This assignment will be discussingthe importance of communication and team work within a health care environment.It will also highlight the barriers in which health care professionals andother individuals must overcome to deliver effective communication in relationto verbal and non-verbal, language barriers and impairments, and others. Thisassignment will explain how team work is executed within a health careenvironment to maintain the safety and wellbeing of a patient.
Both topics willbe linked back to a practical experience and backed up with relevant theoriesand references to provide a balanced argument on how and why they areimportant. Communication:Communication is atwo-way process in which individuals exchange information as well as createideas and meaning. Communication is a way of connecting with people and places,whereas in a health care environment, it is one of the main functions, withoutit an organisation cannot operate between departments, employees or patients.
Themain skill that a health care professional needs to work effectively is theability to understand and communicate with others. Communication skills arevital as they enable health care professionals to understand the needs ofothers regarding their social, emotional, physical and intellectualdevelopment. Also, to be a competent care professional you need to be able tolearn about individuals and listen to what they have to say verbally as well asobserve their body language. Environmentalimpacts can also influence the effectiveness of communication.
For example, ifthe lighting is either too dim or too bright, it can cause distress for thosewithin that environment. If the lighting is too dim, it can create a negativeatmosphere and can make the patient feel depressed or lack self-esteem.Alternatively, if the lighting is too bright, it can cause more health problemsfor the patients involved. If the patient has a history of either epilepsy ormigraines, lighting which is too bright can distress them. In this type ofsituation, the health care professionals should ask the patients whether thelighting is suitable for them, if not, how would they like it altered? Wouldthey like it turned down or up, regarding on their medical history and how theyare feeling.Other environmentalimpacts could include background noise and the health care professionalspeaking from too far away.
If there is a lot of background noise, for example,if the patient is in a busy waiting room i.e. Accident and Emergency, thehealth care professional should ideally take them to a side room where there isminimal noise – this will then make the delivery of the communication moreeffective as the patient can fully understand what the health care professionalis saying. If this did not happen, the patient could become agitated due tothem not understanding and not hearing what the health care professional issaying. It could also lead to the patient feeling unappreciated and believingthat their health is not important.
Furthermore, if a health care professionalis speaking from too far away, it can affect the delivery of the communicationas the patient involved could already have a hearing impairment. If this wasthe case, the patient would find it very hard to grasp what the health careprofessional is saying. Again, this would could make the patient angry orconcerned. Within a health care environment, the professionals involved withpatients should always talk with a calm and soothing tone, and should sitrelatively close to the patient for them to understand the full extent of whatthey are saying. If, for any reason, the patient did not catch a certain wordor sentence the health care professional had said, it is then the health careprofessionals job to reiterate what they had previously said. If there is apatient who has a hearing impairment, for example if they have a hearing aid,it would then be the health care professionals job to make the patient feelcomfortable by not shouting and ensuring that their face is visible so that those who can lip read, areable to. Using pictures and writing messages are acceptable if the health careprofessionals ask the patients first and making sure that they are aware ofwhat is happening.
If needed, there are health care professionals who cancommunicate through sign language (Makaton or British Sign Language). Again,the patient should always be informed about changes before they are made. Being able tounderstand non-verbal communication is important within a health careenvironment as you can often tell how people are feeling by observing theirbody language. People can express how they are feeling using their eyes, toneof voice, facial expression and body posture. It is essential that health careprofessionals can judge when a patient is either in pain, distress or areshowing volatile behaviours.
This is necessary as many patients are unable toverbally communicate due to mental and physical illnesses, therefore being ableto observe a patient is a key skill which health care professionals need tofulfil their daily duties. If health care professionals were unable to observea patient’s body language, it could result in mistreatment or more pain for thepatient. If a health care professional is carrying out an examination on apatient who has just had surgery, they could be hurting that patient but notrealise it as they cannot read their body language. Therefore, in this type ofsituation there should always be more than one professional in the room whenperforming an examination to ensure that the patients needs are being heard aswell as observed. Michael Argyle(1925 – 2002) was a social psychologist who researched and created theoriesabout communication and interpersonal interaction. Argyle stated in 1967 thatcommunication is typically a two-way process which refers to two individualssending and responding to each other’s verbal and non-verbal communication.
In1972, Argyle developed the “Communication Cycle” theory, which initiallypredicts how communication occurs between individuals in one-to-one situations.The cycle is when we understand what is being said, reflect and then send ourfeedback to the individual we are communicating with. Therefore, within ahealth care environment, when communicating with patients, the health carestaff must ensure that the message they are sending is clear and that thepatients understand what is being said for them to respond accordingly. The”Communication Cycle” consists of;1.
Anidea occurs – This is when an individual creates an idea that they want tocommunicate about. In a hospital environment, a doctor or a nurse will thinkabout how they will communicate with their patients based off their patientfiles. This enables them to communicate more effectively and efficiently asthey have considered any barriers to communication.2. Messagecoded – This is when the professionals plan what they are going to say and howthey are going to say it. They will also decide whether any aids are necessary,for example, if sign language is needed or if spoken word is enough. 3.
