Understanding Non-Technical Competencies: Compassion and Communication Among Fourth-Year Veterinarians-in-Training

Document Type


Publication Date



Child and Family Studies


Over the past several decades, non-technical competencies have been given an increasing amount of emphasis in veterinary medical training. However, additional research is needed to continue understanding the role that non-technical competencies play in veterinary success and wellness. An inter-related pair of non-technical competencies that needs further empirical investigation is communication and the influence of compassion on veterinarians. This research study investigated the relationship between compassion experiences and communication styles of fourth-year veterinarians-in-training using a canonical correlation analysis. The compassion fatigue resilience (CFR) model was the theoretical framework used to conceptualize how communication behaviors may contribute to compassion fatigue and compassion satisfaction. Compassion experiences were measured using a version of the Professional Quality of Life (ProQOL) scale. Communication style was measured using the Communication Styles Inventory (CSI). Results indicated that communication style is statistically significantly related to compassion experiences (n = 281; Function 1, Rc = .552, p < .001; Function 2, Rc = .369, p < .001). Compassion fatigue was found to have a statistically significant association with the communication styles of emotionality (r = .467, p < .001), impression manipulativeness (r = .191, p = .001), and verbal aggressiveness (r = .239, p = .001). Results indicated support for veterinary training programs to continue adapting their curricula to include communication training and intervention programs to address communication and compassion fatigue, as well as to consider how the relationship between these two constructs may influence the wellness and success of veterinarians-in-training and veterinarians. More research is needed to understand the role of impression manipulativeness in veterinary wellness.

Publication Title

Journal of Veterinary Medical Education

Find in your library