Effective communication is a process of exchanging ideas, thoughts, knowledge and information such that the purpose or intention is fulfilled in the best possible manner. It s important in health and social care because it can help to foster a good working relationship between service users and health care professionals, which can in turn improve morale and efficiency. Interpersonal interaction is a communication process that involves the exchange of information, feelings and meaning by means of verbal and non-verbal messages, between two or more persons. In this report I will be: explaining the role of effective communication and interpersonal interaction in a health and social care context, discussing theories of communication, and assessing the role of effective communication and interpersonal interaction in health and social care with references to theories of communication. Explain the role of effective communication and interpersonal interaction in a health and social care contextDifferent types of interpersonal interactionsThere are different types of interpersonal interactions such as: speech, language (first language, dialect, slang, jargon), and non verbal (posture, facial expressions, touch, silence, proximity, reflective listening). The first type of interpersonal interaction is speech, people who are of different ethnic groups, cultures, professions and localities have their own phrases, words and speech patterns because of the different backgrounds and the different uses of language. Service users might get easily confused, feel misunderstood or even feel mistreated with the way they are spoken to simply because they are not used to it. The second type of interpersonal interaction is language. First language is the language an individual learns to speak when they are born. Working with service users who have different first languages can be difficult as mental translation between languages may be required. For example, if there is a problem with a child in a nursery and their parents do not speak English well or don’t understand it at all, it will be difficult to deliver the information about the problem with the child. To help overcome this, a translator will be needed so they can help the parents understand what the problem is. Healthcare professionals tend to use jargons; words that are used by a particular profession or group that are hard for others to understand. An example of a jargon being used in a health care setting would be in a hospital, a doctor could be explaining to a patient the problems they have with a part of their body, for example their knee cap and the patient may not understand that due to the doctor using technical term such as ‘patella’ instead of the simpler word ‘knee cap’. Those who are from a different geographical area will use different words and pronounce words differently; this is often referred to as using a different dialect. Dialect is known as, words and their pronunciation which is specific to a geographical community, for example people who live in the north west of England will use a different dialect to those who live in London. An example of different dialects being used in a health and social care setting are early years settings, the pronunciation of ‘bath’ can be different when people are from different geographical areas. People, especially youths are more likely to use slang, informal words and phrases that are not usually found in standard dictionaries but which are used within special social groups and communities. Examples of slang are “bare”, “allow it” and “yo”, these words tend to be exchanged between friends. In health and social care settings, it is highly unlikely that slang will be exchanged between ant of the professionals however setting which have young people, for example sexual health clinics, may have the exchanges of slang sometimes between the professional and patient, the patient may be used to say such words so it can easily slip out without the patient realising what they are saying. The third type of interpersonal interaction is non verbal, the impersonal skills in this interaction involved are: posture, facial expressions, touch, silence, proximity, and reflective listening. Non verbal communication is not speaking when communicating, individuals study how a person is at that time to try and understand a message. Posture is a particular position of the body, the way an individual sits or stand when communicating. In a health and social care setting it is important to consider posture as it shows professionalism, for example, if a doctor crosses their arms and leans back looking in other directions it can show they are not interested, however when a doctor sits in an upright position making eye contact, it can show they are interested or intensely involved so the patient is aware the doctor is there to help. An individual’s face often informs others how they are feeling; if they are sad they are not likely to withhold a smile. In health and social acre settings facial expressions can tell professionals how an individual is feeling and if something needs to be looked into further. For example, in a care home, if an elderly face suddenly goes from being bright and smiley to them having pursed lips and slight tensions on their face, it is the health acre professionals jobs to look into the scenario of the elderly and to make sure that they are not of any harm to themselves or others. Touch is also a way of communicating without words, when one touches another it can send the message of care, love and affection. However, touch can also be misinterpreted. For example, in a care home, a carer could touch hands with an elderly in an attempt to comfort them however they may misinterpret the message and think that the carer is not trying to help but is trying to dominate them. Silence is the complete absence of sound. How silence makes others feel relies upon the circumstances, here and there quietness is expected to solidify information, some of the time quietness makes individuals feel awkward and embarrassed. An example of a silence being used in a health care setting would be in a hospital, if a patient is being told they have cancer, the doctor places silence in specific parts of the conversation to show the patient they understand and it is also allows the patient to obtain and consolidate the information being told. Proximity is the nearness in space, time or a relationship. The space between people can show how friendly or ‘intimate’ a conversation is. In all health and social care settings it is important that all clients are allowed their own personal space, if carers do not allow clients to have their own personal space it can be considered aggressive. Reflective listening is a communication strategy which involves two key steps: seeking to understand a speaker’s idea, and then offering the idea back to the speaker to confirm the idea has been understood correctly. An example where reflective listening is used in a health and social care setting would be in a early years setting, a teacher will set a task and then will ask the students what they have to do and will check on them throughout the process of the activity to ensure they understand that they are doing what they are supposed to do.Contexts of