strategies used to overcome barriers to communication

Task 2- P4, M2 & D1 Strategies Used to Overcome Barriers to Communication P4 Pick two examples from placement experience that may have been mentioned in the first task. Examples should deal with situations where you or another worker were faced with barriers to effective communication. Explain the strategy used to overcome the barriers met. A strategy is a plan of how things are intended to be done. You may not have done what was intended to the full.

Explain your intentions as well as what actually happened in practice and state whether the strategy was effective or not effective. Example 1: One-to-one interaction A one-to-one interaction I observed occurred at a Rehabilitation Hospital between a podiatrist and a woman who had a hearing impairment. The podiatrist said “good morning”, introduced herself and told the service user that she was there to trim her toe nails and check her feet. The podiatrist was unaware of the woman’s hearing impairment.

The service user used Sign Language but the podiatrist did not know how to communicate in Sign Language. So the podiatrist stood closer to the patient to make sure the patient could see her face and she made a gesture to indicate the feet and repeated slowly what she had said and the patient nodded to show she had understood. The podiatrist’s intention was to ask some questions to the patient regarding her medical history so she wrote down and the patient replied in writing.

The podiatrist asked the nurses if there was someone who knew Sign Language but no one could help her. She then asked the patient if any of her visitors or relatives could help if she came the day after. They agreed that the podologist would attend the day after when the woman’s son would be there and he would serve as an interpreter. The barrier present in this scenario is associated with sensory impairment.

Because the service user had a hearing impairment she was not able to receive the verbal messages being sent by the podologist. To overcome the barrier the podologist asked the patient in writing how she would prefer to communicate and what aids she needed; she adapted her own communication approach and skills to meet the particular needs of the service user by standing closer so that the patient could lip read and by using written form of communication; and using the woman’s son as an interpreter and signer.

Ideally it would have been practical if the podiatrist knew how to communicate using Sign Language or if the hospital provided a signer/ interpreter so that the patient would receive the treatment she needed that day and not the day after and also to avoid misunderstanding. The strategy used was to a certain extent effective because the podologist’s and the service user’s messages were understood. Example 2: Group interaction I observed a group interaction that involved a team of professionals from occupational therapy, physiotherapy, speech language therapy, a consultant and a nurse who were discussing a patient’s diagnosis and treatment.

They met in a small office which did not have enough space and chairs for everyone and the air conditioning was not functioning. The members of the group were feeling hot and cramped and were talking all at once which generated a lot of noise and no one could hear what others were saying. Some were seated while others were standing which meant that some of the members could not see other. The consultant tried to find another room where they could meet but none was available. The nurse opened the window so that some fresh air could come in.

Some members kept talking with each other and the consultant repeatedly asked them to stop. Ideally the meeting would have taken place in a room where everyone was seated comfortably, where everyone could see each other well and where there was air conditioning. The meeting was postponed. The strategies used were not effective. M2. Review strategies used in the above mentioned situations where a barrier was met. Your review should include: • Strengths and weaknesses of the interactions and communication practices you used; • Comparison of theories of communication

One-to-one interaction: A strength of the interaction was the fact that the podiatrist stood close to the patient so that the patient could lip read and she made eye contact with the patient. This helped to make communication more effective. Another strength was the fact that the podiatrist used questioning in the written form to obtain information about the patient’s preferred communication method. The podiatrist overcame the barrier by being aware of possible olutions and adapting her interaction approach and communication skills to take into account the barrier present due to the patient’s hearing impairment. However, the interaction reflected some weaknesses. The podiatrist’s lack of knowledge of Sign Language made the interaction less effective because of the fact that the podiatrist could not interact with the patient in her preferred language i. e. , Sign Language. This made the patient feel confused and fearful because she could not understand exactly what the role of the podiatrist was and what procedures she was going to perform.

The podiatrist wanted to explain the procedures but found it difficult to explain technical jargon in the situation. Effective communication involves effort from both the sender and the recipient of a message. Getting a message across and correctly interpreting the messages communicated are very important to effective communication. However, communication isn’t always effective as the receiver can easily misinterpret messages. Problems can occur at every stage of the communication cycle.

