Self-assessment is considered to be a major component of learning in public health.1 It provides an opportunity for health professionals to reflect on competency-based strengths and weaknesses in order to identify learning needs and reinforce new skills or behaviors in order to improve performance. The MCH Navigator has been collecting data from our online Self-Assessment for five years and during that time have identified a number of data trends.
With nearly 3,000 completed assessments in the database, learners have consistently reported high levels of knowledge but low levels of skills across a number of competencies. This translates into MCH professionals having high levels of understanding of a competency but not as much self-efficacy in translating this knowledge into practice. In response to this need, the MCH Navigator has developed a series of implementation briefs that provide specific learning opportunities that focus on how to implement and execute skills associated with the MCH Leadership Competencies. This implementation brief is focused on Competency 5: Communication.
Communication is the verbal, nonverbal, and written sharing of information. The communication process consists of a sender who develops and presents the message and the receiver who works to understand the message. Communication involves both the message (what is being said) and the delivery method (how the message is presented). Health communication is vital for influencing behavior that can lead to improved health.
Skillful communication is the ability to convey information to and receive information from others effectively. It includes essential components of attentive listening and clarity in writing or speaking for a variety of audiences. Other forms of communication, such as body language and tone, are equally important. An understanding of the impact of culture, language, literacy level, and disability on communication between MCH professionals and the individuals, families, and populations they serve is also important.2
The two models used most frequently in the literature are referred to as linear and transactional models.3 The linear model is the simplest communication model consisting of sender, message, receiver, channels of communication and context. Linear models focus only on the sundering and receipt of messages and do not necessarily consider communication as enabling the development of co-created meanings. Transactional models of communication are more complex. They define interpersonal communication as a reciprocal interaction in which both sender and receiver influence each other’s messages and responses as they converse.
This implementation brief will provide customized learning opportunities based on the five most commonly cited communication skills necessary to conduct linear and transactional communication pathways: 1) Verbal communication, 2) Non-verbal communication, 3) Active listening, 4) Visual communication, and 5) Feedback.
View each of the five categories below and corresponding learning opportunities for: 1) Verbal communication, 2) Non-Verbal communication, 3) Active Listening, 4) Visual communication, and 5) Feedback.
Verbal Communication: the sharing of information between individuals by using speech.
Non-Verbal Communication: clarity in writing for a variety of audiences, body language, tone, and understanding the impact of culture and other population-related concepts within communities served.
Active Listening: leads to improved productivity and a learner’s ability to influence, persuade and negotiate.
Visual Communication: leads to making the presentation of complex information easier to comprehend and may be tailored to various audiences.
Feedback: the response of the receiver to the message plays an instrumental role in improving the quality of communication.
Communication: Implementation Brief
Authors: Keisha Watson, Ph.D., MCH Navigator
Reviewers: Faculty and staff of the National Center for Cultrual Competence