Developing effective communication in health and social care

In this essay I will be explaining how I use good communication and interpersonal interactions with the residents I will meet on my work experience at a residential home for older people. I will be explaining the skills and strategies I will use to make communication making sure it is effective. My essay will talk about different types of communication for example one to one, with different types of people, including professionals and service users. I will use communication with a variety of people and consider the most appropriate form of communication to be applied making sure the needs of all individuals are met.

I will also explain and discuss Argyle’s communication cycle and Tuchman’s group process theory and apply these to my essay in relation to effective communication. My essay will also include an assessment of the skills and strategies used in communication and how they relate to the different theories. Communication is when you swap over information by speaking, writing, or using other methods making sure the communication is received and understood.

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Interpersonal interaction or communication is the process of sending and receiving information between people, using a two way process of communication.

Read more: Reasons why we communicate essay

The ways individuals communicate with others depend on the situation or the context you are in. There are many types of communication; there is spoken communication like one to one and oral communication with groups of people which is also known as interpersonal interaction. However communicating isn’t always spoken, many people communicate by unspoken communication using facial expressions or sign language.

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Email, texting and writing are also forms of communication. The formality of our communication can change depending on the context of it.

For instance, if you are talking to your friends it will be informal and you will probably use slang. However when talking to a professional like a GP you might talk in your own dialect and it can be informal but the GP is more likely to respond formally, they may also talk in Jargon. When communicating it needs to be effective, effective communication means that when communication we make sure the person can understand and receive the information we are giving. We need to also make sure it is appropriate and clear, communication must achieve an nderstanding and meet the service users needs otherwise it has no purpose. This relates to Argyles communication cycle. Argyle said that effective communication is a two way process, to make the communication effective the person you are communicating with needs to be able to understand the message and decoded it. If the individual cannot do this the communication is not effective. Communication needs to be clear and formal without using slang or jargon, this will enable the receiver to understand the information and then the message is understood and the cycle can continue.

Argyle argued that communication was a two way process and it is a cycle because when two people are communication they need to be able to understand what is being said otherwise the communication is not effective and has no point. Argyles cycle has 6 stages, the first stage is idea; you have an idea in your head that you would like to communicate with other people. The second stage is coding where you think through what you are going to say and make it understandable to the receiver. The third stage is sending the message, you communicate with the receiver either by speaking, writing or in another way.

The fourth stage is receiving; the other person receives your message and hears or sees what you say. The fifth stage is when the message is decoded, this is when the person decodes your message and understands what you say. At this point in the cycle if the person cannot understand the message then the cycle stops the communication is not effective. For example when on placement if communicating with a person with dementia, they might not understand you or what you are saying to them. They might become forgetful and feel lost this is when the communication cycle is not effective as the person will have no idea what you are on about.

To overcome this I will need find another way of communicating with the resident or find a carer that knows what to do and how to cope in these situations. There are many barriers and reasons on why the communication is not effective, one of these being disabilities. Disabilities are a big barrier within communication this is when you need to change the way you communicate to meet the needs of the service user. The service user in the home could be deaf; if he/she is deaf it is pointless speaking to the person as they won’t understand you. There is no point in raising your voice or speaking clearer to try and make the person understand.

You will need to change the way you communicate sign language is a way you can communicate with the person. Deaf people have no problem talking with people who also communicate by BSL. So when in the home if a person is deaf and you cannot communicate with them as you don't sign find someone that does. Residents in the home might also have sensory impairments meaning they might not be able to see, this is when we would use Braille to communicate. Language is also a barrier to communication, if one of the people in the home speaks French you will need to speak French back.

You cannot communicate with someone of another language if you don't know the language yourself. So you will need to either learn the language or find an interpreter. Culture can also cause communication barriers, some cultures are not allowed to look people in the eye, and they can’t give eye contact or be within a certain amount of space to someone. This means that if someone was 2 arms lengths away from you there is no point talking to them as they won’t be able to understand them, you would either have to write what you want to say down or in the form of a text/email.

There are many more barriers to communication that we face daily; you will need to have an idea of what people will be expecting and how they will be expecting to speak when you open your mouth. Another communication theory is Tuckman’s stages of group interaction. Tuckman believed that communication in groups is influenced by the degree in which people feel they belong together. He believed that when people first meet the go through a process involving 4 stages, these being: forming, storming, norming and performing.

The first stage is when the group meet for the first time and exchange information, the second stage is further on in the relationship when there is tension in the group causing arguments about the way in which the group may function or act. The third stage of the process is when the group are norming at this point the group are coming together and trying to agree on their group values and beliefs. After this stage everyone will begin to perform effectively as a group. For instance the service users in the residential home might be at the stage or storming/norming.

This could be because I will be a new person in the home replacing one of the carers that has been there for many years, the service users might feel very nervous and scared, there might be tension in the group because of this and they might be norming over the carer that left. Tuckman’s theory can help to build relationships with the people in the home and make the communication more effective because it is broken down in stages. This makes it easier to build a relationship with people because in the first stage forming, this is when I as a new member of the team will join the group and exchange information about myself with others.

