Inter-professional education allows students studying to be health professionals to work as part of team on a piece of work and to learn about different health professionals that there is (Barr et all 2005). In this assignment I will use Gibbs (1998) model of reflection (see appendix 1) to reflect on some of the work that the group and myself carried out and ways in which it could be improved.
The aspects of working on the group poster that I enjoyed the most were getting to meet new people and learning about the different health professionals and how they work together. In addition to this I enjoyed thinking and researching which health professionals would help Joe and in what way they would help him. I also enjoyed helping to design the poster itself. A team is a group that work together, you don’t “become a team until you have developed methods of working together and relationships have been formed” (Levin 2004, pp. 7). I agree with this quote from Levin because if relationships haven’t been formed individuals may find it more difficult to put forward opinions and speak in front of others. To work effectively as a team methods of working do need to be put in place. As a team we did do this by making rules at our first meeting. These rules were not followed and I now feel I should have reminded group members about them.
I found keeping in contact with some of the group members difficult. Verbal and non – verbal communication is important between health professionals and between health professionals and the patient. If people do not communicate effectively, it can have a bad outcome. In some cases this may lead to death. “Analysis of 2455 sentinel events reported to the Joint Commission for Hospital Accreditation revealed that the primary root cause in over 70% was communication failure. Reflecting the seriousness of these occurrences, approximately 75% of these patients died.” (Flink et al, cited in Leonard et al 2004, p. 86.) One member of the group in particular, missed a lot of the meetings as although we were sending her the email and texts she never received them. It turned out she had a new number, which she didn’t inform us about. When we did get her new number she did attend more meetings and became more involved in the process of the poster development. In the future I would ask group members their preferred way of me getting in touch with them or I would use web ct to communicate and arrange meetings. However, the internet was not always reliable in halls as it did not work on many occasions. To solve this I had to try and get in contact with my group members by phone. Even though it may be time consuming In the future I would put it on web ct, send an email and a text. After three ways of communicating it would be more likely that all group members would receive the information of when and where the meetings were. The use of web ct would also allow the group lecturer to see that meetings were being arranged.
During the group meeting itself I felt there was quite a calm atmosphere, although group members including myself sometimes got distracted and spoke about something other than the poster; on more than one occasion we spoke about what we were doing at the weekend. I feel this was sometimes due to certain group members being behind in tasks so there was nothing more other group members could do until they had completed their part of the task. When this happened, sometimes we helped each other to complete what another group member may have been struggling with or never managed to get finished because of other course work. We understood this in some circumstances. This shows some of the good teamwork that went on within the group. On one occasion I felt quite undermined by one group member because, as a group we had decided to use a ring of people for the poster but she didn’t like the idea and refused to use it, as a result of this we came up with another idea which we gladly all agreed on and it worked well. If this had happened again and the original idea was a definite favourite of the group I think the group should approach the individual, as the majority liked the idea. To make the meetings more effective we should have kept a note of the main points that were discussed and the individual’s thoughts and feelings towards the discussion (Germov and Williams 2001. PP 127 – 129). This would have been helpful to look back on for writing the group reports, this assignment and in particular the peer group marking.
I feel I was able to contribute my time and effort well to the group. Even though I was on placement for seven weeks I made sure I didn’t miss any of the meetings. I wanted to be able to voice my opinions and to help in every aspect of working towards the poster. According to Belbin (2001) there are many roles you can take on as a group member. These include plant, resource investigator, co-ordinator, shaper, monitor evaluator, team worker, implementer, completer finisher and specialist. (Belbin 2009). I believe my role in the group was clearly a co-ordinator as I along with another group member arranged the meetings and towards the end reminded, people about meetings as this was something I noticed needed to be done for some group members. I promoted decisions by being the one who came up with the idea of the title ‘Help is at Hand’. This was agreed by everyone to be a good heading for the poster. I also put forward my ideas and opinions. I do feel I should have spoken up more when the other co-ordinator in the group decided she didn’t like the idea that the majority of us liked. However as I stated earlier the end result of the poster was not only in my opinion but the group as a whole, positive. In addition to a co-ordinator I also feel I was a complete finisher as I was conscientious enough to get the tasks done in time and checked for errors. A weakness, which I had, was worrying unduly (Belbin 2009). The reason behind this was because some group members were not putting as much work in a myself and another group member; so I felt I would have to lower their score on the peer group marking which would also lower my overall grade. I found this unfair but it was something that had to be done.
There was one member of the group that I got on well with – this was the other co-ordinator. The reason I got on well with her was because she attended all meetings and we worked well as a pair. On one occasion a member of the team hadn’t done the report that they were suppose to do and I realised this late at night and myself and the other co-ordinator had to work on this over the phone to meet the deadline. I wouldn’t say there were members of the group that I found it difficult to work with, but some members didn’t contribute to the task as much as they should have and follow the rules that were made in the first meeting. This annoyed me as they were nice people and I didn’t want to fall out with them over approaching them about attending meetings.
I feel I helped to solve the problem of the team member who wasn’t attending much as I got her new number and also found that contacting her through a social networking site to remind her about the meetings was somewhat easier. I do feel that the ways in which you communicate with people are specific to each individual and everyone has their preferences. In the future I will ask my group members their individual preferred way of communication, even though this may take more time, it will be more effective.
To conclude this assignment, the group were strongly supportive of each other because when one group member was on placement we still kept in contact with her, sending her pictures that we were going to put on the poster and the layouts of the poster to get her opinion on it.
I feel the group had two clear leaders. “A leader is defined as one who influences others to accomplish a goal or objective. This person contributes to the organization and cohesion of a group.” (Wilson 2009). A leader can be beneficial to teamwork as they make sure that the group is on task and that deadlines are met. They will encourage group members and may give information on how to carry a task out. One of which was myself as I mentioned earlier. I think that this helped the group otherwise meetings would not have been arranged and report deadlines would not have been met. One of the occasions when I did this was when I sent a copy of the Harvard referencing guidelines to all group members.
I was very pleased with the overall outcome of the poster as were the rest of the group. The poster stood out well which was good but there was some spelling and grammar errors in it which we would have lost marks for. Next time this should be checked by the whole group to be sure that there is no mistakes and sent to the tutor to have a look at before presenting it.
Reflecting on this assignment I have used a range of sources as evidence for what I have said; these include books, websites and journals.