Preceptor Preparation Online Course - Advanced

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Essential Competencies of Preceptors: A Focus on Working with APRN Students

Module 6: Communication and Conflict Resolution

Barriers to Facilitating Reflective Feedback Conversations

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Communicating, even under the most ideal circumstances, can be challenging. Differences in personality, culture, age, and background can complicate the verbal and nonverbal transactions between individuals attempting to communicate with one another. Not only does the message need to be sent, it also has to be received; both roles require clarity of thought, transparency, and a commitment to listening for understanding. Due to the reciprocal dialogue of reflective feedback conversations, both preceptor and student must function in the roles of sender and receiver simultaneously. Functioning in these roles well is confounded by the unique attributes of clinical practice environments that can serve as barriers to effective communication.

One of the most sabotaging effects on communication is not recognizing the impact of our own beliefs and assumptions which are often times running subconsciously. The vast majority of our assumptions influence us in ways we may not be aware of. To be effective communicators and transformational clinical educators, preceptors need to understand the Ladder of Influence and how to manage the way beliefs and assumptions can highjack our thinking and actions.

It’s important to remember that the Ladder of Influence is a normal phenomenon and describes how all humans are hardwired to take in information from their environment and make meaning of it. We can’t change it, but we can become more aware of how it may influence our communication and actions with others.

Checkpoint: Try this!

Use the following table to reflect on how you would attempt to improve communication by overcoming the barriers listed.

Hectic pace/limited time
Competing demands/priorities
Environmental distractions
Cognitive distractions
Personal beliefs/assumptions
Previous experience
Emotions (fear, anxiety, uncertainty)

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