Diagnostic Challenge

Outline of Events

For four days during two designated weeks in the fall semester of the second year, large blocks of time are created during which students are assigned a clinical case to investigate and diagnose; and “simulated clients,” such as yourself represent the patient as owner or caretaker.

One of your primary goals for our clients is that you enjoy the experience and the time you spend with our extraordinary students.  They and we are sincerely grateful for your help.  We want to make the DC’s a valuable and enjoyable experience for everyone.

Listed below is a description of events that take place before, during and after the DC program.  It is important to review the outline and schedule to make sure you are familiar of the time commitment necessary to ensure the success of the program.

DC Client Training Program: Once a month during the summer and early fall, the volunteers will receive a series of training modules that will be focused and precise on the three main areas of training (Structure, Role playing, and Assessment).   As the event draws closer the information will be more specific to the case that the client will be working with, along with contact with the faculty facilitator who will be directing the case. 

Client Workshop: The week of the DCs on Monday morning from 9 am to 12 pm there will be a client training workshop. The workshop will focus on building on the material received during the summer/fall and preparation for the initial interview the following day. 

Pre-DC Meeting for Facilitators and Clients – Monday 6 pm:  The meeting is designed to cover basic information concerning the upcoming week’s schedule, tips & tools from experienced facilitators, and an opportunity for the clients to meet with their assigned facilitator. 

  1. Day 1 and 2 – 12 PM: These two lunch meetings are designed to be an informal discussion on various topics ranging from the first interview experience to providing feedback for the students.
  2. Day 4 (Friday 8:15 AM) – Evaluation Session: VERY IMPORTANT!  Starting in the morning at the communication center, we will be discussing and completing the clinic evaluations. In order to make this process run smoothly, clients are asked to take notes during the course of the DC in order to remember specific characteristics of each clinic.

    Your online evaluations of each clinic (and in some cases individual students) are an important part of the assessment process. The Client Evaluation forms will be completed during this session.

The Interview: On the first day of the DC you will be in the Communication Center from 9 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. meeting with the 2 clinics assigned to your case (there is another set of 2 clinics assigned to the same case, but different client/facilitator pair). Each of the 2  clinics will meet with you independently for approximately 30 minutes.  At this time, the students will interview you concerning your animal. They may ask you questions about the animal’s history, its feed, shelter, exercise, and, of course, the symptoms which have made you seek out the services of a veterinary clinic. Because all clinics work independently, questions may vary so that one group may end up with different knowledge than another group.

You do not need to know anything about veterinary medicine to respond to these questions as they will all be similar to what you would be asked by your own veterinarian.  Specific responses for your case will be provided to you in writing by your case facilitators. The facilitator(s) will also act as the students’ eyes, ears, and hands when they examine your simulated animal. Please note that many clinics will ask to take a “TIMEOUT” to confer, and that they will then want to meet with you for 5-10 minutes a bit later to finish their initial interview. After the initial interview, the clinics submit requests for laboratory tests and other information to the facilitators. This is called a submission.  After the results from each submission period are returned, clinics contact their clients to explain the results and discuss their next recommendations.

DC INTERVIEW VIDEO: Here’s a video reenactment of a DC interview – just to help you visualize what happens on the first day of a DC exercise. This example is a small animal case.

  • Clients need to be available for these interactions from approximately 3-4 pm the afternoon of Day 1, 10:00 am – noon and 1-5 pm on Day 2, and 9:00 am-12:00 pm on Day 3. Ideally, this contact would be in person in the Communication Center. However, if necessary it can also be over the telephone at your home or work. This is not ideal as it keeps the interaction to the one student on the phone.
  • Typically you will have an assigned room where students know they can find you.
  • We will post an appointment schedule online for your students to schedule times to meet with you. Your facilitator will coordinate these appointments.
  • Depending on the case, students may also need to call you in the evening in order to provide updates or ask about the status of your DC animal (if it is at home).

When meeting with your clinic, you should feel free to ask any questions and to insert client issues when appropriate. You should also ask students to explain any aspects of the case. Students usually take turns being the “primary speaker” when meeting with you, but be sure to direct questions to other members of the clinic during every session.

When addressing the clinic, make sure all members are present. Let your facilitator know if someone is missing and/or ask the other students.

In general, your facilitator(s) will only be present during the initial interview and de-briefing. Be sure to touch base with him and/or her at the beginning of each day, over the lunch hour and at the end of each day. The facilitator(s) may have new information or an update for you regarding your case.

Morning – Clinics will be wrapping up their cases with final appointments with the client and a few last lab submissions (if needed).

Afternoon – Debriefing – VERY IMPORTANT!
During the afternoon, 45 minute debriefing sessions are scheduled for each group to discuss the case and the exercise. Your facilitator(s) will lead these sessions. Clients are asked to attend the debriefings so that students can discuss the client issues with you and so you can provide feedback regarding your interactions and impressions. The students are typically very interested in your perceptions and in advice that may help them become better veterinarians. The pre-DC training session often provides useful information on what to look for during the week and how best to communicate your observations to students.

Each clinic gives a 20-minute Grand Rounds presentation summarizing their case. Clients are invited to attend some or all of these presentations if they wish. Most clients find the Grand Rounds presentations an enjoyable culmination of the week, but attendance is your choice.