Challenges and Coping in Interaction Work – Social Sustainablity in Health Care

Unit produced by: University of Applied Science Osnabrück
Working on and with emotions can be very demanding. Learn how to activate your resources to cope with emotionally burdening situations in your professional work routine. The resource type of this unit is a WebQuest.
Link to the WebQuest

Unit description

 

Title of the unit: Challenges and Coping in Interaction Work – Social Sustainability in Health Care
Sector: Health Care
Job-Title: For Examined Health and Sickness Care Professional, also Health Care Assistants.
EQF-Level: EQF 4&5
Resource type of the unit: WebQuest for group-work, afterwards presentation of the groups’ results in front of class
Media format: WebQuest including weblinks (text-material, such as PDF of studies, reports etc.)
Number of participants (min/max): 3-25
Available learning languages: English, German, Bulgarian, French, Greek
Description: How to stay healthy working as a health care professional? Working on and with emotions can be very demanding. The students can learn how to activate their resources to cope with emotionally burdening situations in professional work routine. The connection to the topic of sustainability, especially social sustainability, is made.
Keywords Health Care, Interaction work (Working on and with emotions), Demands, Burnout, Coping with Stress, Personal Resources and Environmental Resources, Salutogenesis
Justification with regard to the GreenSkills4VET Reference Framework (in terms of ESD): This unit, identifying emotional burdening situations and featuring resources for the prevention of psychological illnesses, leaving job and so induced care crisis in Europe, was considered appropriate for the development of objectives regarding ESD, following the EQF model. It negotiates economic and social sustainability aims.
Methodic approach: This Learning-Unit consist of 3 Parts:

  1. Classic lecture (Input & Self-Reflection: Worksheet included):
    • (Social) Sustainability – What has Health Care to do with it?
    • Interaction Work – Working on and with emotions
    • ILL Health Care? – A look at the figures
    • Stress + Coping – Lazarus‘ Transactional Model of Stress + Coping enhanced by a work psychology-perspective
      ➡ Resources – What gives you strenght in daily routine? (Reflection)
  2. Webquest & Flipchart-Preparation (Group-Reflection & “Inquiring Learning”)
  3. Presentation & Discussion with whole class
Timespan in total:
  • If you want to use the complete Learning-Unit Challenges and coping in Interaction Work with all its components and without any adjustments, you’ll need at least 3 Sessions of 90 minutes each: 2 sessions of 90 minutes in class plus a session of at least 90 minutes between them for working on the webquest in small groups.
  • The group session can be homework or take place in class, too, of course. The trainees we have been testing this unit with feedbacked they could easily imagine to work on a WebQuest like this for a week, too.

 

Pedagogical preconditions and outcomes

 

Is this a new learning field or does it add to existing learning fields?
It adds to existing fields: This learning unit is not yet taught in the VET health sector in Germany, although here are corresponding chapters in the different course books analyzed within the GreenSkills4VET-project. They deal with topics like sustaining and nurturing one’s own health, the professional’s self-concept (orientation towards personal resources) or Salutogenesis. Interviews with practitioners showed, that dealing with emotionally / psychologically stressful situations in daily work routine might be covered in class, still there was no such material found (specifically covering interaction work and the induced emotional burdening situations in professional work routine). Furthermore, there were no materials found introducing the sustainability-concept at all, so, of course, no specific link of the “Stress and Coping”-issue could be made to sustainability-considerations … our Health Care Learning-Unit with sustainability-background was designed to help bridging this gap. The new education and examination order in Germany from 13-5-2018 includes the contents of our unit explicitly – so there will be need for good didactic material.

Targeted trainees, e.g. school-beginners or trainees with practical experience?
The target group of this Learning-Unit are Health Care-trainees (and assistant-trainees) who already have collected their first praxis phases within their professional training. The concept of this unit involves sequences of reflexion about the daily routine experienced by the trainees in daily work routine and from an individual perspective (=It is not just a theoretical unit). Of course, you might use the unit for professional job trainings or other audiences, too, who have made their (first) praxis-experiences, too.

