Individuals get together to form a group in order to accomplish a specific goal or task. The task was to work as a group and present a health topic by participating in a health fair. The process of preparing for the health fair included developing a needs assessment tool, creating a teaching plan, making a display board, and creating an evaluation tool. In order to analyze group process, it is necessary to look at the developmental stages of the group and the concepts involved in group decision making, conflict, and cohesion. The knowledge of group concepts can help me adjust to various roles in the health care team and how to be prepared for future challenges as a Registered Nurse.
Tuckman’s model is a theory used to evaluate how a group is developing. Dimock and Kass (2007), describe the “five stages of group growth called forming, storming, norming, performing and adjourning.” Forming of the group takes place in the beginning stage, and tasks are distributed amongst the group. Group members are involved in making a number of group decisions that include how to organize and distribute the work, when to meet, and how to approach the goal.
Group decision making can be described as “the process of moving from a diverse set of individual positions or preferences to agreement on consensus choice for the group” (Kerr & Tindale, 2004). For example, the decision on which health fair topic to teach to the public was made on consensus. There were a number of similar topics on how to promote health to the community. Two groups had nutrition and it was decided that both groups could have the same topic but have different focuses. Our group had importance of breakfast while the other group focused on fast food. Also, groups were placed at different ends of the school so information could reach a wide variety of people.
Group members possess prior knowledge and expertise, which can be distributed within the group effecting group performance (Rulke & Galaskiewicz, 2000). Student D had background knowledge in computers and was given the task of calculating the results of the questionnaire. Student C had excellent communication skills and was able to hand out the questionnaires to several people. When designing the learning needs assessment tool and the overall look of the display board, it was decided that student A would be assigned this task because of previous skills in arts.
Other decisions based on consensus included, when to meet up as a group because it was important that each group member was there to contribute to the work. It was difficult to get together because of other priorities, family, work, and school. When making the learning needs assessment tool, it was decided that each member would bring a few questions each, to makeup the questionnaire. Also, decisions of what to bring to the health fair and how to present the information took group effort and decision making. When a consensus is not made as a group, conflict can occur causing problems of reaching the goal.
Conflict is a normal stage of group development and can be seen in the storming stage of Tuckman’s model. According to Jehn & Mannix (2001), conflict occurs when group members have incompatible views and differences. Conflict can be characterized in three group called relationship, task and process conflict. Relationship conflict is when group members are not getting along causing tension and friction. For example, student E did not finish her journal on the date the group decided on. Also, student E was late coming to meetings and made decisions on their own without consensus of the group. This caused tension amongst the other group members and feeling of frustration towards student E.
Task conflict is a difference of ideas and opinions regarding group task (Jehn & Mannix, 2001). For example, when making the display board, students worked in pairs or individually and not as a group. Student C was unclear of what pictures should be used for the board and student A started placing pictures onto the board without group collaboration. There was a difference of ideas of what the board should display and how it should be displayed.
Jehn & Mannix (2001), define process conflict “as an awareness of controversies about aspects of how task accomplishment will proceed. Process conflict pertains to issues of duty and resource delegation, such as who should do what and how much responsibility different people should get”. This can be observed when making the learning needs assessment tool. The group made it clear of what task each student was assigned to do. During this assignment, each student had to bring in three questions to make the questionnaire. Student A did the typing, B and C were to collect the information and put it together, while student D and E had to do the reference. Student E decided to do the assignment on her own which created conflict. There was no communication or decision making process as to how to create the questionnaire. The group could have handled this conflict differently by understanding group member roles and how they impact each other.
The group can be seen at the performing stage where interpersonal conflict has been resolved and a feeling of belonging to the group has been formed. In the performing stage, the group has a high degree of autonomy and work towards accomplishment of goals (Dimock & Kass, 2007). For the health fair presentation, the group coordinated well in bringing the ideas of all group members. Student A gathered all the information to be displayed on the board. Student B and E chose the breakfast food items that were to be handed out. Student D was knowledgeable in how breakfast can affect student performance. Also, student C was able to get the message across to the public about the benefits of eating breakfast. Towards the end, group members understood each other better and became comfortable about being part of the group.
These concepts are important as a Registered Nurse because leadership is an important quality. Leaders are skilled in “thinking reflectively, communicating, making decisions, solving problems, and working with others” (Sullivan & Decker, 2005). This assignment has helped to practice and improve on my role as a leader and increase my confidence in this role. I hope to develop strong leadership abilities to meet the challenges in the role change to Registered Nurse.
Working collaboratively, resolving conflict, communicating in an assertive manner are skills that students can learn to practice in groups. These skills are also valuable to new nursing graduates (Rideout, 2001). As Registered Nurses have opportunities for several leadership positions the need to increase knowledge of group process is important. According to Rideout (2001), “applying principles of group dynamics to interactions with families and community groups during care is a part of everyday work of nurses”. An example of a leadership role is a nurse as an educator. Nurses provide health teaching to clients and share expertise to team members. The ability to function as an effective team member requires the ability to take on different roles (Dimock & Kass, 2007).
In conclusion, the health fair assignment has helped me to learn how to approach decision making, deal with conflict, and become a member of a team. It was a great learning experience to get out into the community to do health teaching. Being able to bring people together outside of the classroom and have fun teaching others about the importance of healthy eating. Using self-evaluation and being aware of these concepts can improve my leadership skills as a Registered Nurse in the health care team.