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Interpersonal interactions in health and social care Essay

In health and social care we use many various methods of communication and interpersonal interaction to communicate effectively in various environments. These methods can be influenced by many factors which may interfere with how the information we have communicated is transmitted such as language needs, self-esteem, proximity and sensory impairment. In my essay I am going to explain how sensory impairment and language needs may influence effective communication and interpersonal interactions in health and social care environments. The term sensory impairment encompasses visual loss, which also includes blindness and partial sight, hearing loss and multi-sensory impairment (Shaw Trust, 2014). I will now explain how sensory impairment may influence the way we effectively communicate and interpersonally interact within health and social care using Argyle’s communication cycle. The communication cycle is arranged into 5 stages, Argyle(1972) believed that communicating interpersonally was a skill that could be developed, much similar to learning to drive.

In the first stage of the communication cycle Argyle states that ideas occur. An example of this stage of the cycle would be a doctor recalling the information they wish to communicate to a patient who suffers from multi-sensory impairment with complete loss of hearing and sight. The Department of Health defines individuals suffering from multi-sensory impairment if their combined sight and hearing impairment cause difficulties with communication, access to information and mobility (Action on Hearing Loss, 2011). During the second stage of the cycle the message that is being communicated is coded, during this stage a doctor would decide how to communicate their message towards their patient.

In order to communicate effectively the doctor must take into consideration which method of communication fits the patients needs such as British sign language, visual sign framing or tactile signing. In the third stage of the communication cycle the message is sent, during this stage the doctor has now communicated their message to the patient , however the doctor has communicated his message using British Sign Language instead of tactile signing. In the fourth stage of the cycle the message is received by the patient, during this stage the patient should have successfully received the information that the doctor has communicated to them however the patient has not received the message as she has lost a complete loss of sight and therefore cannot visually see the signs the doctor is signing.

During the fifth and final stage the message is decoded, Agyle theory suggests that during this stage the information has now been received and understood and the cycle will now repeat. This stage of the cycle is dependant on if the person delivering the message has used the correct and appropriate form of communication based on the individuals needs and the circumstances, however this is where the communication cycle has been unsuccessful due to the wrong choice of method of communication. Another common factor which may influence the way we effectively communicate and interact with people within health and social care is the language needs of the individuals. The language needs of an individual will be based upon many factors, a common language need may include an individual who speaks English as a 2nd language moving to the United Kingdom, the needs of the individual such as the use of an interpreter will depend on how fluent the individual is in speaking English. Using Tuckman’s theory of group formation I will explain how language needs can affect the way we effectively communicate and interpersonally interact in health and social care environments.

Tuckmans theory of group formation is arranged into 4 stages, these stages are known as forming, storming, norming and performing. During the forming stage, the group of people are just getting to know each other, for example in relation to health and social care, this would be the stage where a group of newly employed student nurses meet the team they will be working with. During the storming stage, Tuckman (1965) explains how the group of people are unclear about each-others roles within the group and the aims of working together, this is the stage where the newly formed group of student nurses would be trying to communicate verbally and non-verbally with each other in order to discover their roles, strengths and weaknesses within the group. During this stage, the group of individuals would be asking questions about each other and assessing their roles within the group. Thirdly is the norming stage, during this stage the group of people develop a shared understanding of what each-others roles are and share a common aim, during this stage one individual in the team approaches the others and tells them he is a foreign exchange student and has only been speaking English for the past 5 years, therefore he is still trying to understand the different dialects around him.

The student nurses may begin to ask and discuss with the individual about the extent of his knowledge in speaking English. During this stage the individuals will also understand and be able to identify areas of weakness in speaking English and be able to adapt their methods of communicating with the individual in order to meet these needs. Any specific language needs of an individual should be met immediately when communicating in order to progress through to the final stage of Tuckman’s theory, the performing stage. During this stage the group of individuals are now working together effectively as a team, for example during this stage the student nurses are now able to meet the language needs of the foreign exchange student and can continue to work as a progressive team.

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