How to write an effective communication in health and social care essay

People who work in health and social care need to develop effective communication skills. It is important to do so as it is necessary for such workers to be able to communicate with members of the public, patients and their families as well as with other people working in the same sectors, such as doctors and other colleagues.

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Naturally verbal communication is about speaking and communicating in writing. In other words, about using words. Non-verbal communication includes gestures, facial expressions and the noises we often make to express agreement, dissent, surprise and so on.

Technological communication can be done verbally or in written form. For example, technological communication can be made through phone calls, calls made via Skype or other platforms, and so on.

Informal communication is used with friends and people we know very well. It is common in this type of conversation for others to complete sentences for you, the use of slang terms is accepted, and information can be telegraphed because the other person(s) know what you mean precisely without being given much information.

Formal communication can be done in writing or speaking. Usually when giving a presentation or speech to an audience one uses formal language and style. When writing in formal English contractions and elisions are not used. For example, you wouldn’t say or write ‘don’t’ but you would say or write ‘do not’.

Behavioural communication is often used to provide other with an example of correct behaviour in any given situation. Often people respond to their environment, so their behaviour fits in with what is expected or required. Think about a residential care setting and compare how you would behave in such a setting and how you behave when out for an evening with a group of friends. In any ways we are conditioned to behave in certain ways because of the environment in which we find ourselves.

All these types of ways of expressing ourselves are relevant to an effective communication in health and social care essay.

When writing an effective communication in health and social care essay, you can use communication skills that are different to those you might use in other settings. A health or social care worker needs to develop empathy so that patients warm to them and feel that they are understood. When empathy is felt, respect, understanding and trust are all engendered. These positive feelings make for a better relationship between the carer and the person being cared for. That person will feel like an individual with feelings rather than a number to be dealt with by the carer, who will move on to another patient, perhaps too briskly.

Empathy between the service provider and patient should mean that individuals get the care and attention they need, rather than the same given to others. In other words, if there is empathy, the carer can meet an individual’s specific needs and this in turn might lessen the patient’s dependency on the carer and perhaps this will encourage the patient to improve his or her individual abilities. This should then mean that the patient to feel secure in a situation in which he or she may have felt vulnerable.

Cooperation improves when the patient feels secure in her or himself. This, in the social care setting will mean that the person being cared for will feel more willing to join in routine, everyday activities and be more prepared to cooperate with the carer.

There are several barriers that can impede effective communication. These are but are not limited to the following.

  • Using technical, medical or other complicated terms to a layperson. Plain English is required when dealing with patients who may be feeling confused in their strange surroundings.
  • Some people find it difficult to talk about ‘taboo’ subjects such as sex, race and religion, to name but a few. It is necessary for the carer to be sensitive to such feelings and to approach the taboo subjects, if necessary in non-threatening ways.
  • Equally some people can’t readily talk about their emotions. Empathy is very useful when you want others to express their emotions. Give n example of how you feel in a certain situation and encourage the patient to respond, saying how they would feel in a hypothetical situation. Gradually turn the conversation to how the patient feels or felt.
  • If a patient feels that you are not listening attentively to them, they will stop communicating. There should be no distractions if you want effective communication to take place. Make certain that your body language expresses interest by sitting or leaning forward towards the person you are speaking with. Control your body language at all times if effective communication is to take place.
  • Sometimes the patient might feel that what you are saying is irrelevant to him or her. This is certainly a barrier to communication.
  • Other possible pitfalls to be aware of are that your views may be very different to those of the patient.
  • If a patient has problems with hearing or has a speech impediment, then the carer will have to exercise more patience than usual and be understanding and empathetic. A person with a speech impediment could easily become frustrated if the carer always finishes sentences for the patient. Often, when we do this, we have misinterpreted what the person intended to say.
  • A different accent can be difficult to understand at a first meeting, so it is necessary to persevere and exercise patience. Eventually this barrier to communication will disappear.
  • Some people, for example people of West Indian origin, speak in a different language variety than the norm. This use of Creole can also be a barrier to effective communication. In this case, it would be wise to find a colleague from the same background as the patient so that understanding becomes easier. If a white person sits in on this type of communication, he or she can pick up the meaning and use the Creole effectively eventually, thus gaining a new language skill.
  • If you are speaking to someone on the phone, using facial expressions and hand gestures won’t aid communication. Text messages, and other means of technological communication can impede understanding and can sometimes cause offence.
  • Sometimes people hear precisely, and erroneously, what they want to hear. This may mean that they leap to the wrong conclusion about the speaker’s intent. You need to pay close attention to what your interlocutor is actually saying. If you try to read between the lines, this could cause misunderstandings.
  • Prejudices and expectations can also impede effective communication.
  • If your interlocutor is from a different cultural background to you, there can be many problems with your communication. Ask for explanations and don’t be offended by what is said, as offence was probably not meant.
  • Physical barriers
  • Physiological barriers
  • Systematic barriers
  • Language barriers
  • Attitudinal barriers
  • Psychological barriers

