Blunt Dissection Ep 22: Dr Roeland Wessels

On today’s show, I am joined by Dutch Veterinary Royalty and Communication Master Dr Roeland Wessels.

Roeland graduated from Utrecht University with a doctorate in veterinary medicine in 1995 and entered the workplace in his native Holland.

In 2001 he opened St Anna 404, his own small animal vet practice which he and his wife have operated successfully as an exemplar of veterinary business in Holland ever since.

Away from his practice, Roeland is best known for his work as a veterinary business consultant and in particular a communications specialist.

There are many skills needed by modern veterinarians, but as Roeland says veterinary schools don’t teach you the most important one: how to understand humans. (Hear, hear, say I). It is safe to say that he is on a mission to change the way communication between humans is taught to veterinarians at all levels of the profession.

To this end, Roeland published his first book, The Veterinary Communication Handbook, in May 2013. It’s a great book that I encourage any vets to read.

Now, in addition to his book, the forward-thinking Utrecht University Veterinary School (one of the best-rated vet schools on the planet), has boldly incorporated Roeland’s communications program into their undergraduate curriculum since 2015. Kudos there to Utrecht in making a move that one hopes other vet schools around the world will follow.

Now, just before we jump into the episode, I just wanted to drop a quick word from today's show sponsor The VetX:Thrive community. VetX:Thrive is a place where vets of all ages and walks of life can learn the non-clinical skills required to lay the foundations for career happiness and success. Members learn from the best tutors and have access to role models and mentors around the world. The aim? Simple, to engage and retain the next generation of vets so they too can have happy, healthy and long careers in veterinary medicine. If you think that sort of support and training would be of benefit to you or one of your team then head to and click on VetX:Thrive to learn more. The link is also found in the show notes.

Back to the episode. This conversation is already one of my favourites simply because Roeland shared so freely and honestly from his wide-ranging and deep experience and knowledge. The episode is so crammed full of advice and insight I know you are going to have to listen again and again.

And happily, for accent lovers, due to his soft Dutch accent, that should prove no hardship at all. So, without further ado, I give you my conversation with Mr Veterinary Communication, Dr Roeland Wessels.

In This Episode

The life and work of Roeland Wessels: how he became interested in Veterinary medicine.

The struggle of schooling and how the light went on for Roland.

The gift of an ivory detection dog (Mitch) and how you can support the cause.

Roeland’s 3-dimensional encouragement to his fellow veterinarians.

The 4 Cs of a successful veterinarian.

Why the species we need to understand best is the human being.

What is contributing to the widespread dissatisfaction among veterinarians?

How perfectionism is debilitating many veterinarians from doing good work.

Fantastic failures Roland has made in his career - and what he learned from them.

The power of active listening and how it leads to greater happiness.

The best and worst advice Roeland has ever received.

Tips for building a team that works with passion and energy.

Lessons for veterinarians from Roeland’s secret passion: Carpentry.

Resources & People Mentioned

Dr Dave’s blog post: Find Shit, Fix Shit, Make People Happy:

The Calgary Cambridge Model of Communication:

Pawz For Thought (Australian Rescue Organization):

Connect with Roeland Wessels

Roeland’s Book: Communication In Practice and be found on his website: - Get more advice about client communication

On Facebook:

Connect With Dr. Dave

On Facebook:

On Twitter:

On Instagram:

On LinkedIn:

On Youtube:

Subscribe to Blunt Dissection on

Apple Podcasts, Soundcloud, Stitcher, TuneIn Radio, YouTube, Blubrry, Player FM

Be safe, be well, be happy.

Dr. D