This is St Patrick College Personal and Professional Development Assignment is a part of BTEC HNC/ HND Course for Health and Social Care.
PORTFOLIO ASSESSMENT: TASK 1
Health and Social Care is a comprehensive term that collectively refers to the set of services delivered by the providers of health and social care. As the name suggests there is an element of care and caution involved in the provision of these kinds of services and hence can also relate at vocational levels, apart from academic as well. Technically the science of health of social care is a combination of a various number of disciplines like biology, sociology, nutrition, law and ethics. Since the study of health and social care cannot be confined to classroom learning there is a need for practical experience. Effective delivery of the services in this league requires an extra element of humankind and passion which shall form the major theme of this essay.
In rendering the services of health and social care, there are two parts. One is the health itself which can be derived from the textual and factual knowledge gained and the other is social care that comprises of taking care of the needy individuals in a social setting. For this to be much more operative the people involved in this need to contribute something much more than the normal, what I may call as personal values and principles.
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Personal effectiveness is an integral element of social care where regardless of the efficacy of the healthcare system the contribution that an individual can make to the life of another person undergoing a certain phase in their lives plays an important role. In my current experience it was felt that social care is nothing but all about emotion towards the fellow being and requires no other spurious science (Watson 2007). Individuals taking up this profession need to self-govern themselves through a set of guiding ethical principles.
The customers of healthcare are ones that are in a special state or undergoing certain events in life that are significant to them. Pain, fear, depression and apprehension are needlessly associated with them at those points of time and what would help do much more wonders than effective medicines and treatment is probably a smiling face and a helping hand. In my personal experience I have felt it necessary to be a friend with the patient rather than a service provider or medical practitioner.
The role of a healthcare practitioner should go a step further from the routine tasks of medical check-ups and advice of which effective and easeful communication is the most important. Furthermore the need is to maintain a personal relationship with the patient who needs to be caressed and taken care of so as to give them a positive ray of hope and possibly attempt to pull them out of the life peril they are in. In many instances the person may be in a sinking state with nothing more that they can expect from life and the contribution from us in such cases should be emotionally and empathetically attached to them.
Values and emotions should outdo the framework of principles and procedures and go up to a sentimental level (Jones 2010). The connection between the suffering and the caretaker should be emotive in nature and the relationship should have an essence of love and affection towards the patient and the job that the concierge has endeavoured to fulfil. Even though the field of health and social care has today become commercial and ones stepping into this field have their own aspirations and goals to achieve, professionals in the discipline of health and social care should add a dimension of personal poise to their profile.
While the job efficacy in this line may be measured formally through many other metrics, the value system of an individual and the level of satisfaction that the expert that has been able to convoke to their customers, the needy and the sick, is another important metric of performance evaluation for this career (Brand 2012).
In order to be a more effective and efficient personnel in the field of health care, I personally opine that the value system of myself needs to be geared up effectually to revamp the existing ones and add new ones and undoubtedly remove the negations. The value statement of a employees should necessarily comprise of responsiveness, patient-centric care, informed decision making, evidence-centric care, safety, service, efficiency, teamwork and above all cordial communication, compassion and respect.
Superior medical care always revolves around relationships that heal continuously with the physical wounds and thus the professionals needs to be receptive to the needs of their patients on a round-the-clock basis in any possible manner. Similar to the case in any service-oriented career, while the standards of service delivery are standardised, there is always room for personal customisation that is dependent on the individual which should be the competitive advantage for a healthcare professional.
Healthcare has advanced so much today that the patient can choose from a plethora of diagnosis options which the professional may support by advising the patient to make proper decisions, a kind of shared decision making model (Hendrikson 2010). Furthermore they should be able to guide the patient to accommodate preferences on the basis of solid evidence through scientific knowledge. The aspect of communication having been touched upon in much detail shall not be reiterated.
Safety and service needlessly remains the top priority and the effort that the personnel should make is to be sensitive to these aspects at all times. While other elements of the value system may be achieved only through personal dedication, safety of the patients may be achievable only by adhering strictly to a policy procedural framework (Gavrielides 2011).
On the whole the health and social care experts should be able to respect their career, co-workers and their customers with added concern for their well-being and recovery. Lastly teamwork and cooperation amongst fellow members is a necessity for the total efficiency of the healthcare system. Healthcare is not to be considered as a business that involves only profit making since this shall render the very spirit and crux of this profession and draw away the noble motive behind this service.
