Professionals recognize that problem solving is integral to being human. The work environment is a center for problem-solving activities. The IDEAL problem-solving process developed by Bradford and Stein (1993) is implemented by: (I) Identifying the problem, (D) Defining the problem, (E) Exploring strategies, (A) Acting on ideas, and (L) Looking for effects.
During my volunteering, some patients complained that the side effects of their medications were not being explained sufficiently. The majority of the affected patients felt that they were receiving scanty information concerning their medications and the associated side effects. Others argued that technical language was being used when explaining various aspects of their medications. As such, the patients felt that if they got enough and clear information on how to use their medications and the expected side effects, they would be more prepared psychologically when taking the drugs.
Activities or actions are taken to solve the problem
The first step that I took was to identify and define the problem. At this stage, I noted that there was a communication breakdown between care providers and patients, which is a frequent problem in care settings according to Norouzinia et al. (2016). In the second step, I analyzed the problem and realized that while nurses and other care providers thought that they communicated effectively, different patients were not receiving the intended message, hence communication breakdown. The language barrier was also a major problem in some cases, which is expected in a multicultural healthcare setting (Crawford et al., 2017). I listened carefully to the patients as they explained to me how they would want to be communicated in the process of care provision. I gave them the platform to be heard and express their opinions. In the third stage, I thought of the various solutions that could be implemented to address this problem.
I concluded that the best way out of this communication breakdown is to inform the involved care providers that they were not communicating effectively to patients concerning medications and the associated side effects. I then reported the problem to my supervisor together with my recommended solution for consideration. My supervisor escalated the problem to the management and appropriate actions were taken. A clear communication protocol was created to ensure that patients are adequately educated concerning the various aspects of their care including the side effects of their medications.
Who did this process affect?
This process mainly affected all healthcare professionals in the facility where I volunteered. In addition, patients were also affected as they started receiving adequate information concerning their process of care and medications.
How were they affected?
All healthcare providers in the facility were required to undergo a short training on how to communicate effectively with patients. A clear and concise communication protocol was created to guide care providers when interacting with patients during the process of care delivery. This step meant that care providers would spend more time with patients, ask the right questions, and allow room for clients to raise any underlying issue and areas that they would need clarification from the care providers.
Evaluate the effectiveness of this problem-solving activity.
This problem solving was highly effective as it yielded positive results as anticipated. First, the strategy was systematically starting with problem identification and definition, analysis, developing solutions, reporting to the relevant authorities, and implementation of the best viable solutions. I did not simply report the problem to my supervisor. I wanted to be part of the solution, which explains why I added my recommendations on what I felt was the best way of addressing the problem. My supervisor was positive about my strategy and when he escalated the same to the management, the appropriate actions were taken. This problem-solving strategy was successful, hence effective because when I later talked with the same patients after some time, they expressed their satisfaction with the response that they were getting from care providers. Therefore, it suffices to conclude that the problem-solving strategy adopted in this case was highly effective.
Crawford, T., Candlin, S., & Roger, P. (2017). New perspectives on understanding cultural diversity in nurse-patient communication. Collegian, 24(1), 63-69.
Norouzinia, R., Aghabarari, M., Shiri, M., Karimi, M., & Samami, E. (2016). Communication barriers perceived by nurses and patients. Global Journal of Health Science, 8(6), 65-74.