Personal Characteristics


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Teams collaborate on the strategies and role responsibilities needed to achieve their goals. Members cooperate with one another by contributing their best efforts to accomplish the team’s goals. Finally, they make a commitment to help one another meet the goals. It is respect that builds a team among people that work together.

Teacher Notes on Teamwork:
Working as a team means that each member of the team works together to get the job done. Health care is full of teamwork. It takes many workers to provide patient care. Even though people may feel they are working alone, they are not. It is the responsibility of each team member to communicate to one another the needs and goals of the team and of the individual team members. (SHOW OVERHEAD: TEAMWORK MODEL) The health care team may be likened to a wheel. The client/patient is the hub and the professionals are the spokes. Each member is an important part of the interdisciplinary team. Professionals with different backgrounds, different education, and different interests all work together to provide appropriate quality care. The circular nature of the wheel represents continuity of care and continuous motion toward a positive health goal. Each spoke must be equal in length, just as each team member must contribute equally in the provision of continuity of care. THIS IS WHAT TEAMWORK MEANS!
Look at the word COLLABORATION. What does this mean?
This is derived from a Latin word. In the middle of collaboration is the word LABOR. This means working together.
Teams collaborate on the strategies and role responsibilities needed to achieve their goals. Members cooperate with one another by contributing their best efforts to accomplish the team’s goals. Finally, they make a commitment to help one another meet the goals. It is respect that builds a team among people that work together.
Teamwork is successful when:

  1. Team members understand the philosophy, goals and purpose of the team.

  2. Team members understand their responsibilities.

  3. All members of the team are involved in the team process.


Types of Barriers:










Types of Barriers:
1. Physical Disabilities

Deafness or hearing loss

Blindness or impaired vision

Aphasia or speech impairments

2. Psychological

Prejudices and attitude

3. Cultural Diversity

Values, beliefs, and customs

Language differences

Eye contact

Terminal illness


Defense Mechanisms in Health Care
For each situation in a health care setting, identify the appropriate defense mechanism.

D = Denial Y = Daydreaming

R = Rationalization P = Projection

S = Repression W = Withdrawal

M = Displacement C = Compensation

1. A patient is angry because her doctor will not discharge her from the hospital, so when you carry in her lunch tray, she yells at you.

2. A patient who just had back surgery tells you he’s planning to run in a marathon in two weeks.

___3. Jennifer was an All-American soccer player who was injured trying out for the Olympic team in her sophomore year of college. She had to quit playing soccer due to the injury but decided to major in sports medicine and become an athletic trainer.

___4. A patient who is diagnosed with stomach cancer tells you, “Well, at least now I know what has been causing my indigestion.”
___5. I didn’t get that promotion to department manager because my supervisor knows a nursing instructor who doesn’t like me.
___6. A patient in the psychiatric unit has a reoccurring dream about falling out a window. Her father jumped off of a bridge.
___7. A young teenage girl confined to a wheelchair imagines herself as a ballerina.
___8. A physical therapy aide who works at a local rehabilitation center is fired, and tells everyone “It’s okay, I wanted to go back to college anyway.”
___9. A health care worker doesn’t use standard precautions when handling body fluids because he/she thinks he/she “won’t catch anything.”
___10. A co-worker is constantly criticizing your work, so you ask to be transferred to another floor.
1. 2. Nonverbal communication

be in what you say body

say it in: language

avoids blame awareness of body


Communication Skills

How is reflective listening effective?

3. Listening



ask questions

show interest

feel how other

person feels

Square Arrangement I

One-way Communication

The sender will study the figures above. With his/her back to the group, he/she will instruct the members of the group about how to draw the figures. The sender should begin with the top square and describe each in succession, taking particular note of the placement relationship of each to the preceding one. No questions are allowed.

Square Arrangement II

Two-way Communication


The sender will study the figures above. Facing the group, he/she will instruct the members of the group about how to draw them. Begin with the top square and describe each in succession, taking particular note of the placement relationship of each to the questions preceding one. The sender should answer all questions from participants and repeat the descriptions if necessary.


  1. Choose a partner and decide who will be the teller and who will be the listener.

  2. Decide how far you will read in the assigned material.

3. Read silently, cueing each other when done.

4. After you have finished reading, close the book. The teller recalls as much of the reading as possible, and attempts to duplicate the solution to the example. The listener may not speak or interrupt.

5. When the teller has exhausted his/her knowledge, the listener may share more information he/she remembers or correct any misconceptions of the teller.

  1. When the listener is finished, both partners go back over the reading very quickly to see if they got it all, or to correct any errors.

  2. The process is then repeated with the roles reversed (swapped); the listener is now the teller, and vice versa.

When you have completed the reading, work together on the “guided practice” section and then write a summary of the whole reading in your notes.

Reading includes all text, the example problems, and the guided practice.

Barriers to Communication - Types
There are many potential barriers to communication that must be recognized by those involved, especially those in supervisory positions.
Possible Barriers:

  1. Symbols or words that have different meanings.

Some words mean different things to people depending on background or culture. A large amount of terminology is used in the hospital and misunderstanding is often the cause of problems. (Example: A young radiologic technologist is unaware that supine abdomen x-rays were once called flat plate of the abdomen.)