Is previous knowledge required?
The contents of this unit generally won’t be new to the students, but there are two “scientific” models integrated that actually might be. Also, the students have to change the perspective: the knowledge about psychological processes is not only a problem of patients but of themselves as nurses too. Required: Reflectiveness, able to work as a group and presentation skills. Furthermore, the teacher / trainer and the students should have a basic set of skills in terms of digital literacy. However, this Learning-Unit actually is very much suitable to get started with, if this is not the case.

Expected learning outcomes (pedagogical objectives)
The young professional gets to know the process model of stress and coping at the work place.

  • She/He learns about a) psychosocial risk factors and b) environmental stressors.
  • She/He is equipped with knowledge and skills regarding the two different types of resources (personal and environmental).
  • This enables him/her to generate green competences in terms of carrying out disburdening behavior within their workplace environment.
  • She/He works out solutions maintaining the benefits of all groups of persons involved (patients and staff) and is encouraged to inform upper management in order to address these issues (high complexity issue) when this exceeds her/his authorization of decisions.

 
 
 

Learning Objectives with regard to the European Qualifications Framework

 

Knowledge

After completing this Learning-Unit, the trainee

  • Knows about models showing the interconnectedness of work demands, especially work involving emotions, and stress related effects, especially psychical stress effects.
  • Is aware of the fact that it’s not sustainable when health care professionals suffer from work-induced mental illness or drop out of the profession entirely (Which actually is the case – at an average – after 6 years, in some European countries, including Germany, even less. Keyword: Care crisis).
  • Reflects upon the fact that personal and environmental resources can generally be applied to cope with challenges to prevent stress / risk factors or to reduce impact.
  • Understands the ambivalent nature of interaction work for the well-being of nurses: a) Understanding the concept: What is interaction work? How to identify it? b) Understanding oneself: Without emotions, work can’t be satisfying, it would be unconfirmative. But if there are no resources available, nurses can overwork and burn out. Please note: Burnout-rates are high when neglecting the human interaction at all (See also: Keeping professional distance), so the aim should be to find some sort of balance individually.)

 

Skills

After completing this Learning-Unit, the trainee can

  • Adapt the idea and the principles of SD to considerations concerning the general and one’s own professional self-image in order to develop a sustainable oriented employability (“sustain employability”) .
  • Integrate sector-specific and societal substructures in professional considerations about personal capacity to act.
  • Identify goal conflicts when accessing different solution strategies.
  • Reflect upon the specific personal and environmental resources in her / his situation, which can be applied to cope with challenges, to prevent the emergence of stress / risk factors or to reduce impact.

 

Competences

After completing this Learning-Unit, the trainee can

  • Work towards solutions maintaining the benefits of all persons or groups of people involved (e.g. care-givers and care-receivers), when goal conflicts appear.
  • Ask for help, i.e. address upper management, when limits of own capacity is reached. This can count for strains in terms of the bearable personal limit in daily work routine as well as for limits of the personal sphere of influence in terms of meeting decisions to solve identified problems or conflicts.
  • Carry out disburdening behavior by being able (and empowered / allowed) to access personal and environmental resources within their workplace environment, especially in stressful situations.

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Didactical and methodical support for the use of our OER-Example

Top Priorities before getting started

 