PORTFOLIO ASSESSMENT: TASK 2
The profession of a healthcare practitioner is multi-faceted under the dimensions of being a manager, a skilled and knowledgeable professional and moreover an effective listener. Consequentially it is required that the skills and abilities set that the employees of this field should possess also need to be multi-dimensional in nature. A non-exhaustive list of the competencies would look like this – superior and the best interpersonal skills, effective communication and vigilant observation, query-solving and guidance ability, team friendliness and the ability to handle situations that are emotionally charged. In addition the behavioural value set should comply with a 6C model of care, compassion, competence, communication, courage and commitment. In this task I shall develop a plan to monitor, review and then assess the personal skill set.
I shall begin with an initial monitoring of the skills and abilities of the writer through the Honey and Mumford Learning Style model. Before getting to the practical part, a brief mention of theory of the model is necessary. This tool to assess the current skills and abilities derives four learning styles, activists, reflectors, theorists and pragmatists on the basis of their experience and observation.
The vertical axis of the diagram plots experience and the horizontal axis plot observation. On one end of the experience dimension is a continuum of high and concrete experience while the lower end is based on abstract conceptualisation linked to perception and self-experience. Observation on one end is reflective and at the other end is active, the former being through high experience and the latter through plain experimentation. In short, a highly skilled practitioner possessing concrete experience and thoughtful observation capabilities is a reflector and the one who is low on both of these variables is a pragmatist. Practitioners who tend to convert their theory into practice and eventually build experience are referred to as activists while those who believe in practical observation and conceptualisation are called theorists or the typical philosophers.
The first two classes of learning styles call for solid experience which is yet to be gained as a student of healthcare while the second two classes emphasize on conversion of theoretical knowledge into practical skill. Conceptualisation may be based on plain observation, perception or experimentation or a balanced combination of the three. Having worked in a practical setting for a substantial amount of time has helped to gain the minimally required exposure to the varied facets of health treatment and social care (Mumford 1995). Currently being in a stage that requires the adaptation of this knowledge into concrete experience and move up the ladder, I shall assertively state that my style of learning acclimates to that of a theorist.
A theorist is however a logical fact-seeker that tends to seek out rational for each action and notion that they encounter. In applied healthcare while there is ample scope and need for consolidation of experience, observation and knowledge into theories and models, a certain room needs to be allocated for thought, perception and non-figurative conceptualisation. It is always not possible that healthcare treatment be delivered in a prescribed model and structure and thereby this calls for an element of abstraction (Eisele, Grohnert, Beausaert & Segers 2013).
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At the heart of all healthcare and treatment is the safety and health of the patient. Patient safety being a combination of practice and emerging theory relates scientific methods and trustworthiness. In my personal contribution to service delivery, I have attempted and been successful in blending standards of safety and the aim of being reliable. Patients have entrusted their confidence in my duty towards them to provide them safe and benign medical treatment. I have additionally contributed to making patient safety and its impact, an integral part of formal healthcare systems since it has been my experience that this maximises the incidence of recovery from untoward effects of ailments (Caple & Martin 1994).
SWOT Analysis of the Self –
- Strengths – Calm and composed behaviour, ability to deal with complex situations, on the spot thinking ability, passion towards social care
- Weaknesses – Need to get things done quickly and perfectly which at times might not be agreeable to others
- Opportunities – Act more professionally and proficiently so that I may be given more challenging roles
- Threats – Getting overworked impacts my health
Medical practitioners should possess certain holistic and finite goals that shall guide their values, skills and abilities and their profession as a whole. Similar to any other strategy and personal development plan, the goals defined should fit into the SMART framework which means they need to be comprised of specific activities that are possible to achieve and measure within a finite timeframe and most important something that is realistic for the practitioner to achieve (Rae 1986). The aim of a personal development plan is to be able to crop a planned and complete overview of my present position on the professional front. It also facilitates the need to structure a portfolio for accreditation of the work for future development.
The broad framework of my personal development plan is as under. The goals are as follows-
- Virtuous medical practice and enduring professional growth (Long Term)
- Associated skills of leadership and management to clinical development (Long Term)
- Keeping oneself updated and knowledgeable of the setting and environment in which they practice (Medium Term)
- Continually developing themselves professionally (Medium Term)
- Good interpersonal relationships with the patients, practitioners and other co-workers (Short Term)
- Urge to continue learning and accordingly recognize and plan their educational needs (Medium Term)
- Learn in depth of the intricacies and issues in social and healthcare (Short Term)
- Become a good and effective health and social care practitioner (Short Term)
The following part shall assess my personal development plan and its effectiveness and finally suggest methods to improve the same. Continuously updating the knowledge of a medical practitioner is necessary considering the pace with which clinical research is shaping the modern front of medicine (Taylor & Edge 1997). Individually I have always strived to keep myself abreast of the progresses and developments in my discipline as an effort to continue my profession for a considerable period of time.