Distance is an example of a physical barrier. Although modern technology has gone some way to overcome this barrier, communication can still be impaired if atmospherics interfere with your call, for example.

Physiological barriers can be raised if a person has a hearing or speech impediment, for example. It may be necessary to raise your voice in an effort to communicate and this is wearing on the speaker. Again, patience is need.

Systematic barriers are those which can exist in one’s working environment. For example, communication channels can sometimes be inefficient causing breakdowns in communication between colleagues and superiors. They may also affect the patient/carer relationship if, for example notes are not passed on to colleagues who need the information they contain. Sometimes workers are simply not aware, because they have not been informed, of their roles and responsibilities within the care-giving environment. Similarly, patients may not have a clear understanding of what is expected of them. Communication breakdowns can be very damaging to the carer/patient relationship.

Language barriers can occur when a patient does not have a good grasp of English. In such cases carers should endeavour to employ a professional translator/interpreter who speaks the patient’s language. Care should be taken when this is done, as an unprofessional attitude on the part of a translator who is not a trained professional can de untold damage to the carer/patient relationship. It is important to ensure that any translator or interpreter actually does speak the same variety of language as the patient.

Attitudinal barriers can arise because of resistance to change, for example if a new regime is imposed on a ward, either the patient, the carer, or both could become alienated. Staff may suffer from a lack of motivation and this is another attitudinal barrier. Poor management and clashes of personalities can also raise attitudinal barriers. Managers need to be very aware of their roles and responsibilities when it comes to managing staff and their wards or departments.

Psychological barriers will be erected depending on the mental state of either the carer or the patient. If a member of staff is under pressure and feeling stressed, effective communication may be hampered because they are not taking sufficient care of how the message they have to deliver is being transmitted to the patient. Also, if the patient is feeling stressed, then he or she will not be as receptive to the message as they usually are. Anger should be kept under control at all times when working in a health and social care environment. Things may be said in the heat of the moment that are very detrimental to the relationship that the carer and patient have taken time to build. It may be useful for staff to have anger management training.

Another psychological barrier occurs when people have low self-esteem. They may not be able to communicate effectively and won’t be assertive enough to say what they mean. They might become embarrassed or shy about communicating and so the carer will need to be empathetic and encouraging so that this does not impeded communication. The care, in such a situation will need to read between the lines to discover the true meaning of what the patient is trying to convey.

There are also other barriers to effective communication. For example, if a carer has a lot on his or her mind, he or she may not pay sufficient attention to what is being related.

There may be distractions which also affect the listeners ability to understand the message being conveyed. When these are combined with noise in the environment, someone using a drill, for example, neither person involved in the conversation might be able to concentrate properly. Lack of concentration because of an unaccustomed noise can cause communication problems.

If the patient and carer have different world-views and perceptions this will almost certainly impede effective communication. Work will be needed to come to a consensus which will ease the tension between the patient and the carer.

You should now be able to write your essay, using the ideas, and perhaps some of the words and phrases contained in this article. If you feel that you need more help you can take advantage of our professional writing services. We can proofread and edit your essay, so that it is a polished piece of writing, or we can undertake to write the whole essay for you. The choice is yours. You can be assured that only you will know that we have written it, as our service is absolutely confidential and professional.

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