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Communications In Health And Social Care Organizations Nursing Essay

Info: 2390 words (10 pages) Essay
Published: 1st Jan 2015 in Nursing

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You arrive 20 minutes early for your appointment for a skin problem and realize you have to wait 40 minutes in the waiting room before a nurse came to see you. Finally the doctor arrived briefly and asked you only a few questions before calling in the nurse to give you a prescription for some antibiotics. You felt the doctor did not spend much time with you as you would have wished. You did not get to ask the doctor for a note for your boss verifying that you are sick. You may have left the doctors office feeling unsatisfied with the visit because you were still uncertain about what could have been the cause of your skin problem. Negative experiences such as these, with your healthcare providers are often due to various communication problems that usually occur within healthcare settings.


Communication is the action of passing on information through the exchange of thoughts, messages or information, as by speech visuals, signals, writing or behaviour.

Communication needs a sender, a message and a receiver. Although the receiver may not be present or aware of the sender’s intent to communicate at the time of communication this communication can take place across vast distances in time and space. Communication requires that the communicating parties share an area of communicative commonality. The communication process is complete once the receiver has understood the message of the sender.

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Effective Communication

Effective Communication takes place when a desired effect is the result of intentional or unintentional information sharing, which is interpreted between people and acted on in a preferred way. This effect also makes sure the message is not distorted during the communication process. Effective communication should produce the desired effect and maintain the effect, with the potential to increase the effect of the message.

Effective communication serves a purpose for which it was planned or designed. Purposes might be to elicit change, generate action, create understanding, inform or communicate a certain idea or point of view. When the desired effect is not achieved factors such as barriers to communicate are explored with the intention being to discover how the communication has been ineffective.

Learning Outcome 1:

LO1: Be ale to explore how communication skills are used in health and social care.

1.1: Apply relevant theories of communication to health and social care contexts.

1.2: Use communication skills in a health and social care context.

1.3: Review methods of dealing with inappropriate interpersonal communication between individuals in health and social care settings.

1.4: Analyse the use of strategies to support users of health and social car services with specific communication needs.

Communication is vital in a healthcare and social care setting. The patient and the healthcare professional need to understand each other clearly in order for the patient to receive the best possible care. Providing care to a patient is next to impossible if the patient’s needs cannot be clearly stated. Communication eases anxiety of the patient, eliminates more possibilities for mistakes, and lets each party know what is expected of them.

There are three different types of theories that could be related to the case study the first being the cognitive theory.

The cognitive theory is a learning theory of psychology that attempts to explain human behaviour by understanding the thought processes. Humans are reasonable beings that make the choices that make the most sense to them. Bruner was a theorist that believed that anybody can learn anything at any age provided it is stated in terms they can understand. The doctor should have learned that he must be more considerate towards patients that come into the hospital so that the patient was made to feel comfortable enough to address any issues that she was having and to even gain more of an understanding of how the skin problems had happened in the first place. The doctor should not have felt as though the choice of just telling the nurse to give the patient antibiotics was enough. (1.1)

Behaviourist Theory, the behaviourist traditionally worked in the area of learning. Watson argued that we come into the world as a ‘tabula rasa’ that is a blank slate, and that everything we become is because of our learning experiences in our environment. In the case of the patient she went into the hospital with a skin problem she was not given any information on what has caused the skin problems but she was very considerate by having to wait so long to be seen and trusted that the doctor was going to give her some positive feedback at the very least, because of the doctors direct cognitive behaviour she left the hospital feeling unsatisfied. (1.1)

Social Learning Theory grew out of Cognitivism, A. Bandura 1973 it is known that learning takes place through observation and sensorial experiences. Generally when we learn we are quite systematic we usually follow the order of things as we were taught them. The nurse was in this case taught to listen to the doctor and had done exactly what was asked of her she may not have been qualified to give the patient any advice on the skin problems or been given sufficient information to give to the patient about the skin problems. The nurse may have observed the way that the doctor had dealt with the patient and continued to communicate with patient just as ordered by the doctor. (1.1)

From looking at the case study background information Scenario 1: Hospital appointment I have come to realise that the doctor uses direct communication skills. (1.2) The doctor does this by getting straight to the bottom line. He only asked the patient a few questions before calling the nurse to give the patient the prescription for some antibiotics. The doctor did not spend much time with the patient and the patient did not get to voice any concerns or get the opportunity to ask the doctor for a sick note which she had needed to present to her boss at work. (1.2, 1.3)

The reasons why the doctor may have used a direct approach could have been because he didn’t have much time to spend with the patient as it could have been a busy day at the surgery wit even maybe not enough staff, it could have also been because the receptionist may not have given the right or enough information about the patient and the patient requirements.

The patient seems to be using considerate communication skills (1.2) she listens well and builds trust with the doctor although she is unsatisfied with her visit to the hospital. She arrived twenty minutes early for her appointment for a skin problem, and then had to wait another forty minutes before she was able to be seen by the nurse. She didn’t get to voice any concerns and never got to ask for a doctor’s note. The patient didn’t get to find out what could have caused the skin problems and overall had a negative experience. (1.2, 1.3)

Because the doctor had such a direct approach the patient may have felt embarrassed or not confident enough to ask the doctor questions about the skin problems as she may have felt shut down by the approach of the doctor.

