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What is reflective practice?

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Reflective practice is when you look back and at your work (experiences) and analyse it. You assess your decision making/actions/performance and relate it to your working practice. Reflective practice helps to create new ideas. To focus on how you are able to carry out your job role more effectively and gain a more in depth knowledge.

Why is reflective practice important ?
Reflective practice is an important part of working as a social care worker. This is because it assists an individual to identify their areas of strengths and weaknesses. So they are then able to work on such area’s or gain further support. It helps social care workers to develop and understanding of practice events.

How reflective practice contributes to improving the quality of service provision ? Reflective practice is essential to ensure all service users are supported to the best of our ability’s. Reflective practice helps to improve our services and ensure high standards are achieved through ever changing circumstances with each individual we care for. Social care workers are able to build on their strengths. By looking at how they can overcome and improve on weakness in reflection of their experiences. This will enable us to meet service users’ needs more appropriately and efficiently. Which ensures a service which is always changing for the better. How standards can be used to help a social care worker reflect on their practice ? Social care standards are agreed codes of practice for social care workers and employers of social care workers. They define the principles of good working practice of which all care workers should adhere to. A social care worker will have an in depth knowledge of the care standards. They can use these standards to reflect on their working role. As these are the guidelines that should be followed.

a) It is important for a social care worker to seek feedback on their performance. This is because they may not be aware of what areas they need to improve on. They may not also be aware that they are carrying out something that maybe wrong. For example they could be moving and handling a service user incorrectly. If they were not corrected on this it would leave both them and service user at risk. It is also important to promote the social care workers confidence with positive feedback and make them feel good about their role. This enables a social care worker to feel that they are doing well within their job role and want them to improve further.

b) People may take constructive feedback in different ways. Some people may take it in a negative way and feel that they are being criticised. Other’s will take it in a positive way and see it is to help them improve for the better.

c) It is important for a social care worker to use feedback to improve their practice. This is because it supports the social care worker in becoming more knowledgeable and experienced. They are able to work confidently within different situations supporting services users from different back grounds with a vast range of disabilities. A social care worker who has an in depth knowledge is able to work on their own initiative and will work safely following policies and procedures. This also enables the social care worker to collaborate effectively with staff members as well as GP’s, Nurses, social worker’s, OT’s and other outside agencies. The social care worker would have an awareness to identify risk, abuse, medical issues and report this further. This is beneficial for the service user and creates a high standard of work ethics for the company.

Personal Development Plan.
How can a Personal Development Plan identify improvements in a social care workers understanding and practice ? Bii) If a social care worker has a development plan it allows time for reflection of their own practice. They are able to identify areas where they feel that they may be struggling with in regards to their working practice. They are then able to work on these areas and improve on them to become a better social care worker. Identify sources of support used for planning and reviewing a care workers development ? Biii) There are a range of different sources of support in planning and reviewing your development. A social care worker can look at the Social Care Code of Practice, Laws and policies. The social care worker can read books and look on the internet. The social care worker can also use previous supervisions which identify areas that need to be improved on. Idenitfy people who can help you develop your knowledge, understanding and practice. Biiv). People who can assist to develop a social care workers knowledge and practice are; Service users

Team Leaders
Care workers
Care Trainer
Occupational Therapists
Social workers

How can the identified people help you to appreciate your strengths and area’s for development? Bv) A a social care worker we are always learning from experiences and reflecting on our practice with every service user. Each service user is an individual with different care needs. Our experiences with each service user helps us to learn and gain in depth knowledge of a range or different backgrounds/ disabilities/ needs and living situations. The service users help us to develop our knowledge and practice on a daily basis. We are able to collaborate with other staff members such as Managers, team leaders, care trainers and other care workers. They support us with regular advice on different situations. We have regular supervisions which help to identify areas we need to work on. A social care worker goes on regular training which also ensures the development and high standards of our working practices.

Social care workers always communicate to one another and have their own experiences and knowledge. By talking to one another we are able to pass on information that can help development. GP’s, Nurses, dieticians, social workers can advise social care workers on the best ways on how to support and care for a service user effectively. They have a vast knowledge base and can share this with a social care worker. If a social care worker is carrying out something incorrectly they will advise the social care worker the correct way to care for the service user. Describe how your own values, beliefs and personal experiences affect you working practice ?