Messagesent – The message has been sent through the agreed form of communication. Forexample, through sign language, pictures/writing or gestures. 4. Messagereceived – This is when the patient/individual takes in what the message said. 5. Messagedecoded – This means that the individual or patient has understood what thehealth care professional has said, they will use their body language orgestures to show this.
For example, constant eye contact, nodding or smiling. 6. Messageunderstood – The patient or individual can now give feedback which then repeatsthe process of the communication cycle.
There are a fewfactors which can influence the effectiveness of the communication cycle, forexample, the initial idea may not be planned in thought before the actualconversation. This can alter the message and make it seem unclear to theindividual on the receiving end. Also, the message being sent may be toocomplex for the other individual to understand, this could be due to jargonbeing used. Within a health care environment, professionals need to be carefulwhen using jargon, this is because many individuals may not understand what isbeing said. In an ideal situation, health care professionals should try differentways of saying things and try to make sense of sounds or words people do notseem to understand.
It is also important to talk in short, clear sentences toavoid using jargon. A health careprofessional may understand other people’s emotions by observing theirnon-verbal communication, but they cannot understand what a patient is thinkingwithout being a good listener. A health care professional must look interestedand ready to listen before the skill becomes effective. They must ensure thatthey hear everything which is said, and take notes if needed (only with thepatient’s consent), remember what has been said and ensuring that theyunderstood everything by repeating what the patient had said.
By doing this,the patient will feel more comfortable and able to talk freely to that healthcare professional in the future about any concerns they may have. It will alsomake that patient feel valued. Visual impairmentsare also barriers to communication as some patients may be unable to readspecific documents, such as appointment letters. Visual impairments caninclude, blindness, cataract, near sightedness and Diabetic Retinopathy.Whenever a patient with a visual impairment comes into a health careenvironment, the professionals should use conversation to describe what isaround them and important details about their medical conditions. Professionalsshould also help those with visual impairments to touch things, i.
e. if thatindividual feels comfortable touching faces for them to recognise those aroundthem. Health care professionals should also check what visual impaired peoplecan see, this is because many registered blind people can see shapes or tellthe difference between light and dark. The health care professionals shouldalso ensure that visual aids, such as glasses are being worn and that they areclean. Misunderstandingshave an influence on the effectiveness of communication as they often lead toconfusion and misinterpretation, this is because individuals with differentethnic or cultural backgrounds may not have the same medical terminology,techniques or equipment. This can ultimately lead to unnecessary stress orworry. Therefore, health care staff should be perceptive towards differentcultural interpretations. Due to misunderstandings, individuals can becomeangry or excited quite quickly, therefore, in this instance it is importantthat the professionals involved stay calm and approach the subject differently.
Depending on the patient, the correct form of communication is vital. If a patientis friendly and knows their doctor or nurse very well, then informalcommunication is acceptable on a professional basis. However, if a patient doesnot know their doctor or health care professional, then formal communicationshould be used until a comfortable atmosphere has been created. Individuals whohave special needs can face communication barriers within the community aspeople may find it difficult to start a conversation with them, or theindividuals themselves may be unable to process the information which is beingsent to them via verbal communication.
For example, when individuals have asevere learning disability or illness, such as dementia, it is not alwayspossible to communicate with them. In this instance, care services can employ anadvocate for that individual. An advocate is someone who speaks on behalf ofsomeone else if that individual cannot express what they would want or need.Within a health care setting, if there is a patient with a serious illness,they may have their parents, guardians, children or another next of kin tocommunicate their needs and wants as they understand that patient’s mannerismsand personal gestures. Advocates are there so that they can argue the patient’srights without being stopped by what the medical staff think is the easiest andcheapest way.The care value baseis about improving the patient’s quality of life by considering theirintellectual, emotional, social and physical needs. As providing care is at theheart of every health care service, professionals should help patients to takecontrol or stay in control of their lives, they should treat patients withrespect and dignity, patients should feel valued and listened to.
The carevalues attempt to decide the key principles that guide health careprofessionals on how they should behave. Another barrier tocommunication is when patients or service users become aggressive or start tocomplain. When a patient starts to complain or start to show volatilebehaviours, health care professionals should consider the reasons for this. Arethey in pain? Have they been waiting for long? There will always be a reasonfor the actions and emotions that they are showing. Health care professionalsshould stay calm and try to diffuse the situation by talking to thepatient/service user and ensuring them that their query or issue will be dealtwith accordingly.
Another reason why a patient or service user would becomeaggressive or start to complain could be because they have a family member orfriend that they are worried about. In this instance, a health careprofessional can then lead them to that individual’s room, and can discuss andupdate that patient or service user depending on the relationship with theindividual. Health care staff are trained to be able to help any service users,whether they are showing aggressive behaviours or not.Team Work:Team work is a method in which individuals work together toachieve a goal effectively. Team work is an important skill which is often usedwithin a health care environment to ensure that a patient or service provider receivescare of a high standard. Team work is the cooperation and constructive feedbackbetween individuals. Individuals who work as part of a team seeks help andshares information with other professionals and colleagues when patient’s andservice user’s needs are not being met in terms of care or if those individualsare at risk, whilst maintaining professional boundaries and consistently valuesthe roles and responsibilities of others. Theorist and psychologist Bruce Tuckman created the “Forming– Storming – Norming – Performing” model in 1965 and since then, it had becomeone of the most common and used theories for team development.
