Importance of interpersonal skills in the caring profession

There’s also the question of kindness in the healing professions — the idea that patients are more likely to respond well to compassionate doctors and healers who touch their patients.

I think that’s probably true. In my day job, I’ve been part of a lot of different trainings for physicians, and one of the amazing things we’ve discovered is that the part physicians really love is the interpersonal skills, learning how to talk to their patients gently and kindly. We started including that in basically everything we teach, whether we’re teaching infection control or HIV care or breastfeeding support or whatever. The first component is always, “How do you talk to patients so they’ll listen?” The doctors absolutely love that, because it turns out they’ve been yearning to connect kindly; they just didn’t have the tools. That is the first thing they see results from: talking to their patients differently brings them different results as medical professionals. It seems to bring better outcomes. Often, doctors are afraid that if they are kind they’ll lose their authority, or patients won’t take them seriously, so it’s valuable to have an outsider validate the idea that you can be a respected professional and still be kind and generous to people, and that you don’t have to be stern and harsh to be an authority figure.

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ALANNA SHAIKH – How I’m preparing to get Alzheimer’s

Global health expert Alanna Shaikh gave an unexpected and moving talk at TEDGlobal 2012, called “How I’m preparing to get Alzheimer’s.” In it, she told the story of her father’s struggle with the disease, and outlined some strategies she’d devised in case dementia struck her later in life, too. The TED Blog was curious: How is her experiment going?

There’s also the question of kindness in the healing professions — the idea that patients are more likely to respond well to compassionate doctors and healers who touch their patients.

I think that’s probably true. In my day job, I’ve been part of a lot of different trainings for physicians, and one of the amazing things we’ve discovered is that the part physicians really love is the interpersonal skills, learning how to talk to their patients gently and kindly. We started including that in basically everything we teach, whether we’re teaching infection control or HIV care or breastfeeding support or whatever. The first component is always, “How do you talk to patients so they’ll listen?” The doctors absolutely love that, because it turns out they’ve been yearning to connect kindly; they just didn’t have the tools. That is the first thing they see results from: talking to their patients differently brings them different results as medical professionals. It seems to bring better outcomes. Often, doctors are afraid that if they are kind they’ll lose their authority, or patients won’t take them seriously, so it’s valuable to have an outsider validate the idea that you can be a respected professional and still be kind and generous to people, and that you don’t have to be stern and harsh to be an authority figure.

Read her summary here.

Alanna Shaikh at TED2013, a year after her powerful talk about Alzheimer's disease.

Problems, problems, problems …

“You just can’t provide a consistent level of care if you have to keep recruiting new people”, said Sue Gregory, who has been a care home nurse in North Yorkshire for 13 years.

“Its very simple, not many people want to do this kind of work, and this is a profession that relies on you getting to know the people you are looking after.”

The figures show that social care providers are struggling to retain their staff, with the industry having a staff turnover rate of 27% – nearly twice the average for other professions in the UK.

“This is not the job I’m going to be doing for the rest of my career” said 25 year old Trudi Hewitt, who works at a care home in Scarborough, North Yorkshire.

Those trying to provide social care services say without radical change, there will not be enough people to care for an ageing population.

A Department of Health spokesperson said: “Social care jobs have increased at an average of 3 per cent a year since 2010, but we want to see improvements in turnover rates, with talented staff attracted to a robust sector backed by an additional £2bn over the next three years.

Full article here

Adult social care worker providing care
photo is borrowed from the article

Personal account of care work in the UK – HERE

 

An interesting article

The future is emotional

Human jobs in the future will be the ones that require emotional labour: currently undervalued and underpaid but invaluable

“… Many of the most important jobs of the future will require soft skills, not advanced algebra.

Back in 1983, the sociologist Arlie Russell Hochschild coined the term ‘emotional labour’ to describe the processes involved in managing the emotional demands of work. …

… Today, the rapid shrinking of the industrial sector means that most of us have jobs requiring emotional skills, whether working directly with customers or collaborating with our corporate ‘team’ on a project. …

…  A growing real-world demand for workers with empathy and a talent for making other people feel at ease requires a serious shift in perspective. It means moving away from our singular focus on academic performance as the road to success. It means giving more respect, and better pay, to workers too often generically dismissed as ‘unskilled labour’. And, it means valuing skills more often found among working-class women than highly educated men. …”

Full article here

Information on Alzheimer’s Disease

LISA GENOVA – What you can do to prevent Alzheimer’s

Cardiovascular health. High blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, smoking, high cholesterol, have all been shown to increase our risk of developing Alzheimer’s. Some autopsy studies have shown that as many as 80 percent of people with Alzheimer’s also had cardiovascular disease. Aerobic exercise has been shown in many studies to decrease amyloid beta in animal models of the disease. So a heart-healthy Mediterranean lifestyle and diet can help to counter the tipping of this scale.

A list of TED talks on the topic.