  • Basic conditions and needed material – The most important recommendations for working with this unit.
  • The target group of this Learning-Unit are Health Care-trainees who already have collected their first praxis phases within their professional training. The concept of this unit involves sequences of reflexion about the daily routine experienced by the trainees from an individual perspective (it is not just a theoretical unit). You might use the unit for professional job trainings, too.
  • If you want to use the complete Learning-Unit Challenges and coping in Interaction Work with all its components and without any adjustments, you’ll need at least 3 Sessions of 90 minutes each: 2 sessions of 90 minutes in class plus a session of at least 90 minutes between them for working in small groups. The group session can be homework or take place in class, too, of course. The trainees we have been testing this unit with feedbacked they could easily imagine to work on a WebQuest like this for a week, too.
  • The 1st session of the unit is designed as a classical lecture. Feel free to download the powerpoint-presentation on GreenSkills4VET.eu (The powerpoint-presentation is part of the WebQuest on Zunal.com, where you will find it at the bottom of the section called Process).
  • We recommend to enhance the input (Powertpoint-presentation) by applying 2 handouts for self-reflection. They are a download within the WebQuest, too. The 1st handout is a Burnout-Self test, the 2nd deals with the individual resources (My resources) which can be found within the environment or the person.
  • The 2nd session is groupwork. It starts with the WebQuest, after working through the self-reflexion handout (My resources). The small groups prepare a flipchart-presentation with their findings in this 2nd session – deciding what matters most from their point of view and experience.
  • In the 3rd session the small groups present their results / findings in front of the class.
  • How about the digital literacy of you trainees? What devices do they use for internet-purposes? Do you have WiFi at school?
  • An introduction in terms of „What a WebQuest is“ seems highly recommendable, this might be a housework in advance. But beware: There are a lot of WebQuests not properly designed out there. You should give good practices as references.
  • You’ll need internet access and internet-capable devices for each trainee, e.g. smartphones. In the 2nd session your trainees will need flipchart-paper and pens for each group (recommended: 3-5 members per team).

 
 
 

Lesson plan with needed materials

 

Session 1: Theoretical input enhanced by handouts (Duration: 90 minutes)

Phases (Content, Topic, Activities) Methods Material Duration
Introduction Information about topic (sustainability) and method (Lecture + WebQuest) 15 minutes
Social Sustainability and the relationship between stress in interaction work and burnout prevention in Health Care Theoretical input (powerpoint presentation)

Self-Test Burnout Awareness

Powerpoint presentation downloaded from the WebQuest

Self-Test Burnout Awareness (handout 1) is included

60 minutes
Stressful interaction situations and the own resources against stress Individual reflection with handout 2: My resources Handout 2 downloaded from the WebQuest 15 minutes

 

Session 2: WebQuest in small groups (Duration: 90 minutes)

Phases (Content, Topic, Activities) Methods Material Duration
WebQuest to deepen the input Working / discussion in small groups (3-5 trainees) along the tasks/questions in the Webquest

➡ Please note: The WebQuest and the creation / production of the flipchart can be processed simultaneously by the group members of course, too.

Internet access and internet capable devices for each trainee (such as smartphones = bring your own device) 60 minutes
Stressful interaction situations and the usefulness of the resources against stress Common reflection in small groups (“what helps us in concrete stressful interactions situations?”)

Create a flipchart with your groups findings (“What matters most from your perspective and practical job experience / work routine?”)

Flipchart paper and pens /markers for each small group 30 minutes

 

Session 3: Presentation of group results and discussion in class (Duration: 90 minutes)

Phases (Content, Topic, Activities) Methods Material Duration
Highlights of the stress model and the favourite resources Presentation of WebQuest-findings / results by the small groups in plenum Flipchart-presentations produced by the small group
The ambivalence of personal resources Final discussion of input (lecture) and group-presentations in plenum: (“Do the personal resources always help? What about the organisational framework?”) 30 minutes
Discussion of YouTube-video in plenum

Filling out some quiz every one and discussion of results afterwards

Internet access and internet capable devices

Quiz as handout (=printed paper) or digital

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Lessons learned from developing and testing the OER.

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OER Manual

The main aim of this manual is to empower teachers and trainers as well as students to new teaching and learning methods. It also informs about the new copyright applications in Open Educational Resources (OER).
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Evaluation of the competences (Learning outcomes)

How to assess the competences aimed at with this learning unit? The practical information for teachers and trainers shows our recommendations for evaluating the learning outcomes of the GreenSkills4VET LearnBox and refers to ECVET (The European Credit system for Vocational Education and Training) and EQF (European Qualifications Framework).
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Limits of translating local OER-Units into other languages

OER (Open Educational Resources) provide the possibility to freely share and reproduce learning materials tailored to your specific requirements without limiting you in terms of risking copyright-violations. When you aim at translating OER into other countries’ languages, there are other limits to be considered, nonetheless.
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This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.