This reflective diary consists of four entries, and I will be focussing on the first entry which is about how I have put into practice all that I have learned from this module such as how to communicate effectively with a service user at my place of work. I will be using Gerard Egan’s Soler approach which includes the use of good eye contact, facing squarely, keeping an open posture, leaning, and how to be relaxed when communicating with a service user. Furthermore, I will be also be using Francis R. ’s 6C’s report which are care, compassion, competence, communication, courage and commitment.
Also, I will be using Gibbs’ cycle of reflection in my diary. On the 30th of September 2014, I arrived on the ward at about 06:50 a. m. to get myself prepared before taking over from the night staff who usually starts handover at 7:00 a. m. Communication is a necessary tool for all healthcare professionals because it is used from the beginning to the end of the shift. Therefore, clear information should be sent across to everyone ranging from (housekeepers, ward clerks, ward managers, nurses, carers, physiotherapists, dieticians and doctors) on duty in a polite manner.
For instance, when we speak to service users in a respectful manner and when we are considerate of their feelings, culture, and values, it is much easier to build a rapport with them. During handover, information was passed on to me about Mr K, who is a dementia patient. After the handover I sat beside Mr K’s bed, ensuring that I made some eye contact with him. It was also important for him to notice my mouth movement, and in a slow and clear tone I asked if I could assist him with his personal care.
Although I used verbal communication, I had to speak at a moderate pace because if spoke too quickly, he would not have been able to understand me and this could have led to him getting confused. In addition, by making eye contact with him, it made me come across more friendly. After doing this, he declined my offer due to him suffering from dementia. The reasons were that dementia affects the memory and thinking which made it difficult for Mr K to understand what I asked of him, leading to him feeling very uncomfortable and declining my offer.
Therefore, I tried a different method of communicating with him, by summarizing all I had to say in short sentences. I did this because people with dementia get agitated when we use long sentences as they find it difficult to understand. Because Mr K, a dementia patient, declined my offer, he might have for instance forgotten what time of the day he is being asked to take his shower. This explains why he declined my offer to assist him with his personal care needs. Afterwards, I began to see myself in his position, and this motivated me to go back and speak to him which I did but this time with the help of body language and facial expression.
He finally allowed me to assist him with his personal care after just one attempt. This highlights the effectiveness of communicating through facial expressions and one’s body language as some might prefer this type of communication. Some of the basic communication skills a health care professionals should be aware of is the complexity of active listening skills as explained by Trevithick (2010:123) According to Francis R. (2013) 6C’s report on care, healthcare professionals should provide service users with the best quality of care because service users and their families expect the best services from us.
I used this model of communication throughout my conversation with Mr K while assisting him with his personal care needs. I was compassionate with him action to make this vision and strategy a reality for all and meet the health, care and support challenges ahead. In my conclusion, reflecting back on what I have achieved during this module has helped me to take an objective view of my progress. I could see what went well, my strengths and weaknesses and what needs working on, then identify areas to develop and start to think about ways to do this regularly and on a daily basis.
During handover, information should be clearly explained from the sender to the receiver so that the job can be carried out effectively because communication is a two way process and it should be clear in a way that everyone should understand each other. Through this module I have learnt that maintaining eye contact with shows that you are a good listener and it is a form of good body language. My confidence level has increased and I am now able to speak up within group. Entry two: The role-play and group formation
In this diary with four entries, I will be reflecting on the process and stages we followed during the formation of our role play group. Furthermore, I will be elaborating on the communication methods we used within our group and how we put into practice the various skills we have learned so far from the beginning of this communication module. The theory I will be using is Tuckman’s (1965) four stages model of group formation, which consists of forming, storming, norming and performing, to support my essay.
I chose this model because it explains the process we followed during our group formation and how it helped us to overcome challenges that occurred during and before our presentation. I will also be using Gibbs’ 6 Cycle of reflection in my diary which are description,affection, assessment, scrutiny, conclusion and action plan. On the 15th October 2015, before the formation of our group, our seminar leader explained the importance of a role play presentation and the method of communication which the lecturers will be expecting us to use during our presentation.
