Communication is the transfer of information between two or more participants to receive a common understanding. This information can be transferred through verbal, non-verbal, written, spoken, informal and formal communication.
Communication helps build relationships in the health and social care sector with service users, patients and colleagues whether it be professional or personal. It involves concentrating on all patients/service users and creating a mutual understanding.
Good relationships with your service users/patients are a key element in helping them through whatever the cause of their assistance.
“Good relationships improve all aspects of your life, strengthening your health, your mind, and your connections with others.” http://www.helpguide.org/mental/improve_relationships.htm Importance of Effective Communication in Health and Social Care
Job roles in the health and social care sector will require you to help people through different situations and provide them with some form of care. Communication is a vital skill that will need to be developed efficiently in order for the service user/patient to feel comfortable enough to open up.
“Nurses and nursing staff are at the heart of the communication process: they assess, record and report on treatment and care, handle information sensitively and confidentially, deal with complaints effectively, and are conscientious in reporting the things they are concerned about.” (http://www.rcn.org.uk/development/practice/principles/principle_e)
Effective communication can build trust between 2 communicators as it conveys good listening skills and shows that all participants are interested in what everyone has to say. This will give people a sense of security as they will begin to trust the people they are speaking to and feel reassured that anything they say is confidential. This is essential in this field of work as you will be trusted with confidential information on many people and without trust, patients may feel afraid to come forward about all their problems and may withhold vital information in fear that it may be repeated to family members or friends.
The needs of the service user may also be met in a more acceptable manner if the communication between everybody is efficient. If you have been told what the specific needs of the service user and the communication was bad then errors may occur, causing the service user problems. These misunderstandings can be a common occurrence if communication between all colleagues is not good.
How to be an Efficient Communicator
To have strong communication skills you are required to be understanding and non judgemental. If a service user feels as though you are judging them on what they are telling you they will immediately become wary of what they tell you. This can cause problems as you won’t fully understand their problems and therefore may think that there is nothing wrong with them or misdiagnose them.
Strong listening skills are always essential to have as listening to the user may give them a sense of assurance and make then feel trusting of you. Having someone to speak to openly to is important for the user for you to completely understand their issues.
Gaining a sense of trust with the service user is essential so the user can feel safe to speak openly to the worker and understand that whatever they say is held confidentially and won’t be repeated to anyone. This can help the user feel more secure in the workers presence.
Formal and Informal Communication
Formal communication is when people communicate is a professional and business like way. This can occur when you are speaking to someone in a formal interview, a business conference or a disciplinary hearing.
Informal communication is when you can casually speak to a person using colloquial language or personal references. This will usually only occur when speaking to someone you know and are comfortable with. This can be in