Communicate and work effectively in health

This unit of competency describes the skills and knowledge required to work effectively in a health setting with clients, staff, visitors, suppliers and others to meet established work requirements


This unit applies to work in a range of health settings such as:

specific community

community, regional or remote service provider

department of a large institution or organisation

specialised service or organisation

private provider

Application of this unit should be contextualised to reflect specific workplace requirements and practices


Not Applicable

Elements and Performance Criteria



1. Work ethically

1.1 Follow ethical guidelines in decision-making in all work undertaken in the health setting with awareness of potential ethical complexity in own work role

1.2 Reflect understanding and compliance with the principles of duty of care and legal responsibilities in all work undertaken

1.3 Refer any breach or non adherence to standard procedures or adverse event to appropriate personnel

1.4 Maintain confidentiality of any client matter in line with organisation policy and procedure

1.5 Show respect for rights and responsibilities of others through considered application of work practices

1.6 Reflect current working knowledge and understanding of employee and employer rights and responsibilities in all work undertaken

1.7 Recognise, avoid and/or address any conflict of interest

2. Communicate effectively in a health setting

2.1 Develop, review and revise personal skills in communication as an ongoing priority to address organisation standards

2.2 Exercise caution in communicating personal information by oral and written means to ensure confidentiality of client and staff matters

2.3 Routinely apply workplace protocols and procedures in all workplace communication to support accuracy and understanding of information provided and received

2.4 Recognise individual and cultural differences and make any adjustments needed to facilitate the achievement of identified outcomes

2.5 Conduct interpersonal communication with clients and colleagues in a manner that enhances a client-centred approach to health care consistent with organisation standards

2.6 Take appropriate measures to resolve conflict and interpersonal differences in the workplace

3. Practise high standards of personal hygiene

3.1 Maintain personal hygiene with an understanding of risks associated with contamination and infection in a health setting

3.2 Wear personal protective equipment correctly according to organisation requirements

3.3 Safely dispose of infectious and/or hazardous waste material according to waste management policy and procedures

3.4 Report or initiate action within own area of responsibility to redress any potential workplace hazards

4. Promote a positive approach to health

4.1 Clarify components of own role that contribute to maintaining an effective and client-centred approach to health

4.2 Promote an approach in which clients are included in shared decision-making as partners in health care where appropriate

4.3 Contribute to a workplace culture of promoting good health by sharing health information in line with organisation policy

4.4 Focus on preventing ill health and minimising risk in the workplace

5. Maintain professional work standards

5.1 Identify relevant organisation policies and procedures relating to awards, standards and legislative requirements of own work role and clarify any uncertainties with appropriate personnel

5.2 Contribute to identifying and implementing improved work practices

5.3 Comply with relevant accreditation standards applying to work undertaken

5.4 Reflect understanding and focus on achieving organisation goals and objectives in all work undertaken

5.5 Respond positively to changes to improve work practices and procedures in accordance with organisation requirements

5.6 Identify and report issues requiring mandatory notification to supervisor and/or appropriate authority

6. Work effectively within the health care system

6.1 Demonstrate respect for workers from different sectors and levels of the industry

6.2 Work with awareness of the roles of various organisations in the health care system in Australia

6.3 Maintain awareness of current issues influencing health care, including health issues for Indigenous Australians

7. Take responsibility for personal skill development

7.1 Seek advice from appropriate persons on areas for skills/knowledge development

7.2 Identify options for accessing relevant skill development opportunities and initiate action in consultation with manager

7.3 Undertake designated skill/knowledge development and maintenance activities of the organisation including induction training

7.4 Identify and prioritise personal work goals in accordance with organisation requirements

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:

Basic knowledge of employment terms and conditions in the workplace

Broad understanding of relevant organisation procedures, policies, awards, standards and legislation and how to access them

Broad implications of relevant legislation, including:

access and equity


child protection

infection control

work health and safety (WHS)


Meaning of Duty of Care, confidentiality of information and ethical decision-making in relation to specific work role duties and responsibilities; what constitutes a breach of these and potential ramifications of such a breach

Organisation procedures relating to:

emergency response

fire safety


Purpose of accreditation process and quality improvement practice

Principles underpinning client-centred health care

Principles of client safety

Relevance of the work role and functions to maintaining sustainability of the workplace, including environmental, economic, workforce and social sustainability

