Pennsylvania Nurse, Front Page 69(4) - Page 7

What is your Personality? ment. This assessment asks a series of questions and provides an individual with a four-letter personality type. Each of the 16 personality types have researched descriptions that review the details of the particular combination. For example, someone that is an ESTJ can be described as: matter-of-fact, quick to make decisions, organized; focused on getting results quickly and forceful (Myers & Briggs Foundation, 2014). Understanding your own personality type can help you predict your natural tendencies. In turn, you can identify the ways in which you are likely to communicate with others. Conversely, understanding the personalities of others can explain their communication style. This type of assessment and understanding is key to team cohesion when collaborating and communicating on a regular basis. Consider the following scenario: The practice council on a medical-surgical unit is tasked with reviewing current data on patient falls and developing a plan to help decrease them. As the council begins to discuss current fall rates, members react: Member 1: No matter what is done, the patients will still fall. Member 2: The night shift does not do hourly rounds like they should. That is why patients fall. Member 3: There might be a small difference that can be made if the council focuses on change of shift report. As a facilitator of this council meeting, it is important to realize that various personalities react differently. Member 1 thinks there is no solution and may be reacting with emotion. Member 2 looks to blame the night shift and may react by looking at the actions of others. Without understanding the individuals that make up the team, and expecting such reactions, the job of facilitator could be quite overwhelming. Beyond that, what about the members who have not said anything? Those members whose personalities are introverts may have great ideas but may not feel comfortable sharing them unless directly asked. The success of such a meeting depends on the ability of the facilitator to understand each personality. What About Day-to-Day Communication? It is nearly impossible to assess the personality of every person you communicate with each day. There is the offgoing nurse, the rounding physician, your five patients and each of their family members … and the list goes on and on. Follow these five steps to use an understanding of personalities to enhance your communication? 1. Remember that each person is unique. In the profession of nursing, we are taught to consider the diversity of our patients and colleagues. Do not forget that diversity extends to how we communicate. The timid, shy patient may not open up to you right away. They may need you to ask more specific questions or give them time to organize their thoughts. The patient that yells at you while you assist them to the bathroom may be reacting to the emotion of not being able to move independently. 2. Consider situational awareness. The popular TeamSTEPPS approach to safety and communication identifies situational awareness as a key fa