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Ways to improve self-awareness

How does a health care worker use self-awareness / empathy / emotional intelligence when communicating with the person receiving care in a health setting and what may be the benefits for the healthcare worker and the person receiving care?

Self-awareness is having a clear understanding or perception about self-personality which include strength, weakness, beliefs, thoughts, motivation and emotions. It allows us to know or understand other people, how they perceive us and our attitude and responses towards them at that moment. It involves one being mindful of his/ her thoughts and feelings, strength and vulnerabilities, coping mechanisms and most signifying the value that motivate one’s goals and actions.

It is an important factor through which success can be accomplished in almost every professional sector. In medical field, health care worker uses this to maintain relationship with patients. It is also found that, people facing tough times, while using this process as it is time taking and can be very troublesome sometimes (Edwards, n.d.). It begins with moral awareness and then it further leads to struggle for changing by making efforts continuously. The nurses spent most of their time with the patient, therefore it is vital for them to form therapeutic relationship with their clients. Self-awareness could be really helpful as a tool to help to form a good therapeutic relationship. Although the professional healthcare training school assist the health worker to develop into person who knows how to function in critical or normal situation. Thus, it is very significant for the health care workers education. The vital aspects of self-awareness are analysis of its analysis factor, its implications in healthcare professionals, its development in healthcare workers and lastly how to use it in establishing relationship with the patient.


The improvement of self-awareness in both personal as well as professional aspects often leads to success, development at professional level and increase quality therapy and care of patient. As it is the duty and ethical responsibility of health care workers to look after their patients and provide good care to their patients, for which it is important to understand self (Symons, et al., 2009). There should be rationale reflection and approach for the workers, to ensure proper communication between health care providers and patients. The communication process between healthcare workers and clients can be verbal or nonverbal. From the reflection of one’s act through writing journals, speaking to friends, meditations are some of the ways of practicing self-awareness. The healthcare worker while visiting their friends and listening to them and their experiences, will make them have information on their personal lives and how they deal with their issues and thus it will help them to understand and in taking care of their clients. A diary on reflection of their own by using reflection models and learning about the body language are some other important aspects that can improve self-awareness of health professionals and thus leads to effective and efficient communication with their patient (Ahrweiler, et al., 2014). It is apparent that self-awareness is not a quick or rapid process rather it continuous for longtime which is the reason the healthcare professionals should perform it on regular basis.

Significance of self-awareness

The above discussion made it apparent that there are numerous ways through which self-awareness of healthcare worker can be improved and helps in communicating with their patients. One of the common method used in the health care is the personal reflection. It is very vital for the health worker to reflect on their experiences and learn from the mistakes they have made in past.(Ozcan, 2011). Personal reflection is helpful as the healthcare professional can relate with their patient or even share the experience with them. This will certainly improve the relationship between patient and healthcare professional and eventually improving the communication process between the healthcare. 

People get opportunity to grow on earlier practices through personal reflection and can also lead to behavioral changes (Haley, et al., 2017 ). Psychodrama is one of the technique which the healthcare professionals can use to enhance their self-awareness and can also implement it while communicating with their clients. This session can also help in identifying the flaws in the therapeutic relationships and also through this process the health care professionals can include their role models and skills they gained in communication, thus establishing health professionals and patient relationship. As per the previous studies, it was found that the psychodrama tool was very helpful in aiding to gain self-understanding.

It also assisted them with opportunities to understand others and helped them to make connection between the patients and their feelings. Thus, it can be said that, psychodramas are effective and efficient method in removing the flaws of communication between the health professional and their patients.

Self-awareness has always been an essential aspect of health care professionals practice in healthcare settings. It also helps in improving competency and ultimately leading to greater satisfaction for the patients. It is a transformative and dynamic process that ca lead to change for the lives of healthcare workers and patients (Adams, 2010). It guides healthcare professionals to cultivate good behavior which enables the healthcare professionals to create an appropriate environment in healthcare setting which further helps in promoting communication between patients and healthcare providers, creating a good interpersonal relationship. It also delivers a therapeutic environment to ensure that healthcare professions take good care of themselves. The self-awareness helps the healthcare workers in cultivating good and healthy behavior leading tobetter healthcare worker which further leads to better patient care. It is often seen that, not all people are same in practicing self-awareness. But some people takes less time in evaluating and understanding their feelings and emotions while other takes more time to perform self-awareness (Beaulieu, et al., 2011). In self-awareness, listening to your inner voice is very important and healthcare providers uses this to ensure that their patients listen to their inner dialogue. If any bad behavior is identified, the workers advise the patient in changing that behavior to healthy ones. Many studies and research show that, the healthcare workers not only provide care to the patient but also helps to resolve their personal stress and problems. In the absence of self-awareness, there will be a poor patient and healthcare worker relationship and this affects the overall communication.

