This essay will explore collaborative practice in the health, social care and education services. I will explore the relevance of policies, behaviours and services to collaborative practice when working with children, young people and families. I am going to reflect using the Driscoll’s Model of Reflection (1994) on the activities I undertook and knowledge I have gained throughout the module. Driscoll’s Model of Reflection (1994) is made up of three sections, what, so what and now what. I will also be relating the relevance of policies, behaviours and services to service users’ diverse population and communities.
Principles of Professional Practice
Throughout health, social care and education services, professional principles of practice are fundamental. In the report, Professionalism in Healthcare Professionals (Morrow, Burford, Rothwell, Carter, McLanchlan, & Illing 2011) it is highlighted that professionalism as an all-encompassing way of being that influences your actions, behaviours and performance in your role. The fundamentals of professional practice include professional boundaries and behaviour, multi-agency working, equality and diversity.
Professional boundaries are an essential part of professional roles, professional boundaries guide’s professionals to safe and appropriate behaviours (Cooper & Coe 2012). Professionals need to attain an adequate understanding of appropriate and inappropriate behaviour to keep themselves and service users safe. Boundaries can be crossed by professional and service users, this may be an unintentional action such as organisational failure and/or accident but professional boundaries need to be upheld to protect everyone involved (Copper & Coe 2012).
The Common Core of skills and knowledge (2010) gives a consistent outline of skills and knowledge for people who work with children and young people as well as a framework for multi-agency working. Multi-agency working is a vital part when working with children, young people and families, it ensures the continued development to guarantee that children and young people get the best possible outcome. Multi-agency working is of high importance to achieving collaborative practice, a seamless and effective tool in working with children young people and families (Oliver & Pitt 2011).
Equality and diversity are extremely important to health, social care and education services due to the range of race, religion, ethnicity, gender, class, age, disability and sexual identity that our service users are. Thompson (2016) discusses the importance of considering each situation as its own and not applying any pre-assumptions to situations. We as professionals need to be able to be able to implement anti-discriminatory practice into our professional roles as to make sure that service users are getting the best service possible and making sure it is tailored to their needs if there are any. As a professional having the ability to take notice of the particular services users’ needs you are able to then produce a better service and thus a better outcome for them.
Non-judgemental practice is something that every professional need to implement into their professional role. The Royal College of Nursing Journals article by Cole (2015) discusses honest, open and non-judgmental practice with transgender and non-binary people within the healthcare community, the impacts of this not being implemented is discussed by as service user as making them anxious and uncomfortable about attending. This could mean that services users stop attending health care regular appointments or when they are in need of the service. If this were to happen it could be detrimental to their health and wellbeing. As service providers, we as professionals need to understand the long-term challenges and consequences that could impact service users that can arise if we do not implement principles of professionals into our roles.
Principles of professional practice include non-judgemental practice, professional boundaries, anti-discriminatory practice equality and diversity. These all work hand in hand together to achieve the best outcomes for service users as well as keeping professionals and service users safe.
Locating documents is essential to self-development, expanding knowledge, understanding law, legislation and researching for essays such as this one. When locating relevant documents for expanding and/or developing my knowledge and skills on subjects, I have created a table (As you can see below) to help me narrow down my search to decide the best methods to find the document or relevant documents that I am looking for.
Throughout the module week, we were requested to prepare a policy, Act or piece of legislation to discuss in groups for our jigsaw learning exercise. I used the table as a guideline to help me access which document I would choose to discuss. The document type was a government document so I chose the gov.uk website to search for documents relating to safeguarding and working with children, young people and families. I then chose to use the keywords safeguarding and children, I submitted them into the search engine. Working Together to Safeguard Children (2015) was the first result, I chose to read into this one due to the fact my keywords were both in the title and this was within my 5-year publication limit. Throughout this essay, I have researched and read around a variety of different subjects always reflecting to my table as to decide the best possible way to access the information I need.
