Communicates effectively with a wide range of clients, peers, and professionals both verbally and non-verbally
Over the last several months, I've observed that Level II Fieldwork requires communication between professionals, clients and caregivers on a continuous basis to ensure the best care to be provided to the client. I experienced this first-hand at a skilled nursing facility (SNF) when a client's doctor came on-site to discuss his next appointment for stitch removal and to schedule a prosthetic limb fitting. I had just finished working with my client in ADL bathroom, assessing whether my client was safe and ready for discharge home, when we met his doctor and physical therapy assistant in the hallway. The doctor first spoke to the client asking how he was doing and how the stump wound was healing up. He also asked if he had noticed any phantom limb pain and the client replied, no, that he had not. The doctor turned to the PTA and me to introduce himself. I smiled, and introduced myself with a handshake. Non-verbal communication, like a handshake, is always a telling sign of a working relationship. Just like the business world, it's always a good sign when two leaders shake hands upon seeing each other because it conveys a lot about the two people who will be working together. I had not previously met this doctor and I wanted to let him know that a) we were on the same team and b) I was willing to work with him for the sake of the patient. The doctor then talked to the PTA and me about basic exercises that we had been doing with the client and our thoughts regarding his outlook for returning home. The PTA had been focusing on one-legged mobility, static and dynamic balance, and leg strengthening exercises, while I had my client incorporating endurance and dynamic balance activities, upper body strengthening exercises, and safety awareness strategies into ADLs like cooking, dressing, and bathing. I had confirmed that we just came from a showering activity -- in which I had observed his steady improvement in dynamic balance, activity endurance, enough upper body strength to transfer between surfaces, and reducing his risk for a fall through safety education and application since the previous showering activity -- and the doctor, PTA, and myself concluded after two more weeks of practicing transfers, balance techniques and endurance training, and incorporating safety awareness strategies he would be ready to go home safely. The PTA also had the same review of our client but wanted to know when he would be fitted for a prosthesis. She noted that she would like to start working with him on that as soon as possible to ensure the most success upon returning home. The doctor mentioned possible dates and talked to the client to confirm dates. Before he left, the doctor went over the key points of our conversation to ensure we were all on the same page; once confirmed, we all went on our way. It was a short but effective conversation that allowed all team members to know where the client needed to go in the upcoming two weeks to ensure a safe discharge home. He ended the session by shaking the PTA's, client's and my hand. I believe nonverbal communication can set the tone for session as well as the overall working relationship of the medical team. In this situation, I believe the message in my handshake at the beginning of the session was well received and reciprocated at the end of the session.