In the case study it shows that the nurse used a systematic type of communication skill (1.2) which could have caused the setting at the time to feel quite tense. The nurse was called by the doctor to give the patient a prescription for antibiotics and this was exactly what the nurse had done. (1.2, 1.3)

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The patient still didn’t feel as though she could have asked the nurse anything about her skin problems especially as the doctor had already left the room. The nurse had only been instructed to give the prescription and may not have been given any more relevant nor sufficient information tom give to the patient. Instead of trying to do any further research for the patient or asking the patient if she was satisfied with her visit she just followed the instruction that was given to her by the doctor.

Interpersonal communication is as type of communication that usually describes participants that are dependant on each other it can involve one on one conversation or individuals interacting with many people within a society. It helps us understand how and why people behave and communicate in different ways to construct and negotiate asocial reality. While interpersonal communication can be defined as its own area of study, it also occurs within other contexts like groups and organizations. Interpersonal communication is the process that we use to communicate our ideas, thoughts, and feelings to another person. Our interpersonal communication skills are learned behaviours that can be improved through knowledge, practice, feedback, and reflection.

Overall I think that there is a lot of the ways the doctor, the patient, the nurse and the receptionist in this scenario could have communicated better. I think it would have all started with the patient. If she had made the receptionist aware of the fact that she was not happy with the service she was receiving from the time she had reached for her appointment and she had been waiting an extra forty minutes for her appointment after she was twenty minutes early. The patient should have informed the receptionist that she was unhappy about the delay and when getting seen by the doctor she should have felt comfortable enough to say it to the doctor as no apology was being made about the inconvenience of time that she had to wait. When the patient had heard the doctor instruct the nurse to give her the prescription she should have made the doctor aware that she was still a little worried about what had caused the skin problems and any other questions she had relating to this. The patient should have also felt as though she could ask the doctor for a sick note as she knew that verification of her sickness would be needed for her boss. I feel as though the patient should have at least been made to feel comfortable to stress any underlying issues’ that she may have had and that the doctor should have been more considerate towards the patient rather than being so direct. (1.4)

Case study/Background Info

Background Info- Part 2

Scenario 2:

You have visited your local dental surgery for examinations as you have been experiencing dental problems lately. The receptionist enquired reasons for attending and he spoke out loud that other patients waiting heard the conversation. You told the receptionist that you would discuss the reasons with only a female doctor.

He asked you to use the computer screen in the waiting area to notify your arrival. You told the receptionist about your difficulties in understanding the English language and operating the computer screen. You felt the receptionist did not listen to you and that he was not concerned about your difficulties.

Learning Outcome 2:

2.1: Explain how the communication process is influenced by values and cultural factors.

2.2: Explain how legislation, charters and codes of practice impact on the communication process in health and social care.

2.3: Analyse the effectiveness of organisational systems and policies in promoting good practice in communication.

2.4: Suggest ways of improving the communication process in a health and social care setting.

The relationship between communication and culture is a very complex and intimate one. ‘ fist cultures are created through communication; that is communication is the means of human interaction through which cultural characteristics- whether customs, rules, rituals, laws or other patterns are created and shared. Individuals do not necessarily set out to create a culture when they interact in organizations. Cultures are a natural by product of social interaction.

People learn the values, customs and norms of their culture through communication as they grow up and assimilate these unique factors within their language as a cultural value. Therefore the cultural values are embedded in the way people speak perceive and interpret the world.

When referring to the Case Study Info Part 2- the patient told the receptionist that she had difficulties in understanding the English language and operating the computer screen, the receptionist didn’t seem as though he was listening and didn’t sow any concern o understanding the difficulties the patient was having. The language disparity can be a significant barrier to communication and subsequently can have a huge effect in any health and social organization. It is important to look at these and concentrate on the client during the communication process, active listening is crucial, speak slowly and paraphrase, keep verbiage simple. Avoid unnecessary words. In the case of the scenario the receptionist didn’t do any of these things, the patient was left to feel disappointed with the encounter she had with the receptionist. In the case of this it shows that the service provider being the receptionist had low- context cultural values as he did not show any interest in the patients needs.

In order to prevent having any misunderstanding, cultural diversity should be understood and accepted. This is about acknowledging and respecting rights towards different views and opinions to achieve social cohesion and harmony (Rasheed et al., 2010p.24) the participants of communication who have different backgrounds should attempt to gain cultural sensitivity and knowledge, consider preferred communication style of others and clarify the contents of messages in the information exchange.

Case study/Background Info

Background Info- Part 3

Scenario 3:

Learning Outcome 3:

3.1: Access and use standard ICT software packages to support work in health and social care.

3.2: Analyse the benefits of using ICT in health and social care for uses of services, care workers and care organizations.

3.3: Analyse how legal considerations in the use of ICT impact on health and social care.


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