Aged Care Professionals – The Person Centred Approach

November 8, 2012
November 8, 2012 Lindsay Tighe

Aged Care Professionals – The Person Centred Approach

In a workshop I ran recently that focussed on applying the ‘Person Centred Approach’ by asking Better Questions, a community nurse advised me that he had found it to be quite confronting to take a look at how much of a teller he was within his role. He primarily worked with elderly clients and had always assumed that it was his role to be more of a ‘fixer’ or ‘teller’ with clients as that was what was expected of him.

In our workshop we invite aged care professionals to reflect on their more habitual or natural responses in situations where they are asked for advice or expected to give an answer. Of course, what is important in this reflection is the need for absolute honesty, and clearly, in this instance, the gentleman had been honest and not liked what he then realised about himself.

It is good to acknowledge that when we recognize something about ourselves that we don’t like it doesn’t feel very nice initially and it is easy to choose to bury or ignore what we now know on the basis that we hope it will go away, which of course it doesn’t. Once you are aware it is impossible to not now be aware, albeit we can choose to ignore it, which often feels like a more easy or comfortable option.

I would like to suggest that awareness is a good thing and invite you to consider it from a different perspective. The reality is that no one is perfect and being human actually means we are all fallible. So when we have the opportunity for some honest self-reflection and realise something that isn’t ideal about ourselves my suggestion is to actually feel good about it!

The good news is that when you are aware of the issue and you can actually choose to do something about it otherwise, given that we are creatures of habit, we have a tendency to keep doing the same things in an unconscious repetitive way. The good thing about having a realization about ourselves is that we can choose different ways of doing things that will give us different results. Without the awareness, there would be no opportunity or choice to change.

So rather than feeling bad about what you learn about yourself in the process of doing some honest reflection, my suggestion is to celebrate knowing what you now know because there is an opportunity for you to do something about it. In the instance, with the gentleman on my workshop, I encouraged him to let go of feeling confronted and embrace what he had learnt on the basis that this initial feeling is an enabler of change and him being able to be even better-aged care professional. In addition with the awareness he now had, he could start to consciously choose to be more of an ‘asker,  meaning he could now tap into and release the potential in his clients going forward.

Being prepared to handle the initial adverse reaction from honest self-reflection becomes paramount to being a better practitioner on the basis that knowing the things that we aren’t doing as well as we could enable us all to learn, grow and change to be even better-aged care professionals than we are already!