Communication is used for giving information, obtaining information and exchanging ideas between two or more individuals. To make communication effective you must do more than simply pass on the information, it means involving and engaging the other person or people. An example of effective communication in relation to health and social care would be in a counselling session. A support worker would say ‘Marcus, what would like to achieve from this session today?’ The individual who is using the service listens to the care worker and responds in the appropriate way. For example, ‘I would like to learn some alternatives of coping with my addiction.’ Effective communication must be clear, accurate and legible. Without these 3 rules information would deem inaccurate.
Inaccuracies could result in inappropriate actions such as the fail to act. It could also result in complaints and litigation. This is extremely important in written communication as many documents in written communication are kept as evidence. In many settings the communication policy will lay down that all written communication must be shown to the manager before it is passed on, this is to make sure it is accurate. For example, in a situation where a doctor and a nurse are caring for a patient, the nurse will have to write what procedure the patient needs to undertake. If the nurse writes down the wrong information to the doctor the patient could receive the wrong procedure, wrong medications, and/or the wrong after care which could lead to the patient’s death.
Another example of miscommunication could be at a primary school. Let’s say Jane fell over in the playground and hit her head on the climbing apparatus, the school nurse must write down all the correct information including the time of the incident, the effects of the incident and how she handled it. If Jane started to feel dizzy later on that day at home and then had to go hospital, the primary school would’ve had all the information on her previous injuries. If the school nurse had written down the wrong information such as the wrong effects of the incident Jane might have to go into further examinations to try and solve the problem. If this inaccuracy is pointed out the school nurse may have a warning or actually lose her job. This shows that inaccurate communication could lead to serious issues with the patient and the health care worker.
In health and social care effective communication is important as they communicate and interact with people daily, it also enables the service users to feel relaxed and talk openly as it builds a trusted and positive relationship. It is also important as it allows staff to work inclusively with people of different ages, abilities and backgrounds and to respond appropriately to the variety of problems and individual needs.
There are two main contexts of communication, being one-to-one communication and group interaction. One-to-one communication would be between two people such as a general practitioner and a patient. One-to-one communication examples would include talking on a telephone, support or supervision lessons, assessing service users’ needs and sending emails. To make sure one-to-one communication is effective both parties must be relaxed and are able to take turns at talking and listening. There are three phases for effective one-to-one communication being a good start, a focus and a positive ending. For example, a social worker would say to a patient ‘Hello Darling, how are you today?’ this is a friendly and inviting way to start a conversation. They would then focus on the issue brought up ‘I want to learn to be able to control my urges.’ The end of the conversation must leave the patient feeling positive. Therefore the end of the conversation