communication There are different types of communication such as: one to one, group communication, formal, informal conversations between colleagues, between professional and people using services, communication with professionals, multi agency working, and multi professional working. One to one communications are simple interactions between two people consisting of usually three steps; first, a greeting to introduce oneself, next, exchange the information and the specific reason as to why you are talking, and finally, when it comes to the end of the conversation use the correct use of goodbye for the circumstances you are in. An example of one to one communication in a health and social care setting would be a nursery teacher contacting a parent to give them information about the playgroup or information about their child. One to one communication skills are needed for basic everyday interactions in health and social care settings, they are also needed to establish and maintain supportive relationships with health care professionals and service users. Group communications are usually spoken in a formal manner in health and social care settings. Health care professionals communication in group situations when they participate in report or handover meetings where individual needs are discussed, case conference and discharge meetings, and meetings with relatives and managers of organisations. Communication in groups can sometimes feel challenging, competitive and negative where a few members of the group dominate, people have to make compromises and must learn how and when to take turns at speaking and listening. Health and social care settings use both formal and informal language. Formal communication is understood by a wide variety of people and also shows respect towards others. This type of communication normally consists of polite language which is either spoken in a calm tone or is spoken quite slow so the person does not feel rushed or panicked. An example of where formal communication is used in a health and social care setting would be doctors having a meeting about the line of work they will be carrying out or a meeting about a patient, they won’t talk in derogatory terms or use slang words, the doctors will be polite and informative so others understand and feel as comfortable as possible about the situation. Informal communication is often used when one knows the person well and is comfortable with them; an example is between friends and family. Sometimes informal communication involves local groups from specific places may have their own way of speaking, people who aren’t from this area or who are not associated with a group of people from that area will use different informal language, this can make it harder to understand the informal communication of people whom are from different social groups. A problem that can arise if informal communication is used incorrectly or ineffectively would be offending others that don’t use that certain type of language, for example in a health and social care setting, in a school staff would not speak to their colleagues in ‘slang’ or ‘swearing’ due to the setting they are in. Communication between colleagues often consists of verbal interactions along with others such as emails, text messages and letters. It is important to be polite and respectful when talking to other colleagues. If colleagues do not show respect to one another they may fail to show respect to the users of the service. Colleagues also have to develop trust in each other in order to show the respect they have for the confidentiality of the conversation and service users, even though communication between colleagues will often be informal, it is vital that care workers used skilled communication in order to gain trust and respect. An example of communication between colleagues in a health and social care setting would be when a nurse is talking to a doctor, in order for the nurse to gain respect and to be able to achieve a conversation without feeling uncomfortable and delivering information, she would need to be polite and not use any derogatory terms such as ‘swearing’ and should not talk to the doctor as if they were friends. Practitioners tend to communicate with their colleagues in their own specialised language community. A language community is a social community of people that has its own special ways of using language in order to communicate between group members. However due to the practitioners talking in this specific jargon they are aware that the language they use needs to be translated into an everyday language so they can communicate with those who use the service and people from other professions. It is important for the practitioners to change the type of language used to make sure that once they have explained it to a service user it is not misunderstood and taken in a way which can cause distress or complications, in order to avoid this the professional health and social care staff need to check their understanding of issues with the people who are communicating with them. Not only do health and social care professionals have to communicate with people who use their services but also with colleagues who work for different organisations so it is important not to assume that people from other agencies will understand what you are talking about when specialist terms are used. A common example of communication between a practitioner and a service user would be a doctor and patient, if the doctor explains something to the patient in terms they would use towards another doctor (jargon) it is highly unlikely that the patient would understand what the doctor is saying because they are probably using acronyms or certain words which the patient hasn’t been introduced to, therefore the doctor needs to adapt their language into terms which the patient would understand. It is also important for jargons to be changed to more simplistic language when communicating with service users because not only do they find it hard to understand but also those who speak a different first language will find it a lot harder and may need a translator or an even simpler form of the language. 3 left. Forms of communication There are many different forms of communication that are usually split into 6, for example: text messaging, written, oral, signing and symbols, touch, and technology. Oral communication is the process of expressing information or ideas by word of mouth. To be able to do this it require the development of skills and social coordination meaning; showing an interest, being interesting, and having the ability to start conversations and end them. An example of communicating orally in a health and social care setting would be to obtain information, when wanting to register at the dentist one has to give over details verbally to the receptionist for example, name, address and contact number. Communicating orally requires one to make a connection with the other person, a good way of allowing this to happen is by putting the person receiving information/ giving information at ease by showing an interest in them, doing this is especially important if somebody is from a different culture because it shows valuing diversity.
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