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Observing Others

This is one of the most common ways that practitioners report learning about communication and relationship skills. It can happen formally - where someone is actively seeking to demonstrate good practice and informally - through noticing and copying day to day behaviours, attitudes and approaches of colleagues.

The effectiveness of this kind of learning depends on the quality of the approach taken by those being observed and on what supports and structures are put in place to facilitate reflective practice during and following such observations.

Informal Influence

The practice and behaviours of your colleagues, supervisors and managers will have an influence on your attitudes and practice, even when you are not consciously trying to model their approach.  It is important to recognise this influence and reflect on how positive it is for your learning and development in relation to communications and relationships capability.

Think about a colleague or manager you respect and value. How do they communicate and engage with you? How is this mirrored in their approach and interactions with patients and families?


Do you notice the little day to day things that colleagues or managers do or say which enhance communication and relationships? What impact do they have? How do they influence you and the ward/team/unit environment?

Formal Modelling of Others