Communicate with clients and colleagues to support health care

This unit covers the skills required to exercise effective communication skills with clients and colleagues to support the delivery of client care services within the health industry


This unit applies to work in a range of health settings where direct client contact is involved

Application of this unit should be contextualised to reflect any specific workplace communication requirements, issues and practices


Not Applicable

Elements and Performance Criteria



1. Exercise effective communication techniques

1.1 Use verbal and non-verbal communication constructively to achieve planned work outcomes

1.2 Ensure all communication with clients and colleagues reflects an understanding and respect for individual differences and needs

1.3 Introduce oneself appropriately when required

1.4 Use interviewing and active listening techniques where needed to identify and confirm work and/or client requirements

1.5 Ensure communication is clear and relevant to situation, context and activities undertaken

1.6 Use touch and other non-verbal means of communication prudently, carefully and only as appropriate

1.7 Seek advice about communication difficulties with clients or colleagues from supervisor or other appropriate person and implement as required

1.8 Seek advice and assistance from appropriate sources as required to maintain and develop effective communication skills

1.9 Adjust own style to incorporate advice that addresses performance issues to maintain the agreed standard of effective communication

2. Convey and receive information using available modes of communication

2.1 Use communication codes and equipment correctly

2.2 Acknowledge and/or clarify information received using active listening

2.3 Check to ensure information conveyed has been received and correctly understood

3. Follow routine instructions

3.1 Ensure workplace instructions are interpreted correctly and carried out within agreed time frames

3.2 Seek clarification of work instructions when required to ensure understanding

3.3 Refer any difficulties in carrying out instructions to supervisor or appropriate person to ensure required work outcomes

4. Communicate with clients

4.1 Establish rapport through open, sensitive and confident manner

4.2 Inform client (or their agent) about client care procedures in a manner, and at a time consistent with the overall needs of the client and situation as a whole

4.3 Obtain information from client or others showing the firmness, sensitivity and respect for confidentiality demanded by the situation

4.4 Recognise and respect religious, social and cultural differences between individuals that may require special communication skills or client care procedures

5. Complete reports as required

5.1 Complete reports/records as required to the standard expected in the workplace

5.2 Ensure reports are clear and accurate and completed correctly within identified time frames

6. Present a positive image of the organisation to the public

6.1 Conduct communication with the public in a courteous manner and respecting privacy

6.2 Ensure standards of personal presentation are appropriate to the organisation

Required Skills

This describes the essential skills and knowledge and their level required for this unit.

Essential knowledge:

The candidate must be able to demonstrate essential knowledge required to effectively do the task outlined in elements and performance criteria of this unit, manage the task and manage contingencies in the context of the identified work role

This includes knowledge of:

Principles of effective communication

Dealing with cultural diversity

Referral processes of organisation

Effect of sensory loss and cognitive impairment

Relevant guidelines and procedures, and a range of written information relevant to the job role

Essential skills:

It is critical that the candidate demonstrate the ability to effectively do the task outlined in elements and performance criteria of this unit, manage the task and manage contingencies in the context of the identified work role

This includes the ability to:

Communicate with both clients and colleagues in a representative range of workplace situations and involving:

adjusting communication to meet differing needs

being appropriately assertive

using active listening and recognising non-verbal triggers

providing feedback

minimising conflict and tensions

Take into account opportunities to address waste minimisation, environmental responsibility and sustainable practice issues

Use a range of communication methods used in the workplace e.g. oral, written notes, memos, letters, charts, diagrams

Use oral communication skills (language competence) required to fulfil job roles as specified by the organisation, including:

using interviewing techniques

asking questions

active listening

asking for clarification and probing as necessary

negotiating solutions

acknowledging and responding to a range of views

Use written communication skills (literacy competence) required to fulfil job roles as specified by organisation, including:

reading and understanding incident reports and routine instructions

reading and completing case management materials

preparing handover reports

apply literacy skills in English and/or a community language depending on the client group

Use interpersonal skills, including:

working with others

showing empathy with client and relatives

relating to persons from differing cultural, social and religious backgrounds

Evidence Required

The evidence guide provides advice on assessment and must be read in conjunction with the Performance Criteria, Required Skills and Knowledge, the Range Statement and the Assessment Guidelines for this Training Package.

Critical aspects for assessment and evidence required to demonstrate this competency unit:

The individual being assessed must provide evidence of specified essential knowledge as well as skills

Evidence must include observation of performance in the work environment or in a simulated work setting

Evidence of workplace performance over time must be obtained to inform a judgement of competence

Access and equity considerations:

All workers in the health industry should be aware of access and equity issues in relation to their own area of work

All workers should develop their ability to work in a culturally diverse environment

In recognition of particular health issues facing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, workers should be aware of cultural, historical and current issues impacting on health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

Assessors and trainers must take into account relevant access and equity issues, in particular relating to factors impacting on health of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander clients and communities

Range Statement

The Range Statement relates to the unit of competency as a whole. It allows for different work environments and situations that may affect performance. Add any essential operating conditions that may be present with training and assessment depending on the work situation, needs of the candidate, accessibility of the item, and local industry and regional contexts.

Individual differences and needs may include:







Communication includes:

All verbal and non-verbal interaction with clients and colleagues in a range of appropriate interpersonal contexts

Communicating effectively will be carried out within requirements established by:

Anti discrimination legislation

Accepted cultural protocols

Accepted language protocols and systems

Informing clients of procedures that may be conducted before, during or after treatment

Exercising effective communication skills includes

Being non judgmental

Active listening

Using culturally appropriate communication methods

Non-verbal behaviour to indicate understanding of what is being said

Clarifying what is said

Responses that are culturally appropriate

Participating constructively in group processes

Appropriate persons may be from within or outside the organisations and may be:


Immediate supervisor/s

Other health workers


Communication equipment may include, but is not limited to:






Mobile data terminal

Communication relating to client care procedures include giving due regard to:

Life threatening conditions

Duty of care

Contract of care

Medico-legal implications

Nature of illness/injury

Identifying, preventing and managing adverse events and near misses

Instructions may include:

Manufacturer/operating written instructions

Work unit guidelines, procedures and protocols including WHS procedures and protocols for using interpreters

Supervisor or management instructions

Instructions may be:



Reports may be verbal or written and may include:





Client records

Verbal 'hand overs' at the end of a shift

Employer rights and responsibilities may relate to:

Legislative requirements for employee dismissal i.e. Workplace Relations Act

Legislative requirements to provide a safe work environment free from discrimination and sexual harassment (see State and Commonwealth anti-discrimination legislation)

Enterprise workplace agreements

Relevant state and territory employment legislation i.e. wage rates, employment conditions

Designated knowledge/skill development may relate to:

Hazard control


Manual handling

First Aid

Cultural awareness

Infection control

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation emergency response and notification protocols

Fire emergency response procedures for notification and containment of fire, use of fire fighting equipment and fire safety procedures

Security procedures

Quality improvement policy and practice

Discrimination, harassment and bullying in the workplace

Formal and informal resolution of grievances

Waste management

Customer service

Communication, conflict resolution



Not Applicable

Employability Skills

This unit contains Employability Skills

Licensing Information

Not Applicable