From that point it is up to the people in the home to continue Tuckman's theory as it is their choice if they accept me into the group. If they accept me then the communication process can continue and we will come together as a group. If I was to build a relationship with the people in the home I need to make sure I have some of the same things in common and I understand what they are going through and how they feel, this all comes down to my values and beliefs and if mine are the same as the groups.

Argyles theory also helps to build a relationship with people because to even get the communication cycle started, I will need to understand the resident. I will need to know what is wrong with them, how they feel and if there are any barriers in the way of communication. This is because there is no point in me talking to someone who is deaf. They will not be able to hear me and understand what I'm saying so the communication cycle will stop. However I will be able to overcome this, I need to recognise the barriers and understand how I can get rid of them.

For example I can communicate with the deaf person in other ways like using Braille or writing things down as they will be able to see and read. If I overcome this I can help to build a relationship with the people in the home and communication will be effective. However these theories do not work all the time for all people. In some cases it might be very hard to overcome certain barriers for example if the patient is both blind, deaf and cannot understand Braille what do you do. Cases like that are very hard to conquer and in that case the theories are not useful and the communication is not effective.

There are many other limitations like language. If there is a person in the home that is French and I only speak German and there are no translators available what should I do? I can’t get a translator because no one in the home translates how I can overcome the barrier. In some cases that will occur in the residential home I will not be able to use the theories of communication. This is because there are limitations and no way to overcome these. This means the communication cycles and processes are not working and the communication is not effective to the residents.

Both theories use different skills and strategies to gain effective communication. One of these skills being the appropriate method of communication to make sure they meet the service users needs. In both theories you need to use clear and appropriate communication, this is because if you don’t the service user will not be able to understand you and it will also make the communication not effective. By doing this you could also make the service user uncomfortable so when speaking to a service user you need to make sure you are professional and speak to them with respect and be clear so that they can understand you.

This will enable you to create a better relationship with the person as they will be able to understand what you are saying and will be able to communicate back, this will also help you as the service user will then know that they can come and talk to you because they understand you. Jargon is another strategy that should not be used in any cycle, if you use Jargon some people won’t be able to understand you for example someone with learning disabilities won’t be able to understand it if u use Jargon, that is why you need to use an appropriate method of communication.

If you do use Jargon then people are unable to decode your message and won’t receive it. This means that the coding you have given them isn’t good enough and clear so they can’t understand. To overcome this you will need to use clear speaking and clarity. In Tuckman's theory formal communication is a strategy used. It is mainly used at the beginning of the relationship when you are forming as a group and meeting different people. People speak in a formal language because when they meet someone knew they try to give a good impression.

However the further in the process the group gets and the more they get to know each other they might start talking with a more informal language and use their own dialect. Another skill that is used in the communication cycle is questioning. Questioning is a good skill to use as u can form relationships with people knowing that you understand them and they understand you. If I use questioning in my placement I will gain a better understanding of them, I will also find out more information about them and I can check that they have understood what I have said to them.

By doing this you are able to communicate and make it effective. Listening is a skill I will also use in the placement that is used in both theories for argyles cycle listening is very important. If the person isn’t listening then they won’t understand the message and find it hard to understand what is going on. However in Tuckman's theory listening helps to understand when in the process the group is at. Listening will help me in my placement as I will be able to learn new things about the residents I will also get ideas about the group I am going into and what stage in Tuckman’s theory I will be entering.

This will make me have a better understanding of the model and how the group relate to it and if they also relate to Argyles. However these skills and strategies don’t always apply in all situations. In the home you might find yourself in a situation that you can’t use the skills to help you and you might need to get help form another carer or resident. Sometimes these strategies and skills are hard to use when working with people who have disabilities or speak a different language.

This will mean that you will have to find alternative skills to use when communication with people who find it hard to understand. For example if you are communicating with someone of another language these skills and strategies will be hard to use. You won’t be able to keep asking them questions as they don’t understand your language. Also you will need to be careful in what body language you use otherwise some people can take it the wrong way and be offended. They are helpful but some of the times aren’t. For example if your talking to someone with dementia.

Tuckman’s theory will not work, this is because people with dementia become forgetful and loos there memory. So using Tuckman’s theory of communication is not very appropriate when you know it wont get to many stages because of the disability. On the other hand Argyles communication cycle is very useful when using interpersonal interaction talking one to one. This is because the cycle goes round in a circle and it is very simple, so if the person cannot decode the message you can just explain it in a different way or make it more simple for them to understand.

In conclusion I have found out that there are many different skills and strategies that I can use in my placement to help me use more effective communication with the residents. I have also learnt that both theories fit in to everyday life it just depends on the situation you are in which determines what theory u relate to and the way you use communication. I have also learnt that you need to use good communication and make it effective otherwise it is pointless.

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Developing effective communication in health and social care. (2016, Nov 04). Retrieved from

Developing effective communication in health and social care
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