I believe it is possible for your own personal preferences, attitudes, beliefs and heritage to impact on your working practice if you allow it to. There could be a number of different issues that could cause this such as:
- Religious Beliefs
- Re-affirmed Belief Systems
- Learnt Behaviours
The above issues could all impact on your day to day working practice as any of the above experiences could affect the way you interact or deal with others due to your personal experiences and attachments to the situation. From my own personal experience of delivering a domestic violence programme with offenders it is important that I facilitate impartially and don’t allow myself to form judgements of people or their experiences due to any personal views, opinions or beliefs. During these groups individuals share experiences that are extremely personal and could also be distressing to them or have strong emotional attachments for that person.
It is important for us to remain professional and supportive towards the person sharing their experiences and to remember Diversity, Equality and Inclusion guidelines to uphold the integrity of the programme and also encourage participation without any judgement. If staff fail to use proper working practice and begin to let are own preferences and beliefs influence our duties it could impact in a number of different ways. Compromising the effectiveness of the programme is one risk and it only takes a number of small thinks to do so such as, verbal responses to group members. It is important to use a range of active listening skills when doing this to encourage group members such as:
- Making eye contact
- Be mindful of body language
- Tone of voice
- Using empathy
- Reflective Listening or Affirmation
The above skills if used properly display genuine interest in the participant’s experiences. A sincere approach that reinforces that you are there to support them, this also helps to create an environment that is supportive and non judgemental and hopefully promote full participation from all group members. Your duty of care is a constant reminder of your professional role and how the examples of contributing factors previously discussed should not impact on your working practice. This duty of care reinforces that our personal beliefs, attitudes or preferences are irrelevant and any decisions we make have a wider impact that go beyond our own role, we are dealing with a much bigger issue than our own morals or what we believe to be right, we have to consider others and the impact it has on the “bigger picture”.
Our role is not making judgements or presuming; it is to consider the feelings, thoughts, and opinions of others when carrying out our duties. These contributing factors have to not only be kept in mind but also have to be respected and constantly focused on when making decisions that may have an impact on others, or we risk jeopardising the integrity of not only ourselves but the services we provide to others. This then has the potential to create negative attitudes and beliefs towards our practices in the future which creates a bad cycle of working and client relationships.
Inclusive practice is an approach to your clients that recognises the diversity of others, enabling full participation in all learning activities and demonstrates a balanced working style that is considerate of all parties. Inclusive practice values the diversity of others as a style that enhances others learning experiences. This approach promotes equal opportunities and removes any barriers such as race, age, gender, religion, sexual orientation etc to provide a balanced environment that considers and respects the previous examples. Other examples that may need to be considered with inclusive practice are issues such as learning difficulties, health issues or disabilities as there may need to be extra support put in place to better working practice such as support for literacy issues i.e. help for reading and writing.
Protocol’s may need to be put in place for individuals with health issues i.e. Asthmatics may need to have inhalers with them if they are prone to asthmatic attacks. The previous examples are things that can be catered for if you are aware of the diversity of your clients and the necessary preparations can be made to make sure inclusive practices are in place. However this is not always possible and you may be required to be responsive to your clients in order to ensure you are inclusive within your working environment, for example if someone was to become ill in your care you have to respond to a situation you may not be prepared for but still ensure that your duty of care is upheld and you are implementing inclusive practice.