Importance of therapeutic communication


The healthcare workers take lesson from their own to improve the lives of the patient by teaching them to use self-awareness to get themselves out through those situations. It is evident that the healthcare providers require verbal as well as nonverbal communication to help them while communicating with their clients or patient. They need to learn to handle various situations instead of avoiding them (Brady & Quirke, 2017). As healthcare worker has to deal with patient from different cultural background, they have to apply self-awareness after assessing the situation properly and apply self-awareness at different levels. Hence, the healthcare providers should be able to implement self-awareness effectively and efficiently so that their patients open ups and ensures that they are satisfied with their service.

There is another communication style i.e., therapeutic communication which is an essential skill that every healthcare worker should possess. The significance of therapeutic communication should not be underestimated in health care practice. The proper therapeutic communication takes place only after self-awareness comes into play, thereby by boosting the relationship between the healthcare worker and the patient (Ünal, 2012). It is an important skill which ensures the healthcare workers to provide holistic care to their patient. Although this communication process takes place only when the healthcare workers uses self-awareness which delivers a proper environment for healing and caring purpose. As communication is an essential skill and is not efficient in most of the health care providers but after introducing self-awareness while caring for their clients or patients has improved the overall healthcare delivery system.

The heath care worker self-awareness can help in direct communication according to the need of their patient and thus helps in creating proper healthcare setting for the treatment of the patient. It is very important for the healthcare worker to understand their behavior and values as they interact with patient of different cultural backgrounds. The should be able to understand about these values and belief affects patients. The person won’t be able to receive quality care and treatment as the healthcare workers are not aware of their culture and values (Stonehouse, 2010). The healthcare worker should not argue with their patient who does not shares same values or beliefs and also those with the inappropriate behaviors (Zhi, 2017). The self-awareness of both client and healthcare providers will stop from doing such act. The effective use of self-control helps the health care worker to know about their strength, knowledge, limitations and personal response patterns. Thus, having these knowledges ensure proper relationships between the patient and worker and eventually leading to appropriate and effective care to their patients.

Conclusion

The inclusion of patients in decision making process is also one of the way that the workers use self-awareness although the participation of the patient in decision making process is a complicated matter, it has become popular as it helps in modeling of the healthcare system to ensure the safety of the world. this has been successful to some extent by the application of self-awareness. The healthcare providers should agree to the patients in decision making process, although the patient is not knowledgeable person of that articular field, they still have to agree to their decision which should be in consideration to their health (Klein, 2016).


The involvement of patient in decision-making process can be influenced by various factors like lack of medical information, morbidity, low confidence, accepting a new role and various other social factors. All the factors mentioned above can be influenced by self-awareness and the healthcare worker have to make sure to use them to influence the patient in making correct choice when it is required. The acceptance of the fact among healthcare providers implies that patient have significant role in decision making and can be affected by type of sickness, personal beliefs, social status, desire to stay in control, ethnicity and relationship between patient and health worker (Han & Kim, 2016). The health care worker has to perform self-assessment on themselves to ensure these factors are not affecting the decision-making process and thus maintaining proper environment and a good healthy relationship. As per the studies, it has been found that, patient can change the behavior of the healthcare professionals and vice versa. Thus, health care worker should use self-awareness in order to influence the decision-making process for the patient. The patient can make the decision using self-awareness regarding their health and in this way only the worker and patient continue (Borkenhagen, 2016).

The various studies show that, self-awareness acts as an appropriate way for the healthcare providers to engage the clients and help them to cure from their illness, positive mental health, pain and improved psychological adjustments. The healthcare providers have been using self-awareness as a way to present patients having ability to perform the short comings or limitations that they face on the daily basis because of their illness. It further helps the patients in empathizing other patients with similar problems and sharing the same remedy for recovery (Samuelsson, 2010). Self-awareness helps to create great sense of gratitude in patient, which they display while interacting with other patients with same issues and this helps to ease their pain. The healthcare providers often use it in the communication process by allowing a patient to reflect upon their previous life and takes measure so that they do not get back to the past and cultivate good and healthy behavior. The self-assessment process helps patient to improve psychologically and become more capable to manage anger, high self-esteem and empathy which creates a better relationship with the healthcare workers (Castro, et al., 2017). The health care providers are trained enough and knows how to communicate with the patient and have experience with their patients which require them to use self-awareness as a means to ease pain of the client and to make them feel better.

It has been found that the health care worker uses the Johari model framework either intentionally or unintentionally as a self-awareness tool for the communication. The health care providers and patient engage in self-awareness process through three stages which helps in healing.