Ci) I have my own values, belief system and attitudes which have developed throughout my lifetime. The people who are a part of my life and my experiences have contributed to how I see society. These experiences and people have shaped me into the person that I am today. I have been a social care worker for the past eleven years. In this time I have developed and built upon my own values and beliefs. I have always had a caring nature and a genuine interest in helping others. When I first became a care worker I was quite naive to the fact that not everyone has the same values as me when it comes to caring. However, I have learned that this is not always the case. Some family members do not have much of a relationship or interest in the service user. This used to really upset me. However, I have had to develop a professional understanding and a non-judgemental approach.

This is because this is the reality of the world we live in. Not everyone has a good relationship with persons in their families for a variety of different reasons. As a care worker I am there to provide support to the best of my ability. I have empathy for my service users but this is on a professional basis. I will not make emotional attachments with service users. However, I still carry out my role with the same caring nature. In the years I have been working as a carer I have supported and worked with a diverse range of people with different cultural backgrounds. I worked for a year in an African Caribbean Day Centre. All of the staff members and clients were black and were from Africa or the Caribbean or were of decent of these countries. I was the only white staff member within the team. I was born in Dublin and raised by my Irish parents as a Catholic. There were vast differences within our cultures and heritage. The service users and staff were Christian and very religious. They would carry out morning worship every day.

The staff also worked at a very slow pace which I was not used too. However, after a little while I calmed down and realised the clients were also very relaxed. I found out, this is a part of the Caribbean culture they do things in more of a relaxed manner. The meals at the day centre were also very different to what I was used to eating. The clients ate goat curries, yams etc.. I loved the food. This was the main part of the client’s day and they really enjoyed their meals. Some of the clients had very strong Caribbean accents and talked pat talk. Being born in Dublin and raised in England in a very white area. I was not used to West Indian accents. At the beginning I did struggle to understand what some clients were saying to me. However, after a short amount of time I understood the client’s accents.

Even though I have different culture and religious beliefs I got involved in all aspects of the day centre and very much enjoyed and respected the Caribbean culture. I was moved to the day centre from one that was nearby. Some of the workers were not impressed that I had been chosen to work at the centre. There was one particular individual who went out of their way to discriminate against me. This one staff member always made comments in regards to the colour of my skin. This staff member went out of her way to try and exclude me. I did report this too my manger as it was effecting my working practice. This experience has enabled me to feel what it is like to be discriminated against. This has ensured that I always ensure I use inclusive practice and respect the beliefs and cultures of others.

Inclusive practice.

Inclusive practice is to promote fairness and indiscrimination for all persons. It is used to promote diversity and equality for service users and care staff. This is regardless of a person’s race, gender, age, sex, beliefs, disability, sexual orientation, and cultural background. Inclusion refers to providing opportunities to everyone. A successful and reliable care worker will promote equal opportunities by understanding that every individual has different needs. When an individual’s needs are acknowledged and understood it helps a person feel a sense of belonging. By then meeting the needs and giving opportunities we are providing fair rights and inclusive practice. Inclusion practice is used within the care sector to promote self-esteem and help a person to reach their full potential. So they can identify their own rightful place in society.

Exclusion is discriminatory practice where individuals or groups are denied their rights. People can become excluded because of many reasons this could be because of poverty, disability, illness, race, sex gender, sexual orientation or beliefs. Social exclusion prevents fair treatment and equal opportunities. It prohibits people to have feelings of self-worth, understanding and a sense of belonging within society. Examples of exclusion;

Not having disabled access in buildings for persons with a disability. Having separate day centres for people with dementia.  To not take service users on a trip because they are unable to mobilise independently. To not include all service users in watching a film because they may be visually impaired. To think a person does not have capacity because they are disabled or elderly. To make assumptions or stereotypes in regards to a person’s culture, back ground or beliefs. To not have an understanding and to be ignorant of the different needs individuals have.

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