For the last five years, I have been working in the capacity of senior staff nurse in a rehabilitation unit for patients suffering from various forms of mental health conditions. When the ward manager offered me the opportunity to attend a course focusing on management skills, I had mixed feelings. I was pleased to realise that my manager had confidence in me to participate; However, I felt that this would be a challenge. At the same time, I was apprehensive; would I be able to fulfil her expectations? Especially as this course was designed for charge nurses who are expected to take a managerial role.
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Boud et al (1985) wrote about reflection being a form of response of the learner to experience. Johns (2000) stated through the conflict contradiction, the commitment to realise desirable work and understanding why things are as they are, the practitioner is more empowered to take more appropriate action in the future. From a reflective perspective of my practice, I undertook this study because I wanted to develop my role and felt it would be a good opportunity for me to apply the knowledge gained into my clinical practice.
Effective resource management in the health care is paramount as without resources, there would be no health services. Various and appropriate resources are required to function and support the delivery of healthcare.
In a practice setting, there is the human resources and non human resources. Human resources are staffâ€™s clinical knowledge, their skills and time. This refers to all categories of the workforce within the health care setting. It includes nursing, medical, management, domestic, Occupational therapist, administrators, patients, etc.. Therefore, this includes the skill mix of staff, recruitment and retention. Non human resources are buildings, medication, equipment methods and money.
Methods as resources include clinical procedures, policies and training.
For money, the resources include the cost of maintaining buildings, equipment, recruiting staff and their salaries and day today running of wards, etc.
These resources should be utilized effectively in order to achieve targets at minimal financial cost, in the minimum amount of time and to a high standard.
Learning about workforce planning gave me a greater understanding of assessing how many, and what type of staff required, identifying how these staffs will be supplied and deciding how a balance between demand and supply can be achieved. Workforce planning in the NHS is a challenging but an important process. More effective the workforce is ensuring better service for service users.
During our study lessons, we have had plenty of opportunities to participate in group work. Within an establishment / ward situation it is important to complete the decision making process as a team. Members should realise if they are to discuss an issue, find possible answers to an issue or make recommendations in order for implementation. There must be an open forum for discussion. Given the above, there is less chance members will waste time dealing with issues beyond their responsibility. Commitment to the decision is important as this will increase the commitment to implementation of the decision. Some of the advantages of group decision making are it allows attempts to persuade and influence others, which could result in achieving high quality results. Because of participants wider knowledge, experience and data collection it could produce more possible solutions. People are more committed to implement what has been discussed and planned if they are included in the discussion and the decision making process. Sharing ideas, opinions and options increase the understanding of the situation and commitment to the decision. In group discussions there is opportunity to learn from the other members. The advantage is there can be a tendency for more dominate member to take over and influence others. However, a few of the participants may attempt to appear superior and dominate the group. Especially when there are strong personalities among the group members. Respect differences of opinion (Brounstein,2003; Payne,2001). Also, group members may become more interested in winning rather than investing the best possible option. I have experienced advantages as well as disadvantages during our group work sessions. It felt warm and satisfying to be a part of a group which ensures that everyone has an opportunity to be heard respecting everyoneâ€™s idea and values. It was tense and uncomfortable when there are dominators and aggressors; they were interrupting others wanting only their ideas to be heard. There are numerous methods by which a group can interact, these be introduced to prevent the discussions being dominated.
I have also experienced differences in ideas, which led to feelings of a frustration and an unfriendly atmosphere. When you have a group that works well together as a team, negotiating will become more effective.
We should make sure that our negotiations are done in such a way that it flows. The aim is to find an outcome that’s acceptable to both parties. To achive this, we need skills such as: Listening, Questioning, reasoning and accepting. There are many ways to show that you are listening to someone. These involve two sets of skills. Non verbal, which relate to what you do and verbal relates to what you say. Non verbal methods include giving the person eye contact, nodding and not looking at your watch or yawning. Verbal ways include letting someone finish what they are saying, and thinking about what they have said rather than about what you are going to say next and responding to their comments.
In any negotiation situation, it is important that you should feel comfortable about questioning anything you are unsure of or not happy with.
There is no point in taking up a hard and fast position when you go into a negotiating situation. When this happens, both side retreat into their corners, and it becomes difficult to reason. You must be prepared to make some minor adjustments and compromises, as will your negotiating partner to reach a suitable outcome.
At the end of a successful negotiation, you should both feel satisfied that you have reached an acceptable decision. You should also both have had an opportunity to express your views, ask questions and work out a reasonable agreement. If one party cannot accept the position, the negotiation should continue.
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I have also learnt and experienced how important it is to have bargaining skills when you are negotiating between two groups. During our negotiating exercise what we failed to do was to discuss between team members our strongest and weakest arguments and planning the sequences of our arguments. I believe the negotiation process can be summarised as a trading game. There is one way to play the game. That is to trade what we have with what we want.
Through this study course, I was expected to learn various topics such as finance/workforce scheduling, report writing/negotiating skills, Recruitment and selection, interview skills, etc. Each lesson I attended was crammed with information.
There were a number of skills I learned as part of my coursework, but in addition I learned a lot by going through the process. Reading relevant books and discussing these with my fellow classmates broaden my knowledge and interest in each topic. Looking at sample essays made me realise writing a report requires logical thinking and planning in order to organise oneâ€™s ideas carefully and express them accurately. This was a valuable exercise as we write reports daily in our work area.
I could use my new found knowledge and skills at work. The day after I learned about negotiating skills, a situation arose at work where the new information I learned assisted me in tackling the situation confidently.
The course also helped me to improve my supervision skills in leading the junior members of the team.
Many of the lesions stressed group work. This allowed me to work in a team setting confidently and expand my team building skills.
I highly value the skills and lessons I have learned from attending this course and would recommend the program to anyone who wants to expand their knowledge and skills.
Boud D, Keogh R, Walker D (eds.) (1985) Reflection , turning experience into learning. London. Cogan Page.
Brounstein,2003;payne,2001 Nursing Management and Leadership. Ann Marriner Tomer
Johns C (2000) Becoming a reflective practitioner. Oxford: Blackwell
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