We were asked to form ourselves into groups according to our sitting positions, so my group consisted of four people. This made me insecure and I was worried about how we were going to work together as a team as in order for us to achieve our set out goals. During our conversation, I realised that they were completely different than what I expected them to be. Therefore, it is clear that by communicating, there is always the possibility of a formal introduction which eventually leads to the building a rapport among members.
Also, this is the period where one establishes a cordial relationship as everyone now knows each other better. Our forming stage was when we formed as a group. The first thing that came to our minds was to elect a team leader among us because for our group to be successful we needed a leader who had good listening skills and could encourage us without being bossy. We talked about why we intend to study health and social care. It was during our conversation that I found out that most of us were already working in different healthcare settings as healthcare assistants.
This relates to Tuckman’s theory on group formation which explains that forming a group is not an easy process, some members may be anxious or excited about the task ahead. At the beginning of this second seminar section, a group member wrote down our ground rules which stressed the importance of switching all mobile phones off during our meetings and rehearsals. We must all also be ready to show our active listening skills by listening attentively and abiding by these rules, helped us to be more organised.
In addition, we agreed to create our group WhatsApp page so that it will be easier for us to communicate and convey messages across, making social media a helpful tool of communication. We were advised by our seminar leader to use a different name during our presentation. During our storming process, we were not able to arrive at a conclusion immediately about what roles each member was going to play. These uncertainties about roles led to a misunderstanding and disagreement among us. Therefore due to the conflict and argument which arose, our group leader changed our individual roles to more suitable ones.
Our norming stage was when we understood our roles and responsibilities and we were ready to work together. Working as a team helped us clarify and understand our main goals and objectives as we tried to avoid being distracted by relationships and emotional issues, although, there were little clashes and individual differences in our group discussions, during presentation, we could cope with those challenges. The time we spent in putting our ideas together helped us to plan ahead and build our trust in one another. At the end of the seminar session we all finally agreed on a permanent date for our next meeting.
In conclusion, taking part in the role play gave me the opportunity to understand and consider individual differences when it comes to allocating roles to each team member. I was able to have an insight into my own reaction to conflict and how others reacted and behaved. In addition, I have improved my awareness of working together in a team, which involves always being ready to help, to observe, to plan and to cooperate. Entry Three: Evaluation and learning from the role play In this entry of my four diary entries, I will be focussing on how our role play went, by elaborating on the strengths and weaknesses of our role play presentation.
I will be emphasising on the outcome of our debriefing process as well as the feedback we received from our seminar leader. Furthermore, I will be using two of Tuckman’s Performing and adjourning stages to reflect on this diary. He explained that the performing stage is when a group is more focused on achieving their set out goals whilst the adjourning stage is a fixed period where even permanent teams may be disbanded through organizational restructuring. We presented our role play on 18th November 2014.
By arriving two hours before our presentation, it was possible for us to practice our individual roles again before presenting later on. This helped us to adjust and correct the final mistakes that aroused during rehearsals. We filmed and recorded our individual roles during our rehearsal so that we could watch our individual performances. Also, we tried as much as possible to adapt to the ground rules as we were not allowed to exceed the given time. We were ready to help and support each other because we understood the importance of working together as a team, in which we must be able to trust one another.
In our presentation, we all played the role of care assistants who worked in a residential home and I cared for three service users. My colleague and I had to hand over to two other staff members who were on the early shift. Two of my service users slept well through the night and there were no concerns. However, the third service user refused to take her morning medication which she was due to take at 8:00 a. m. with a cup of tea. Furthermore, while presenting, we were able to apply other communication methods used in health and social care settings.
Like nodding and good eye contact which was visible, most importantly, we were ready to perform and present our work before our lecturers. Verbal communication is one of the best channels to transfer information. As our tone of voice was clear and audible during our presentation, our lecturers clearly understood the message which was being conveyed. The positive feedback we received also supports this. Even though there was a situation that arose before our presentation, when one of our members decided to change our topic, we were able to resolve the issue quickly because we communicated effectively among ourselves.
Also, at the end of our presentation, we were so pleased with ourselves because we remembered our parts individually and did not go beyond the given time. We finished at exactly 9 minutes and 45 seconds, which would not have been possible if we had not prepared and practiced before presenting. During our debriefing, we went through all the things we did right and realised that we participated well in the role play and demonstrated at four key communication skills. Firstly, we demonstrated good listening as well as built a rapport with all team members.