  1. Different values within the group.

Everyone has their own value system and many do not recognize the value of others. (Example: A supervisor may speak with staff about penalties for being late for work. Some students may not value the need to be on time and may not actively listen to what the supervisor is talking about.)

  1. Different perceptions of the problem.

Problems exist in all groups, organizations, and businesses. Problems differ depending on the individual’s perception of the problem.

  1. Emphasis on status.

If people in power or higher authority in the organization consistently remind others of their station, communication will be stifled. Students may hesitate to tell you problems or concerns if you overemphasize your superiority and appear threatening.

  1. Conflict of interest.

People may be fearful of change or worried that the change will take away their advantage or invade their territory. This fear may cause people to block communication.

  1. Lack of acceptance of differences in points of view, feelings, values, or purposes.

Be aware that people have different opinions, feelings, and values. People must be allowed to express feelings and points of view. Accepting input from others promotes growth and cooperation.

  1. Feelings of personal insecurity.

Be aware that it is difficult for people to admit feelings of inadequacy. People will not offer information for fear that they may appear ignorant, or they may be defensive when criticized. This may cause difficulty when trying to work with these individuals.
Guidelines for Communicating with People with Disabilities
There are no strict rules or regulations regarding communicating with people who have disabilities. These guidelines are an attempt to help increase understanding and to clear up misconceptions.
1. Attitude

  • Your attitude matters! One of the greatest barriers people with disabilities face is negative attitudes and perceptions of those with disabilities.

  • Sometimes those attitudes are deeply rooted prejudices, based on ignorance and fear. Sometimes they are just unconscious misconceptions that result in impolite or thoughtless acts by otherwise well-meaning people.

  • Negative attitudes form an obstacle to acceptance and full participation in society for people with disabilities.

2. Disability

  • Most people think you are either disabled -- or you're not. The truth is that disability is a continuum.

  • At one end are perfect people, and there aren't many of those around. On the other end are people with severe impairments.

  • Most of us fall somewhere in between, and all of us want to be treated with respect.

3. Assumptions

  • Don't assume that a person with a disability needs your help. Ask before you try to help.

  • Make eye contact and talk directly to the person in a normal speaking voice.

  • Avoid talking through a disabled person's companion.

  • Don't use words and actions that suggest the person should be treated differently.

  • It is OK to ask a person in a wheelchair to go for a walk or to ask a blind person if they see what you mean.

  • Treat people with disabilities with the same respect and consideration you should show all people.

4. Visual Impairment

  • When communicating with someone who is blind or visually impaired, be descriptive.

  • You may have to help orient people with visual impairments, and let them know what's coming up.

  • If they are walking, tell them if they have to step up or step down, and let them know if the door is to their right or left, and warn them of possible hazards.

  • You don't have to talk loudly to people with visual impairments. Most of them hear just fine.

  • Offer to read written information for a person with a visual impairment when appropriate.

  • If you are asked to guide a person who is visually impaired, offer him/her your arm instead of grabbing his/hers.

5. Speech Impairment

  • Don't pretend you understand what a person with a speech disability says just to be polite. Listen patiently.

  • Don't complete a person's sentence unless he/she looks to you for help. Ask the person to write a word if you're not sure of what the person is saying.

6. Hearing Impairment

  • Face people with hearing impairments when you talk to them so that they can see your lips.

  • Slow the rate at which you speak and increase the level of your voice when talking to someone who is hearing impaired.

  • Communicate by writing if necessary.

7. Mobility Impairment

  • Sit or crouch down to the approximate height of a person in a wheelchair when you talk to him/her.

  • Don't lean on someone's wheelchair unless you have his/her permission, and only give a push when asked or if you have been granted permission.

  • Be aware of what is accessible and non-accessible to people in wheelchairs.

8. Learning Disabilities

  • Don't assume that you need to explain things to someone with a learning disability. He/she does not necessarily have a problem with general comprehension.

  • Don't assume a person is not listening just because you get no verbal or visual feedback. Ask him/her if he/she understands or agrees.

  • Offer to read written material if necessary.

9. Guide Dogs

  • Many people with visual or mobility impairments and some deaf people use guide dogs to help them compensate for their disabilities. These dogs are workers and not pets; they have jobs to do.

  • Always ask permission before you interact with someone's dog. Do not pet the dog or divert it from its work.

Teamwork Activity Sheet
In small groups, choose a sports team through consensus. Consider the following questions in relation to the sports team the group has chosen. Share the group’s findings with the class.

  • What is the goal?

  • How does the team accomplish this goal?

  • What behaviors of the players show their collaboration?

  • How do the players cooperate with one another to score points?

  • Do some members contribute more than others at times during the course of play?

  • Who leads the team?

  • How does the coach contribute, communicate, collaborate, and cooperate to achieve the committed goal of the team to win?

  • What do team members do when fellow team members score points?

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