Role, function and objectives of the organisation, and relevance to specific work role

Essential skills:

It is critical that the candidate demonstrate the ability to

Apply knowledge of the ramifications of breaches of duty of care, confidentiality, ethical guidelines and other relevant policies and legislation

Apply understanding of good personal hygiene and risk associated with poor hygiene

Identify own responsibilities within the workplace

In addition, the candidate must be able 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:

Accurately follow procedures relating to:

personal hygiene

using personal protective equipment

Apply decision-making and problem solving skills as required to constructively achieve identified outcomes in line with work role

Demonstrate functional literacy skills needed for written and oral information about workplace requirements

Demonstrate communication skills as required by specific work role, including:

effectively communicate the importance of issues such as those relating to environmental responsibility and sustainable practice

interpreting and following verbal and/or written instructions

providing information

reporting incidents in line with organisation requirements

seeking clarification of tasks

Take a responsible approach to professional development, including:

being open to learning new ideas and techniques in a range of settings

maintaining own skills and knowledge and ongoing development

sharing workplace information with others

Recognise and act upon opportunities to enhance sustainability in the workplace

Use initiative in responding to challenging situations and individuals

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

Consistency of performance should be demonstrated over a range of workplace situations

Context of and specific resources for assessment:

Assessment should relate to an identified work role and associated workplace conditions

Resources essential for assessment include any documents specific to the work context such as:

instructions for the use of equipment

specific instructions for staff

emergency response procedures

fire safety policies and procedures

security procedures

relevant accreditation standards

waste management policies and procedures

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.

Requirements of own work role may include:

Level of responsibility

Organisation guidelines

Individual awards and benchmarks

Legislation relevant to work area

Accreditation standards

Organisation policy on confidentiality may relate to:

Storage of records

Destruction of records

Access to records

Release of information

Verbal and written communication

Organisation procedures, policies, awards, standards and legislation may include:

Australian Council on Healthcare Standards

Home and Community Care standards

NATA accreditation

National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) guidelines for infection control in health care settings

Federal and state legislation

Quality management policy and practice

Current Australian standards

Aged care accreditation standards

Accreditation and service provision standards of other relevant industry organisations

Relevant health regulations and guidelines, policies and procedures, including child protection

A client-centred approach to health includes:

Putting clients and carers at the centre of service delivery

When the client is a child or young person, service delivery strategies may need to be modified to ensure child safety and provide a child friendly, supportive environment

Including clients in decision-making relating to their health care

Involving clients in discussions about service delivery options and issues

Obtaining client consent to examine, treat or work with them

Effective customer service

Listening to and addressing client complaints within scope of own work role

Improved work practices may relate, for example to:

Enhancing outcomes for clients

Enhancing sustainability of work, such as efficient and effective work practices in relation to:

use of power

use of resources, including for administration purposes

waste management and recycling practices

Enhancing safety of staff and clients

Employee rights and responsibilities may relate to:

Duty of care responsibilities

Leave entitlements

Attendance requirements

Obeying lawful orders

Confidentiality and privacy of organisation, client and colleague information

Adherence to WHS

Protection from discrimination and sexual harassment in the workplace

The right to union representation

Personal hygiene may include:

Washing hands according to specified standards

Maintaining personal cleanliness in the workplace

Refraining from eating, smoking and other designated activities in specific work areas

Taking standard and additional precautions against risk of infection and contamination

Wearing clean clothes and uniforms where specified

Personal protective equipment (PPE) may include:


Sterile and non sterile gloves including heavy duty


Plastic aprons


Enclosed footwear


Issues requiring mandatory notification may include:

Protection of children and others identified to be at risk

Issues defined by jurisdictional legislation and/or regulatory requirements

Issues specifically identified under organisation policies

Identifying and implementing improved work practices may include:

Reporting and implementing suggested improvements

Seeking and addressing customer feedback

Monitoring tasks

Responding to surveys and questionnaires

Assessing/observing/measuring environmental factors

Checking equipment

Developing and implementing child safe, child friendly resources, environment and work tools to support staff and volunteers working with people under 18 years of age

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

Child Protection

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, including the provision of a child friendly environment that values, respects and welcomes children and young people

Communication, conflict resolution


Not Applicable

Employability Skills

This unit contains Employability Skills

Licensing Information

Not Applicable