to read the update on the door of what has happened in the case up to this point. We have 4 of these interviews this semester and I just finished my 3rd interview.
This last interview was unique in that the clients were told to act upset about the case. Some were crying; my client was just sad - the whole time. I had the plan that I would just inform the client that their dog was doing fine and Addison's disease is manageable. It didn't work as planned. I know I have a lot to learn about interacting with clients and am still waiting on my client's comments. It should be interesting if I came off compassionate enough - kinda don't think so.
The most painful part of these interviews is that they are recorded and we have to watch them and evaluate ourselves. My biggest lessons so far: Don't call a client by their first name even if you have no idea how to pronounce their last name. Butchering my second client's last name actually lightened the mood from the beginning. Also, admit that you don't know things and you have to check with the clinician. I did a lot of that this last time.
Next week I do a physical exam on a real animal and take a diet history. This should be interesting.