The areas which have been found lacking is that of leadership and management which I shall require to hone and polish repeatedly during my repeated efforts of research and practice. A professional of healthcare is not to be outstanding only in theoretical and conceptual soundness but shall also have to acquire profound skills of leadership, teamwork and personnel management. In order to be able to provide safe and secure healthcare systems a medical practitioner needs to set the goals of compassion and teamwork in priority. Moreover the personnel dedicated to this profession needs to possess the willingness and aptitude to work in addition to the skills they possess.
PORTFOLIO ASSESSMENT: TASK 3
The nature of relationships in the work setting of healthcare requires them to create and maintain a strong relation with the individuals requiring care, their families, the caretakers and clinicians providing allied services and most primarily the communities and social groups collectively striving for the same cause. The landscape of the professional connections should be such that it promotes trust, equality and equivalence of dignity for all co-workers. Moreover it should respect diversity, uniqueness and respect for the collaborated effort to deliver quality social care for the needy (Beausaert, Segers, Fouarge & Gijselaers 2013).
The relationships need to be professionally maintained that helps in building safe and kind networks that help in meeting the goals of self-care and social care and the emotional and conservational needs (Billingsley & Lang 2002). The requirement to balance risks and needs is warranted so that eventually the outcome is positive and that there is no scope for power difference.
Power distance and power gaps are a potential threat at every workplace that has the capability to tamper workplace relationships and peace. Hence the ideal workplace is one where there is no difference in power levels (McPherson 2008). Even though each and every work setting strives to achieve this aspect, it is not ideally possible. This is possibly the most profound shortcoming of my workplace.
The professional relationships should be such that they are supportive of the goals, objectives and requirements of the organization and the associated agencies supporting it. The boundaries defining professional boundaries that set out the standards of technical and ethical treatment of the association in the social care setting is a supplementary aspect of the nature of workplace relationships (Iliffe, Kharicha, Goodman, Swift, Harari & Manthorpe 2005). These boundaries need to guide and govern the behaviour of the professionals within the workplace and one should not attempt to trespass these limits on any occasion.
My workplace adheres to strict standards of workplace boundaries since they promote and endorse the need for safe and satisfactory behaviour by the co-workers that translates the workplace into a much more effective setting. All the professionals at my workplace have vouched to abide by the Hippocratic Oath of the Western society which is still prevalent in many parts of the world.
The oath to behave professionally includes other aspects apart from professional boundaries like the limits of knowledge, limits of ability, limits of professionalism and limits of confidentiality. It is preached at my workplace that the practitioner does not work beyond the limits of their knowledge, nor do they attempt to contract the horizon of their ability in delivering services, neither indulge in any illicit activities with co-workers especially at the place of work and also not divulge in any sensitive and professional information within or outside the organization. The oath that was originally designed for medical professionals relates to social care personnel as well and is quite relevant to their duties.
Professional relationships should not be confined to the links with only co-workers but should also extend to the clients of healthcare who are mainly the needy. The relation with them should be such that I am able to extend the best of support and aid that they require to the best of my abilities and also additionally assure that they are not harmed or in danger on account of my actions. It is thereby suitable to base the actions of the individual around the needs of the client and be more client-oriented than self-oriented. Truth, honesty, integrity, respect and equity are other intangible aspects of the relationship. It is therefore important to work for the team and the organization that one is a part of and not work solely for themselves. Client equality is also imperative such that all current and potential clients are able to equally access your service with the same ease and comfort. On the whole the relationship is not just about your workplace relation but is more about self-management and emotional balance.
The two major causes of conflicts at the workplace are communication and emotion. The harshness and the counts of conflicts due to communication may be reduced by clear, precise, concise and timely information since most of the clashes occur due to ineffective communication or inaccurate communication and even lack of communication. Humans are emotional beings and many a time tends to place emotions ahead of their motives and actions. They tend to be driven by emotions and the juncture at which the emotions of co-workers collides result in emotional conflict. Emotions should not tend to drive decisions, rather the converse should hold good.
The clashes at the workplace may be reduced through the efforts of all individuals collectively. One possible method is avoid the clash head-on, the other shall be by understanding the advantages or disadvantages of the conflict to one’s self, the third method shall be to clearly define acceptable behaviour and by prioritising the need to conflict with others. In all instances it is difficult to avoid conflicts as some may be unavoidable. However it is better that the conflict adopts a cold war style rather than an open confrontation. It is also possible that as an effective leader, one is able to prejudge the potentiality for a prospective conflict and attempt to proactively avoid it. This shall help in mitigating a series of instances of workplace conflict and thereby help in maintaining a positive air within the organization.
