Skip to main content
Identity Mask

It is all about communication …and an identity of communication skills!

All of us have our own identity or to say it more exactly we all have several identities: identity as a woman or man, as a husband or wife, as a father or child, as an educator or student … and as well as a professional veterinarian.

Title Figure:

Mask and Mindset


Left Figure:

Right Figure:

Communication is one important professional skill for veterinarians in all areas of the profession. Many universities are already teaching communication skills to undergraduates. And much is known about how to teach skills and which situations should be mastered by undergraduates.

However, what do we know about the influence on professional identity formation in the context of the acquisition of communication skills?

A recent article by Silke Gaida et. al. (2018), brings us towards a formation of a professional communication identity in today’s veterinarians. The authors used a grounded theory approach to analyse the formation of a professional communication identity.

hey describe the formation of professional communication identity in veterinary medicine in a three step theory-model

The starting point of every professional identity is an existing personal identity, which is mainly developed during childhood. So, everybody enters the university with his/her own personal identity.

2. The second step, socialisation, is the most important one for educators. This is the formation of identity influenced by role models and other persons outside the family. They mention interpersonal communication experiences in different ways, fostering the formation of professional identity.

3. The third and final step is professional communication identity, which can be achieved during a veterinary career. Professional relationships seem to be the main goal of professional communication.

Figure from Gaida Article on Communication Identity

Figure: Professional communication identity formation (Gaida et al., 2018)

professional identity of communication. Feel free to find out more details by reading the article itself. It also provides some thoughts about the development and teaching of communicative skills.


Gaida S, Härtl A, Tipold A, Dilly M: Communication identity in veterinary medicine: a grounded theory approach. Veterinary Record Open 2018;5:e000310. doi:10.1136/vetreco-2018-000310

Authors of Blog Contribution: Silke Gaida, Clinical Skills Lab, University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, Hannover, Germany, and Marc Dilly, Scil Vet Academy, Scil Animal Care, Viernheim, Germany.

VetMedAcademy welcomes guest contributions to the Evidence-Based Education Blog.  Email if interested in contributing.