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Interpersonal Skills of Men & Women In Health-care sector

Dr.R.Krishnaveni & Ms.R.Thamaraiselvi

Abstract - Health-care industry occupies a prominent position in the service sector with a tremendous growth in the recent years. A survey was conducted to understand the insight of the interpersonal communication skills of men and women working in hospitals. Both Doctors and the Nurses employed in the major hospitals located in Coimbatore were met and data was collected through an interview schedule. The ability to interact effectively with others was assessed between the respondents and some ideas have been recommended for promoting effective health-care services at various levels of hospital management.

I. Introduction - Interpersonal skills are the “Master Key” to success of any organization. It relates to the ability to interact with people in their daily lives, to motivate and influence them effectively in positive and predictable ways. Management rates this ability more vital than intelligence, decisiveness, knowledge or any other technical skills. Especially in hospitals, these skills become more and more important to individuals at every levels, because 85% of the success can be attributed to their interpersonal skills with a cascading impact on the whole organization. (Source: The Hindu Speaks on Management)

To establish rapport with their superiors, sub ordinates, colleagues and outside the organization, certain personal qualities like, warmth, empathy, genuineness, unconditional regard, non-defensiveness, cheerfulness, etc are identified as prerequisite to men and women in health-care profession. To maintain a strong relationship in communicative situations, they need to take care of reciprocation, gestures & postures, enthusiasm in interaction, self-presentation and also the tone of voice in their conversations. Usually, the most popular Doctors and Nurses identified in the hospitals are those who are alert, impressive, interested, friendly and excellent communicators. They create a good atmosphere with others and understand their feelings to achieve the anticipated response in the communication process. Hence, application of interpersonal skills in health care sector is highly essential for monitoring the performance of health plans, effective communication between doctors, nurses, patients and the hospital staffs and also to obtain customer satisfaction through their unique quality services.

A survey was undertaken to assess the ability to speak and respond effectively among men and women in hospitals. The main objective of the study is to assess the levels of interpersonal communication skills among the Doctors and Nurses working in multi-specialty hospitals and to suggest ideas to improve their skills. It may lead them to prove their interpersonal effectiveness in terms of quality services rendered by them and build good relationships with others for the professional success.

   

A research made by Benny Joseph and Neharika Vohra on “Characteristics of Effective Communicators: Perception of Indian Managers” reveals about seventeen distinctive characteristics of effective communicators like clarity, understanding the receiver, concern for others, good listening skills, appropriate language, design to make the receiver understand, proper non-verbal communication, open to feedback, possess emotional maturity, perceived expertise, directness, understanding of the context integrity, good persuasion skills, humorous, analytical and organized and appropriate tone of voice among the respondents. The findings and recommendations of this study have inspired to undertake a survey on interpersonal skills of men and women in the health-care industry.

The main thrust areas considered for this communication survey were the five basic skills that can measure the interpersonal effectiveness of the communicators like:

• Focusing skills
• Interpretation skills
• Analyzing skills
• Responding skills
• Remembering skills

II. Methodology - To study the level of interpersonal skills prevailing among men and women in the medical profession and five different hospitals with similar facilities were selected at convenience. An interview schedule consisting of twenty five questions with five point rating scale was used to assess the level, style, mode and factors of communication among the individuals. The sample included twenty five doctors and twenty five nurses chosen at random. The respondents at different levels were interviewed based on their behavior and feelings during the formal communicative situations. Based on the thrust areas, responses of Doctors and Nurses were observed to compare their interpersonal communicative levels in the organizational settings.

III. Analysis - Good interpersonal communication is the bridge that spans the gap between the minds of the Doctor and the Patient and similarly between the Nurse and the Patient. It enables them to understand the patients, analyze their problems, respond to their enquiries and also influence them towards the treatment process. Based on the five thrust areas, the responses of the Doctors and the Nurses were analyzed in the following ways:

Focusing skills - It includes the ability to weigh all the available evidences for making a decision, sensitivity towards their patient’s feeling in communicative situations, the strategies adopted in the interaction process, perception of the responses given by the patient and also focuses on the main point of a message rather than reacting to details.

Table: 1 showing the responses for Focusing skills

Respondents

Excellent %

 Average %

Poor%

Total

Doctors

56

40

4 25
Nurses

60

36

4 25

The above table shows that 56% of the total number of Doctors and 60% of the total number of Nurses seem to possess adequate focusing skills during their conversation with the patients.

• Interpreting skills – It includes the ability to relate different ideas to the interactions, listening to understand the patients, expressing immediately to react, handling stressful situations and recognizing the vital points to support the subject of interactions with the patient.

Table: 2 showing the responses for Interpreting skills

Respondents

Excellent %

 Average %

Poor%

Total

Doctors

44

56

- 25
Nurses

36

64

- 25

The table reveals that both Doctors and Nurses must improve their interpreting skills during their formal interactions to excel the interpersonal skills. Only 44% of Doctors and 36% of Nurses are capable of interpreting the expressions of their patients.

continued..

Contributing Writer: Ms. R. Thamaraiselvi - Faculty with more than 12 yrs of teaching management to graduates and executives. An efficient Corporate Trainer in human resource area. A free lancer to some of the leading publications in India. Pursuing Phd in the Organizational behavioural area.

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