It is always better to avoid a conflict rather than trigger it and then look for possible solutions to it and thereby it is recommended that the standard of tolerable behaviour is defined. People may work within this framework and this is surely a positive step towards the attempt to curb conflict. On the whole the workplace is a highly sensitive location that is filled with mixed emotions, feelings, thoughts and ideas and in order to take forward the place efficiently one should lead the workplace through proper standards of workplace etiquette, cordial behaviour and proper conduct. Moreover each conflict is to be considered as a learning experience that draws learning that may be passed on to others or applied in other future situations.
PORTFOLIO ASSESSMENT: TASK 4
It is a practical fact that some people need some care and support from other people in order to sustain their life. Many a time it is physical assistance and many other times it is emotional and this is a motivation for them to lead a normal life and perform many activities which others may consider as normal. People in such special states of life and undergoing major life events need special treatment and the social care system of the government is always determined to provide need for these downtrodden or ignored classes of citizens. This not only helps them in recovering to life but also to maintain their dignity and be independent in life.
The role of practitioners of healthcare and social service is in tune with the objective of the government and thus as a student of Health and Social Care am writing this personal statement as my mission to guide me through personal and professional development in a health and social care setting. My work role in social care may not be formally definable since there has been no clear expectation of role or clarity set in this field. While one may be able to expect what a doctor, teacher or engineer, the role of a social caretaker is not professionally defined.
There are many roles in which a social care professional may function and it may commonly occur that the role boundaries are not limited and may require the acceptance of more than hat at a time. In my capacity as a student to be able to learn more effectively and as a practitioner to be able to deliver more efficiently I have crossed my boundaries as a facilitator and moved on to be an educator, organizer, manager and even a leader at times.
This has also tended to impact the work of others by supporting their role and also inspiring them to work more beyond their formal responsibilities. Health and social care is not plainly a profession like that of an engineer, manager or an accountant where in one is supposed to effectively take forward their defined role. Therefore the role of this kind of a practitioner is beyond boundaries and limits and an advocate of the rights and justice of others. Social workers need to be the voice of those who have an apprehension for speaking for themselves and those who are defenceless. Advocacy of rights can be at a domestic, national or international level as the case may be and thus practitioners at times will also need to be receptive of international human rights.
The most prominent of barriers at the workplace are related to culture and communication. The culture may tend to cause differences amongst people in terms of status and stature and thus the commitment of one should be able to minimize barriers to the most possible extent. I have contributed my best to avoid hurdles at work by obliging to help others originating from different cultures and possessing various linguistic barriers. Moreover my pledge has been to always communicate in a proper and active manner that is clear and crisp without leaving any room for ambiguity or doubt.
There is no restriction to the demographic profile of the professionals choosing to enter this field and hence there is bound to be generational barriers to work as well. When different generational groups interact with each other, there shall a difference of opinion and a clash between age and experience. In my opinion it should be the determination of the younger workers to bridge this gap and acquire as much possible knowledge from the aged who are rich in experience.
While on one side status results in power gaps, at time workers may find it difficult to adjust to decentralised work places and job roles. They may find it difficult to adapt to flexible environments and that there is no guiding framework. This may be overcome by creating a balance between centralisation and decentralisation of roles and responsibilities.
Personally I have been able to improve my existing skill set and value base in concordance with the ideal requirements for a healthcare practitioner. Even though it would have not been possible to sharpen my skills to the best in such a short period of time, my attempt through the exercise has always been to stay vigil and watchful of what occurs around me (Genkeer, Finlayson, Edmans & Gough 2002). In social care the occurrences around the workplace contribute a great deal to the role within the organization and hence I have attempted to be receptive to all events around me.
Further I have been amenable to the needs of people and their sorrows and have been helpful in their causes as well. Good social care practices go beyond theoretical knowledge and shall emerge only out of moral practice and practical work. As a conclusion to the assessment certain recommendations may hence be made.
The first of the suggestions is to unite healthcare with social care to work efficiently together so that the patients receive the proper and right combination of care in a single set. The concept of health and social care should be viewed with a long term focus so that the patients do not just recover from their ailments but also improve the quality of their future life. Dementia being a major concern of many patients has also become the cause of worry of many practitioners and hence should be taken up as a priority for research. The most valid suggestion of this shall be the need to maintain a proper living style and condition for the caretakers or the workers of social care. Unless one is themselves not mentally and physically strong and alert, they may not be able to execute their role in full effect. Hence the government and concerned authorities should be sensitive of taking care of the ones who need to care about others.