Tuckman’s theoryhighlights the way that a team takes on a task from the start until completion.To describe the completion of the tasks and challenges, Tuckman added fifth phaseto the model; “Adjourning and Transforming.” Tuckman’s theory is especially relevant to team buildingchallenges as the phases cover the completion of any task or challengeundertaken by a team/group.
One of the many perks of team building is that everyonehas an opportunity to observe each other’s behaviour within an acceptable timeframe as well as help one another. Within a health care environment, team workis extremely important for the care of a patient to be effective. An example ofthis would be a doctor, nurse, play specialist and the family of a patient allworking together to provide the care as well as updating one another with anychanges medically and/or personally.
If those individuals did not work togetheror converse between one another, either verbally or electronically, then thepatient’s needs may not be getting met. This is as the patient may have a painor a medical concern but the nurse or doctor fail to report the issue withinthe patient’s file, which then means that those looking after the patient ondifferent shift patterns may not be aware of that patient’s medical issues. 1. Forming – This is when the team has been createdand the task presented to the members of that team.
Within a health careenvironment, even if those individuals do not know each other, they areagreeing to work together for the same goal – to improve that patient’s qualityof life.2. Storming – This is when each member of the teambegins to suggest ideas to address the task/challenge and try to come up with anagreed solution. 3.
Norming – This phase is when the groupindividuals all agree on the rules and values about the solution which theyhave all chosen. During this phase, it is important that each member does notlose their creative edge and motivational drive.4. Performing – This is the stage where the ideasthat the team have created comes into play. For example, this is when apatient’s operation would go forward after weeks/months of planning andpreparing.
5. Adjourning and Transforming – Tuckman added thisphase to initially cover the end of the task/challenge and the break up of theteam. It is acceptable in some cases for the team members toreturn to any phase of the model if things are not going to plan. An example ofthis would be if a patient must change a date of an important operation or anappointment.
Both things can class as a set back for the team as they may haveother tasks to attend to, therefore they would have to work around theiralready busy schedule. Also, if a new member joins the team, then the remainingteam members must update that individual on the ideas which they have createdas well as any other bits of important information. High functioning teams not only provide better support forpatients, but they also support everyone within that team. This is beneficialas it reduces stress and promotes a healthy working environment.
A typical nursingteam, within a hospital setting, is made up of registered nurses, clinicians,nursing assistants and other healthcare professionals such as physiotherapists.When working together, they will all contribute to help prevent errors from occurringand will then enable nursing staff to reach their goal of improving patient’squality of life – there is no arguing that working together is one of the bestways to care for patients and service users.One of the main skills which individuals need to be able towork in a team is adaptability. This allows healthcare staff to be flexible andcome up with new solutions to help with day to day duties. An example of thiswould be a nurse struggling with their assigned number of patients and anothernurse offering to split the duties to help their team member. It is vital thata team is well-functioning and can cope well with unforeseen circumstances,such as a nurse or another health care professional being unable to completetheir shift. The nursing team should always be prepared for plans to chance andcomfortable to find a replacement where and when needed.Another way in which individuals can make team work effectivewithin a health care setting is ensuring that they know of any plans and thatthey stick to them.
All nursing staff should know the plans for differentsituations which can potentially be life threatening or damaging. For example,all nursing staff should know the protocol for a fire. Ensuring that all firedoors are closed and try to get all the patients, service users and othermembers of staff to safety i.e. to a fire exit, if not they should ensure thattheir surroundings are secure and safe whilst they wait for emergency services.
Trusting your colleagues is extremely important withinnursing as it sets a more friendly, approachable and comfortable atmosphere forother individuals within the facility. It is necessary to build relationshipsand figure out how each member works, this way individuals can share ideas,skills and knowledge which will then contribute to the care provided topatients and service users. Undeniably, nurses and healthcare staff are proficientprofessionals and their role within society is irreplaceable, together thereare magnified when working as part of a team.Overall, you cannot have team work without communication, ascommunication is vitally important when working within a team of health careprofessionals. An example of this would be handover at the end of a shift, thisis when nursing staff go over how their shift had went and how the patientsare. If this did not happen, then other health care professionals would not beaware of any changes to the patients regarding their medical conditions i.e.
changes to medication or updates as to when patients are being discharged – if nota life could potentially be in danger. It is important that every detail isexplained with clear communication, either verbal or electronically. Healthcare professionals should constantly be communicating to other nursing staffverbally or through patient’s notes, this way the possibility ofmisunderstandings and volatile situations would be near enough impossible.
To conclude, this assignment has discussed the importance ofcommunication and team work within a healthcare environment. It also highlightedthe barriers in which healthcare professionals and service users must overcome forcommunication and teamwork to be effective. This assignment also explained howteamwork is shown within a healthcare environment to maintain the safety andwell-being of patients and service users.
Both topics have been linked topractical experiences and backed up with relevant theories and references.