Also, we were able to show good use of positive body language during our presentation. The last communication skill that we demonstrated during our presentation was when we introduced ourselves at the start and created the first impression with our seminar leaders. Notably, the most important communication skill I have learned in this module is active listening. According to Bernard Moss’ Communication skills in health and social care (2012), active listening skills are complex, but also the fundamental solid foundation of good practice.
Our presentation went well because we were able to demonstrate the skills which will be useful for our future job role as health care professionals. I learned from my role play that I have to improve my speaking skills because sometimes I find it very difficult to find the right words especially when I am in a conversation with service users. In addition, looking back at my feedback from my role play, I did not really use positive body language, also my team did not make use of echoing, open and close question.
In my future action plan, my posture and body language should be more welcoming. In addition, I have to use open and closed questions more often. In conclusion, the various communication techniques I have acquired from the role play presentation and the module will be useful for future use and due to the fact that I learned from my role play, it has helped improve my method of communicating, and I am now able identify where I went wrong and correct myself whenever it is necessary to do so. th entry: My personal development during the communication module This reflective diary consists of four entries, and in this entry I will be focussing on the various communication skills I have learned from the beginning of this module till date, and how this has helped me improve on my personal development. Furthermore, I will be elaborating on how I will be applying these acquired communication skills into practice when working with clients and colleagues now and after my degree.
Lastly, I will be relating my diary to Soler theory as well as Donald Schon’s (1983) theory, in which he wrote that one reflects on action by engaging in a process of continuous learning which is one of the defining characteristics of professional practice. Studying this course has broadened my listening skills awareness on how to communicate effectively with service users, by communicating through the right channel and in different situation, and also making sure it gets across to the receiver.
In addition, I have learned that messages can be transmitted in different channels which could be verbal, nonverbal, through body language, their eye contact, facial expression and gesture. This method of communication is called silent messages by Meharabian, A. (1971), Wadsworth: New York, in which he wrote that silence and stillness are also important forms of communication because they involve the whole body activity. We communicate through words, tone, posture and gesture, behaviours, facial expressions, clothes and appearance.
However, in some situations this is not always achievable especially if the receiver has got sensory impairment, then this could lead to communication barrier. Furthermore, all the skills I acquired have increased my knowledge and understanding of what communication is all about. This shows that I am putting more of my skills into practice at my workplace. I have noticed that the way I sat at the beginning of this module was not professional and it sent a negative message across to service users.
All this has changed during the course of this module, because I noticed that I can now sit squarely and face the service user in order to send a more welcoming message across to patients. Soler theory explains that sitting squarely when communicating with a client shows that I am available to assist them, although, there are cases where this may seem too threatening for some patients and they may think otherwise.
In addition, I have noticed that the skills I learned in this module have shown me how to express my ideas, views and feelings when communicating with my service users and colleagues at workplace. Also, by building a rapport with clients it helps me maintain a work related relationship with them and this makes the job a lot easier. I am now aware that for communication to be effective, it has to be open and clear so that clients will understand the message I am trying to convey, which will eventually prevent me from making mistakes when assisting them with their personal care.
This can be related to the Skills for Care and Skills for Health Code of Conduct for Healthcare Support Workers and Adult Social Workers in England (SFC/SfH 2013) which says that, it is our responsibility as health care workers to promote the health, safety and well-being of service users, which is only possible through clear communication. I have learned that my ability to communicate in challenging situations is a vital skill which I have acquired and this will help me in my job role as a health or social care professional because one will always be confronted by difficult situations.
Finally, the most important skills I obtained from this module are the active listening skills. Business dictionary defines active listening as the act of mindfully hearing and attempting to understand the message been conveyed by a service user in a conversation. This has helped me during conversation with a service user because I have to listen carefully to what they are saying and in order for them to be convinced that I understand what they are telling me, I will have to repeat what they said.
In conclusion, the communication skills I have developed personally during this module have prepared me on how to communicate with my fellow students, lecturers and service users. Therefore, putting myself forward to gain more experience and new ideas, is my method of learning. I am now aware of the importance of working in a team because our role play made me understand that in order for a group presentation to be successful, members must work interdependently, plan ahead, and support each other’s ideas.