Keeping up to date on policies, legislation and law is something that all professionals need to do. Law, legislation and policies change and update regularly meaning that when you are in a profession that relies on your understanding to make professional decisions, you need to be able to reliably relate to current law, legislation and policies when confirming and reinforcing your point or decision. Law, policies and legislation all play an integral part of collaborative working. The Children Act 1989, section one is about the paramountcy principle which asserts that the child’s wishes and feelings will be taken into consideration, this links to the child-centred approach that most services have now adopted. The Children Act 1989 also identifies the duty to investigate, suggested protocols, outlining parental responsibilities and overall gives us guidance on how to proceed as a professional. The Children Act 2004 co-exists along sized The Children Act 1989. Laming’s inquiry into Victoria Climbiés’ death in 2000 lead to the Every Child Matters green paper (DfES, 2003) and then the Children Act 2004 was introduced. The Children Act 2004 instructed local authorities to co-operate throughout agencies and the creation of new Local Safeguarding Children Boards (LSCB). All of these documents aid and influence collaborative and integrate services among health, social care and education.
Throughout the Inter-professional education week (IPE) the importance of keeping up to date on law policies and guidance as well as expanding my knowledge was emphasized. By keeping up to date and researching documents around other professions that had been mentioned during the session It was evident in the module that it helped my ability to communicate effectively with other professionals from the range of professions. I was able to gain more knowledge and have a better understanding of them and their job role. This is all vital to collaborating together and the success of multi-agency working, which is key to both the Children Act 1989 and 2004.
Strategies for Effective inter-professional Communication
Effective communication and information sharing is essential to achieving the best outcome for service users, when there is a failure in communication subsequently there are incidents where services users are inadvertently harmed or killed such as Peter Connelly’s death in 2007 which lead to Lord Laming’s enquiry (cited in Olive & Pitt 2011) which highlighted that if professionals communicated, shared information and knowledge as well as organising their services together that children could attain better outcomes. Communication entails verbal and non-verbal. Non-verbal communication includes body language, the tone of voice, gestures, distance and touch. Verbal communication includes the written word and the spoken word.
Communication throughout agencies is vital but many challenges can occur such as the Arc of Distortion (Bird 2011) which highlights the misunderstanding that can occur when communicating, through our group discussion on communication we were able to indicate possible issues that may impact multi-agency communication such as profession specialised terms, abbreviations, regional dialect and physical impairments.
Communication can be impacted by barriers or blocks such as a language barrier, the use of jargon, physical disabilities, cultural differences, having preconceived ideas and being preoccupied. Language barriers can include things such as English not being their spoken language or if it is not their first language there is a higher chance of miscommunication throughout communities or diverse populations. In this situation, communication can be aided by the use of a translator to help reduce any misunderstandings. Physical disabilities such as a hearing impairment it may be better to have written information that the service user can reflect on. The overuse of jargon when professionals communicate with other professionals and service users can cause a breakdown in communication, either less use of jargon or making a clear breakdown of what everything means would help resolve this. As professionals having preconceived ideas is always something that will impair your work and may mean that the outcome give is not the best that could be achieved so it is best to avoid making any pre-judgements around anyone or any situation.
Non-verbal communication such as eye contact, body language, gestures and physical proximity are all parts of communication that mostly happen without being a conscious decision, Jaques & Salmon (2007) emphasise that when we are evaluating communication it is mostly overlooked. Overlooking such basic communication can cause miscommunication to continue within professionals, communities and with service users, and inadvertently causing undesired outcomes.
Inter-professional team communication was vital throughout inter-professional education (IPE) week especially during multiple group exercises such as survival game and safeguarding tasks. Particularly throughout doing the safeguarding task in which we had to collaboratively work together and identify the safeguarding issues in the case study we had been given, I was able to identify the stages of Tuckman’s Model of Group Development (cited in Seck & Helton 2014) within our group through the exercises we undertook throughout inter-professional education (IPE) week. The stages of Tuckman’s Model of Group Development (cited in Seck & Helton 2014) are stage one: forming, stage two: storming, stage three: norming, stage four: performing and stage five: adjourning. Throughout stage one: forming, team members are mostly anxious and polite and then developing into stage two: storming is the stage in which teams fail due to conflict within the team. When stage three: norming is achieved this when the team resolves conflicts and able to work productively together after this stage four: performing is able to be achieved meaning that they are able to effectively work together and be productive. Stage five: adjourning is when a team is either no longer needed or disbanded, this occurs throughout most teams. Due to the fact that inter-professional education (IPE) week was undergone in such a small period of time, the stages were more obvious.
