There are many different ways to communicate in the care setting and it is important that you use the right type of communication to match what the circumstances are. I will be using this essay to highlight the types of communication and when they should be used, for example, one to one communication, formal and informal, between colleagues, between professionals and people using services, multi-agency and multi-professional working.
One to communication can be difficult for both people involved, especially if you don’t know each other well, or if one person is in a higher position than you, as this can cause a power balance. You need to be assertive, but not in a way that can put the other person down. The first thing to do is to create a positive impression. A good way of doing this is by making a friendly gesture, like a hand shake and smiling, as this breaks the ice and then both parties should hopefully feel more relaxed, and able to carry out a positive and friendly conversation, whether it be a formal work conversation, or an informal chat with a friend, or a colleague.
The way you communicate with your work colleagues is extremely important, as you could be working with the same people for a long time and need to keep a positive atmosphere in the workplace, to help both the workers and the service users, as they the service users can pick up bad feelings and make them feel unsettled. There are many different forms of communication. Some are used in both formal and informal ways, such as text messaging. They are used informally between friends, but recently they are now used by health care settings, for example opticians, to send you a reminder message the day before an appointment.
This form of communication should never be used in a setting where confidential information is used, as text messaging is not a totally safe form of communication. The same goes with emailing. This may be a fast and reliable way to send and receive important information, but there is always a chance of having your files hacked. Passwords must be used to help keep confidentiality. Written communication should be used in formal situations, where important information is needed to be recorded.
This needs to be kept somewhere safe and secure. Oral communication is good for formal and informal settings, but you need to be careful where about the conversation takes place, as it can be easy to break confidentiality if the conversation is overheard. The same thing applies with sign language. If this is used in a public place, someone around you may know sign language, so this can be a confidentiality issue. Music and drama can be used in different social care settings. Drama and Music therapists are used to help people, such as children who have been abused and find it easier to communicate what happened to them through role play, mime, or movement.
These types of therapists can be used in conjunction with multi-agency working, for example, the police. If someone is on trial for abusing a child, the therapists use their skills to help the child to be able to speak about what happened, so it can be used in evidence in a court of law. Interpersonal interactions take place in many different ways. This can include speech, which like I included earlier on can be used in formal and informal contexts.
The circumstances can be very different though depending on whether or not you are communicating in your first language, or if you or the person you are communicating with speaks with a different accent or dialect, or uses slang that you find difficult to understand. Also in each care setting jargon may be used, which is basically a way in which professional talk to each other that they understand, but others outside of that setting may not. An example of this is doctors using the term “SATS”, which is the blood saturation level, or BP, which is blood pressure.
Along with verbal communication, a large majority of the way in which we communicate is actually non-verbal, with 55% of how we communicate actually being done by body language. In some formal or informal situations, the use of reflective listening is very important.
A formal example would be a psychiatrist listening to a patient explaining what has been going on with them, or informally a friend listening to another friend’s problems. Sometimes I feel that listening can be the best form of communication that someone can use, as formally or informally, it makes the other person they are listening to feel like they care and can build trust between them.
For those who are deaf the use of non-verbal communication is their main method of communicating with others. As well as the use of British sign language, known as Makaton, they communicate with facial expression, finger spelling, or even the use of signs and symbols. The use of touch can be used, but in formal situations there is the matter of professional boundaries.
When communicating with someone who is deaf, or blind, it is important that the right aids to communication are readily available, to cater to their specific needs. For example in a hospital, with a patient who is deaf, an interpreter should be used, and the use of braille for a blind patient. The uses of these aids are to break any barriers to communication.