Personal Qualities of a Health Care Worker: Part II

personal qualities of a health care worker

Our health science teachers often talk about the need for more content regarding the personal qualities of a health care worker. What do I think? I think way more people than just health care workers need some lessons on personal qualities. So, yeah, we got that! We have a three-unit personal qualities of a health care worker module that covers personal characteristics, the health care team, and personal management skills. Last week, I shared Part I: Personal Characteristics lesson plans. So, here’s Part II: The Health Care Team.

The Health Care Team

Everyone in the health care field is part of a team. What makes an effective team?

  • Mutual Respect: Team members must have respect for each other. Respect must be given to the various opinions, contributions, and expertise of all team members. Hurtful criticism is never appropriate. Respect also includes being considerate of differences in ethnicity, culture, age, gender, lifestyle, or economic status.
  • Healthy Interpersonal Relationships: Team members must make every effort to get along and to create healthy relationships. This includes being cooperative, supportive, honest, and responsible.
  • Open Communication: It is important that team members feel free to express their opinions. This involves using suitable verbal and nonverbal communication. Likewise, team members must be attentive listeners when another member is speaking.
  • Frequent Conferences: Conferences, or meetings, are used to keep all team members aware of a patient’s status. Conferences are also used to outline the duties of each team member and to establish goals. Effective teams must hold frequent conferences and encourage open discussion.
  • Team Identity: Every team member must perform tasks with a sense of team identity. Team identity is recognizing oneself as a part of a whole and working toward a common purpose. This sense of identity allows the team to collaborate to solve problems and respond well to emergency conditions.
  • Positive Interactions: Health care workers must remain positive in their interactions with teammates. This requires hard work and dedication because it is not always easy to be encouraging and optimistic. Even though these traits may not come naturally, team members must commit themselves to showing patience, open-mindedness, and professionalism in all interactions.

In addition to all these team characteristics, conflict resolution must be part of the personal qualities of a health care worker. The art of compromise and give-and-take will help lead towards conflict resolution.

Conflict resolutions strategies include:

  • The Win/Win Strategy
  • The Willingness to Resolve Strategy
  • The Broadening Perspectives Strategy

It is also important to understand team roles. Roles include task roles, maintenance roles, and self-centered roles.

Some task roles include:

  • Initiator: Suggests new ideas and provides direction.
  • Information Seeker: Asks for facts and clarification.
  • Information Giver: Provides helpful and relevant information.
  • Opinion Seeker: Asks for the opinion of the team.
  • Opinion Giver: States personal beliefs and opinions.
  • Elaborator: Expands upon the ideas of others.
  • Evaluator: Acts as the critical thinker and identifies problems.
  • Clarifier: Summarizes ideas and pulls concepts together.
  • Energizer: Motivates the team to take action.
  • Recorder: Keeps written records of team goals and ideas.
  • Procedural Technician: Assists with preparation and provides materials.

Some maintenance roles include:

  • Encourager: Provides positive feedback.
  • Harmonizer: Resolves conflict and monitors team unity.
  • Compromiser: Offers solutions that everyone agrees on.
  • Tension Releaser: Relieves tension through friendly humor.
  • Gatekeeper: Encourages all members to participate.
  • Observer: Evaluates group progress.
  • Follower: Accepts and supports team ideas.

Self-centered roles are typically negative and these roles should be redirected:

  • Aggressor: Gives negative feedback and hurtful comments.
  • Dominator: Monopolizes discussion and manipulates others.
  • Blocker: Resists the team’s ideas without reason.
  • Recognition Seeker: Boasts about personal achievements.
  • Help Seeker: Acts helpless to avoid work.
  • Confessor: Seeks emotional support.
  • Clown: Goofs off and uses inappropriate humor.
  • Deserter: Withdraws and does not contribute.
  • Special Interest Pleader: Presents irrelevant personal interests.

Members of a health care team must learn to incorporate their personal strengths into useful team roles.

Desirable Personal Qualities of a Health Care Worker: Leadership

Leadership is the ability to motivate people to work together and to achieve a common goal. There are a few types of leadership styles, all of which have advantages and disadvantages:

  • Democratic Leader: Democratic leaders are team-oriented. They listen to opinions of others and encourage all individuals to participate. Democratic leaders take responsibility for decisions by guiding the group to a solution.
  • Laissez-faire Leader: Laissez-faire is a French term which means “to let alone.” These types of leaders allow individuals to function independently. They enforce few rules and avoid making decisions unless they are absolutely forced to. Laissez-faire leaders take little responsibility for team actions.
  • Autocratic Leader: Autocratic leaders are sometimes called dictators because they maintain total rule. They do not ask for the opinion of the group, and they expect the group to follow without question. Autocratic leaders take full responsibility for the decision-making process.

Characteristics of an effective leader include:

  • Takes initiative
  • Respects others
  • Works well with a group
  • Leads by example
  • Understands personal strengths and weaknesses
  • Communicates successfully
  • Recognizes abilities in others
  • Maintains high standards
  • Conducts productive meetings
  • Keeps an open mind
  • Handles conflict appropriately
  • Adapts to change
  • Demonstrates integrity
  • Practices patience and self-control
  • Attributes success to the team

Click here for Part III: Personal Management Skills.

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