Throughout the survival game which we had to collaboratively work together and make decisions in, I became aware that Belbin® (2015) nine team roles were within our group, which was ideal for collaborations as Belbin® (2015) states that for a group to succeed and be effective the nine roles should be present. I was able to evaluate myself and reflect that my team role is a Plant which highlighted to myself that I may need to make more effort to communicate properly with other members of the group. I was then able to regularly reflect on myself using Driscoll’s Model of Reflection (1994) to make sure that I was to the best of my ability communicating to the group and in what situation I need to improve and how to do so.
Effective communication is something that needs continued self and group development to keep being effective in professional roles and personal roles. This impacts the outcomes of service users from all health, social care and education services.
Reflection of Inter-Professional Education (IPE) week
Inter-professional education (IPE) week helped me reflect on myself and multi-agency communication. This week highlighted challenges and ways to overcome them that would never have been highlighted to me otherwise. I have been able to develop my own skills and knowledge to become a better-rounded and effective professional through exercises, discussions and teamwork. In this section, I am going to look at some events that encouraged this.
The safeguarding exercise in inter-professional (IPE) week is something that I reflected on using Driscoll’s Model of Reflection (1994) what, so what and now what. What- during the exercise Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) was discussed and some colleagues had little understanding of it. So what – I was shocked to see how many colleagues did not have a basic knowledge of female genital mutilation and the impacts it can have on females of any age. I was shocked at the lack of knowledge at the time but having the ability to share my knowledge and discuss it with the group gave me an insight into why having multi-agency teams and activities are so important. Now what- I believe that including multi-agency teams would help improve the sharing of knowledge so that our workforce in health, social care and education services can achieve better outcomes for others. We as an inter-professional group decided to keep in contact and share information with each other on things we believe would be helpful to the other professionals. This also led to me doing more research around female genital mutilation where I came across the Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003 which helped expand my knowledge on the subject and then I was able to share it with the group. This highlighted to me the importance of Capability CW4 (refer to appendix one) on the Interprofessional Capability Framework (SHU 2014). I aim to develop my ability to involve other professionals and the service users in decision making.
During the safeguarding exercise we also discussed a situation about a mother shaking a baby that’s I have reflected on using Driscoll’s Model of Reflection (1994). What- I immediately was concerned about the baby suggesting that emergency services would need to be contacted whereas my team member suggested that the mother may need support due to possible postnatal depression. So what- At the time I was disappointed in myself for not exploring this possibility but afterwards this really emphasized to me the importance of these multi-agency teams. This enabled me to see a point of view that I had not explored due to my clouded judgement over my worry of the child. Now what – this gave me inspirations to explore more possibilities to a situation, looking at each person involved. As well as working together with other agency professionals, we would then be able to achieve the best possible outcome for both mother and child. This highlighted to myself that on the Interprofessional Capability Framework (SHU 2014) I was able to identify myself at level 1 on capability OC1 (refer to appendix one) and understand that to improve myself that I need to be able to expand my skills in person-centred care as well as the policies and procedures that impact the changing role boundaries in multi-professional community.
Stickley’s (2011) SURETY acronym is based on Egan’s SOLAR (cited in Stickley 2011), it is discussed in the journal that this was created to allow cultural variations. SURETY (Stickley 2011) stands for sit at an angle to the client, uncross legs and arms, relax, eye contact, touch and your intuition. This is an outline to remember to achieve good non-verbal communication before you start talking and throughout talking to other professionals and service users. I plan to use this throughout interactions with professionals and services users to achieve a better quality of communication and outcome for myself and the others involved.
IPE week has given me the chance to reflect on real events with other professionals which have helped me prepare for my placement in January as well as giving me the opportunity to improve myself. I have planned out an action plan through my reflections (refer to appendix one).
Throughout this essay, I have expanded my knowledge and understanding of the importance of principles of professionalism, the need for effective communication to help multi-agency working become effective and productive. The ability to implement non-judgemental and anti-discriminatory practice into all aspects of health, social care and education services to achieve professional practice in regards to diverse populations and communities. Laws, legislation, policies and guidance have a large impact on all aspects of professional roles and that of the service that service user receive.