The three stages include present phase, transition and the regroup stage. The Johari model framework is very important especially for the new health care worker who encounters problem while communicating with their patient (Anon., 2017). It is difficult to pick the flaw in the present phase so the healthcare workers seek help from the seniors where they interact with his or her patients. Once the flaw is identified, the person will be able to find the resources or processes that the he can use in solving the limitation of transition phase.  In the last phase of framework which is the regrouping stage the health workers use the changes in the patient to resolve personal or hidden issues. The process helps in the healing of the patient. Although the procedure is considered to be painful as in this the individual weakness in not visible (Martin, 2016). The patient at this stage needs to be adaptive to change into better individual which enhances the healing process. When both the healthcare provider and patient understand each other by effective communication then a strong relationship is built which further ensures proper care from the health care provider to the patient through smooth healing process. The successful implementation of this process demands to establish support groups in healthcare setting and inviting the senior members for motivation and support (Dutsch, 2013). Most of the healthcare providers have obtain positive results using this process. the health care provider keeps the follow up with a patient even after their release to maintain personal relationship as self-awareness is a continuous process.

Conclusion:

From the above paper it is evident that self-awareness is one of the most important tools in the communication between the healthcare providers and the patient. It has also been referred to as a therapeutic tool. An appropriate therapeutic environment for enhanced caring ensures that the healthcare workers are self-aware and there is healthy worker and patent relationship. Self-awareness not only improves life of the patient but it also helps in improving the life of healthcare providers. It acts as an important tool in communication process between the healthcare providers and patient. Thus, for this reason only each healthcare worker need to have the skills of self-awareness as it is also taught in health causes. As it is a continuous process, it takes lot of determination and time for the change. Therefore, the healthcare worker has to be cautious in caring process of their patient. In conclusion it is apparent that both patient and healthcare worker should practice self-awareness process in order to maintain healthy relationship and environment for the process of cure

References:

Adams, R. J., 2010. Improving health outcomes with better patient understanding and education. Risk Manag Healthc Policy, Volume 3, p. 61–72.

Ahrweiler, F., Scheffer, C. & Roling, G., 2014. Clinical practice and self-awareness as determinants of empathy in undergraduate education: A qualitative short survey at three medical schools in Germany. NCBI, 31(4).

Anon., 2017. Self Awareness. [Online]
Available at: https://warwick.ac.uk/services/counselling/informationpages/selfawareness/
[Accessed 26 May 2018].

Beaulieu, M. D., Beaulieu, C. & Pineault, R., 2011. Interpersonal Communication from the Patient Perspective: Comparison of Primary Healthcare Evaluation Instruments. NCBI, Volume 7, p. 108–123.

Borkenhagen, M., 2016. Increase Self-Awareness and Discovery Through Journal. [Online]
Available at: https://www.thero.org/2016/09/16/increase-self-awareness-and-discovery-through-journal-writing/
[Accessed 27 May 2018].

Brady, A.-M. & Quirke, M. B., 2017. Barriers to effective, safe communication and workflow between nurses and non-consultant hospital doctors during out-of-hours. International Journal for Quality in Health Care, 29 (7), p. 929–934.

Castro, J. M., Neto, I. G. & Lobão, M. J., 2017. Self-Awareness among Doctors: The Importance of Reflecting. Medicina Interna, 24(1), pp. 56-59.

Dutsch, T., 2013. The Art and Importance of Self-Awareness. [Online]
Available at: https://www.goodtherapy.org/blog/art-and-importance-of-self-awareness-120213
[Accessed 26 May 2018].

Edwards, S., n.d. Self Awareness & Effective Communication Skills. [Online]
Available at: https://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/pdf/Susie%20Edwards1.pdf
[Accessed 26 May 2018].

Haley, B., Barone, C. & Wright, P., 2017 . Relationships among active listening, self-awareness, empathy, and patient-centered care in associate and baccalaureate degree nursing students. Nursing Plus Open, Volume 3, pp. 11-16.

Han, S. & Kim, S., 2016. An Integrative Literature Review on Self-awareness Education/Training. Perspectives in Nursing Science, 13(2), pp. 59-69.

Klein, L., 2016. How Awareness Can Improve Communication: Part 1. [Online]
Available at: https://www.wellsanfrancisco.com/awareness-can-improve-communication/
[Accessed 27 May 2018].

Martin, 2016. Ways to Improve Your Self-Awareness. [Online]
Available at: https://www.cleverism.com/ways-improve-self-awareness/
[Accessed 26 May 2018].

Ozcan, C., 2011. Psychodrama: an innovative way of improving self?awareness of nurses. [Online]
Available at: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1365-2850.2011.01704.x
[Accessed 26 May 2018].

Samuelsson, K., 2010. Improved self-awareness and coping strategies for patients with acquired brain injury—A group therapy programme. Brain Injury, 24(4), pp. 823-832.

Stonehouse, D., 2010. Self-awareness and the support worker. British Journal of Healthcare Assistants, 9(10), p. 45.

Ünal, S., 2012. Evaluating the Effect of Self-Awareness and Communication Techniques on Nurses' Assertiveness and Self-Esteem. Contemporary Nurse : a Journal for the Australian Nursing Profession, 43(1).

Zhi, H. L. Z., 2017. Self-Awareness of Disease Stigma: Reflections of Healthcare Professionals. PubMed, 64(3), pp. 12-18.

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