In this scenario the problem occurred because the message was not heard by the patient and because it was in the wrong preferred language. Care professionals can minimise these problems with clear, concise and well-planned communications and through the effective use of their interaction skills. Group interaction: A strength seen in strategies used in the interaction is the fact that the consultant tried to take the role of the leader of the group and he tried to make eye contact and see the body language and facial expressions of others.

The fact that the nurse opened a window was a positive factor. The interaction also showed weaknesses because some of the participants did not face each other and could not see each other’s gestures, facial expressions and non verbal communication. Another weakness was the participants’ lack of active listening and lack of turn taking. Most of the members of the group spoke at the same time making communication ineffective. Their messages were not being heard and understood. They showed lack of patience and tolerance and the situation is one of conflict.

This indicates that the group is at the storming stage of Tuckman’s group formation theory. D1. Evaluate the strategies used in the two situations discussed above to overcome barriers to effective communication. Your evaluation should include: • Was the strategy effective or not to overcome barriers? • Why was it effective or not effective- what could be improved? • What feedback did you receive or what observations did you make that showed you the effectiveness or non- effectiveness of your strategy (how did you reach this conclusion)? One-to-one interaction:

The strategy of communicating in writing, standing close to the patient so that she could lip read and using the patient’s son as a signer/ interpreter was effective in overcoming the barrier related to the impairment. Interpreters and signers act as intermediaries in the communication cycle. They receive messages in one language (spoken or signed) and pass it on in another language, ensuring that people who speak or use different languages can communicate with each other. It was effective because the message the podiatrist wanted to convey was understood and the patient’s needs were tended to.

However the situation could have been improved if the podiatrist knew how to communicate using Sign Language or if the hospital would have provided the services of a signer/ interpreter. Had there been an aid to communication, the patient would have received the appropriate treatment on that same day. The case was not an emergency therefore the patient could wait for another day to have the podiatrist’s service. Having had an aid available would also have saved time and the podiatrist could have attended to another patient the next day.

The feedback received was in the form of non-verbal communication. The patient smiled and showed that she appreciated the fact that the podiatrist was willing to visit her the next day when her son would be there. This made the patient feel valued and that her individual care needs were being met. Group interaction: The strategy of trying to find another room, opening the window and the consultant taking the role of the leader was not effective to overcome the barrier associated with the environment. It was ineffective because the arrier was not overcome. The purpose of the meeting was not reached because the discussion regarding the treatment and diagnosis of the patient’s pathology was not held. There could have been improvement in the choice of room. A bigger air conditioned room would have been a better alternative. Being seated in a comfortable chair in a circular position would have improved the effectiveness of communication. Taking turns when speaking would have improved the interaction. The feedback observed was both in verbal and non- verbal communication.

The participants looked frustrated and kept complaining about the waste of time and the stuffiness of the room. The fact that the meeting was postponed shows that the strategies used were ineffective. References Argyle, Michael. (1967)The psychology of interpersonal behaviour , Penguin Bales, R. F. ‘The equilibrium problem in small groups’ in A. P. Hare, E. F. Borgatta and R. F. Bales (eds. ) Small Groups: Studies in social interaction, New York: Knopf. 1965. Hybels, Saundra and Weaver, Richard L. ( 2001) Communicating Effectively 6th. Edition Mc Graw Hill Priest H, Sawyer A, Roberts P, Rhodes S. (2005). A survey of interprofessional education in communication skills in health care programmes in the UK’, Journal of Interprofessional Care, 19(3), 236-250. cited from http://www. cot. co. uk Stretch Beryl and Whitehouse Mary (2010) Health and Social Care Book 1 BTEC National Level 3. Edexel Pearson Education The Hospital and Health Service Performance Division, Victorian Government Department of Health, Melbourne, Victoria. July 2010. Promoting effective communication among healthcare professionals to improve patient safety and quality of care. Cited from http://www. health. vic. gov. au/quality council

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