I took up a degree course in social sciences because I had a passion of helping other people in their life problems. Through the course, I will be able to make a difference in the lives of vulnerable people and this will be of much satisfaction to me. The course will help in my personal and professional development as I will learn communication and interpersonal skills, ethical issues in practice and the different values that relate to health and social care. These are skills that I will carry in my future practice. Communication will help me during interaction with my colleagues and seniors. Through communication, I will also be able to interact with the service users.
Currently I have a long-term goal of ensuring that I graduate with a second class honours degree in Health and Social Care and get into the job market by 2017. I plan to achieve this by focusing on the medium term goal of always completing my assignments in time and being diligent in my university work. This will enable me to get good grades that will help me achieve my long term objectives. In addition, I will volunteer my services to some organisations so that I gain the needed knowledge and experience for the job market.
I plan to leverage on my different strengths which include good communication and interpersonal skills, able to work without supervision, ability to share ideas and information and the fact that I enjoy to work to my best and always look forward to develop new skills. I will use these strengths to take advantage of the opportunities that I have while in school. The opportunities include lots of books available from the library and on the web, availability of lecturers to offer guidance and the opportunity to learn from peers in the group study. However, I also have some weaknesses one of which include the fact that I am shy and may get nervous while communicating in public. The other weakness is that I get easily distracted while reading and I am not a good time keeper as I get to the university late. I am also faced with different threats including family commitments that make it difficult for me to balance family responsibilities and my studies, limited experience in the field of health and social care and I do not have sufficient practical skills. However, I plan to work hard to eliminate some of my weaknesses so that I get more assertive and remove shyness and nervousness while talking to people in public.
I have performed a needs analysis and realised that I need some skills for my professional development. Some of the skills needed include communication skills, especially listening skills. I will need to practice for my presentation and learn to listen more to my peers and also improve on my history taking skills. As has been mentioned, communication skills will be very important for my practice. This is because the communication and listening skills will help me in communicating with my colleagues, my seniors and service users (Stegaroiu & Talal, 2014). Listening skills will help me better understand the demands of the service users thereby engage them more in care delivery (Weaver, 2012). This will go a long way in improving the quality of care that we deliver in the institution. To help me achieve my targets of attaining the communication skills, I will use the Covey’s 7-habit framework. I will be proactive, begin with an end in mind and put first things first (Birrell et al. 1998). I will also think win-win and seek first to understand before I am understood. Through this framework, I will set small and realistic targets that can help me improve my communication skills. I will also respect my peers and receive and appreciate feedback from the on how best I can improve my communication skills (Birrell et al. 1998). I will also do a thorough self-reflection of my performance in improving the communication skills by accessing my anxiety levels during presentation.
Self reflection and peer reflection will go a long way in helping me understand the different areas of weakness that I need to improve on. Honest peer reflection will also help me get mentors and role models who I could learn from. All these will help in improving the communication skills. Communication will help me in networking (Weaver, 2012). I plan to engage networks from different sites including LinkedIn, Prospects.co.uk, CVlibrary.co.uk and NHS Direct jobs and alumni. These networks will be specifically important as they will help me in my personal and professional development. The other benefits of networks include shadowing, project work, development of resources, internships or employment (DeJong, 2012). The networks will also enhance my reflective practice and through communication within the networks, I will learn of the best available evidence that I can use for my practice. This will enhance my professional confidence and standing within the profession. Through the networks, I can get mentors and also get other people who I can mentor. I will learn from my mentor and impart these skills to the people who I mentor. This will be of great satisfaction to me as I shall have participated in the professional development of one of my professional colleagues. Apart from the satisfaction, I shall have also fulfilled the requirements of practice of sharing ideas and information and participating in the personal and professional development of other colleagues. The other skill that I have realised that needs improvement is the management skill. This is because I have not been able to effectively balance between university life and my family responsibilities. Management skills are specifically important because they will help me in my future practice when I will be put as a manager of a team. Management skills are equally important when working with others in a team (Lazarus, 2013).
In this, I plan to leverage on my strengths and improve on my weaknesses. I will have to find a good balance between my family responsibilities and my school work. In this regard, I will also use the Covey’s model and focus on priorities. Specifically, I will have to have a reading timetable and ensure that I follow the timetable to the later. I will also have to organise my time and ensure that my study time is my study time and my family time is my family time although minor variations could be allowed. I also plan to have specific tools to ensure that I have a conducive reading environment at home. The Covey’s 7-habits will help me in prioritising the most important of all these depending on the time in question. This will enable me to put first things first and learn to understand my family members. Management skills will be equally important for my future practice (Rhodes et al. 2004). This is because management encompasses all the other skills like communication and interpersonal skills among others. I will also seek the guidance of my mentor and peers so that I develop efficient management skills that will help in practice. The third skill that I will need to develop is presentation and writing skill. These are skills that are important in generation and presentation of reports that can help in managerial decision making in any organisation (McMahon, Wolffe, Wolfe & Brooker, 2013). However, presentation skills are mainly based on personality since I am shy and may get nervous while speaking to people in public. To ensure that I improve on my presentation skills, I will always plan my presentation well in advance. I will calm down and take a deep breath before I start the presentation. In addition, I will attend writing clinics to help me improve my writing skills. It is important to note that while in practice, I may be sent by our team leader or administrator to represent him or her in one of the meetings. I will therefore need to have adequate presentation skills so that our team or care facility is considered in a positive note (Weinstein, 2015).
Related to writing and presentation skills is referencing. This is where I will need to acknowledge all the sources that I use while generating reports. Referencing is particularly important because it will help me get full marks for my assignments in the university. To help me improve on my referencing skills, I will use the internet to get the appropriate means of referencing. I will also learn on in text referencing so that I acknowledge all the sources used within my paper. I plan to carry these skills to my future practice and ensure that I will generate professional reports that are appropriately referenced. In conclusion, this reflective account has highlighted the different ways in which I can improve my personal and professional development. There are skills that will help me in my future practice. Some of these skills include communication, listening, presentation, management and interpersonal skills. The Covey’s 7-habit model will help me in acquisition and development of these skills.
Birrell, J.R., Ostlund, M.R., Egan, M.W., James, Y.R. et al. (1998). Collaboration, communities and covey: A model for personal and professional change. The Clearing House, 71(6), pp. 359-362.
DeJong, S.M. (2012). Networking, professionalism and the internet. Psychiatric Times, 29(12), pp. 35-37.
Lazarus, A. (2013). Soften up: the importance of soft skills for job success. Physician Executive, 39(5), pp. 40-45. McMahon, J.M., Wolffe, K.E., Wolfe, J. & Brooker, C. (2013). Maine’s employability skills program. Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness, 107(6), pp. 515-522.
Rhodes, D.L., Emery, C.R., Tian, R.G., Shurden, M.C., Tolbert, S.H., Oertel, S. & Antonova, M. (2004). Leader ethic: A cross-cultural examination of Covey’s effective habits. Allied Academies of International Conference, 9(1), pp. 65-70.
Stegaroiu, I. & Talal, M. (2014). The importance of developing internal communication strategy. Valahian Journal of Economic Studies, 5(1), pp. 63-70.
Weaver, D. (2012). Supporting different methods of communication. Nursing & Residential Care, 14(5), pp. 220-223.
Weinstein, J. (2015). Teamworking skills for social workers. Journal of Social Work, 15(1), pp. 104-105