PP0559 - Communication Skills & Professional Boundaries

What will I learn on this module?

The aim of this Module is to debate the development of boundaries as an important stage in the practice of various groups of practitioners in health and social care, exploring opportunities for collaborative working and evaluating the success of this in terms of the agenda of multi-professional/integrated working. It will afford you opportunities to analyse concepts associated with collaboration, (or lack of), between “professionals” working in health and social care. You will also engage with and analyse the nature of, and challenges to, professional practice which have emerged as a result of multi-professional and multi-agency working. You will also consider theories of communication between professional groups focussing in particular on the use of “professional language” as a barrier to integrated working. You will also consider, in consultation with your named external agency, the practical issues associated with collaboration, (or lack of), between “professionals” working in health and social care settings, and the impact on service delivery. This will include you considering examples of models from past and current literature, critical evaluation of case studies and the evidence and personal knowledge based on your own, and other students and staff experiences, by engaging in exercises allowing reflection on individual experiences as a consumer of health and social care and consider these in terms of concepts from the module. and a changing health and social context in which professional working is influenced by policies - policies determined by the state which do, or have the potential to, impact on the realities of professional working and may not always correspond to real or perceived professional interactions and/or interventions.

How will I learn on this module?

Teaching and learning strategies for this module will include lectures to outline the main concepts, trends and theories. Facilitated group discussions will be integral to the module where you will explore key concepts in more depth to draw out individual and collective analysis. You will be expected to engage with directed independent study tasks, as well as working in informal groups to present your ideas. Online forums and discussion groups will also be introduced to enhance your learning. Laboratory based simulation exercises will be used to stimulate discussions and to consider issues in relation to multi/cross/integrated professional working and professional communication.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

Lecturers will facilitate seminar groups to support academic development. You will have access to lecturers at specifically designated times via online forums; email; group tutorials and one to one meetings. Formative and summative assessment tasks include ‘feedforward’ in preparation for assignments, and ‘feedback’ to identify aspects of students’ strengths and also aspects which require development. Contact details for all tutors for this module are available in the module handbook and via the Electronic Learning Portal (eLP).

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at: http://readinglists.northumbria.ac.uk
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team – http://library.northumbria.ac.uk/readinglists)

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
1. Debate the complex socio-political dynamic of professions, including the historical influence upon and within professions, development of professional language and concepts of professional governance.
2. Reflect upon the concept of “boundary”, using the concept of boundary as a tool for analysis of professional practice and integrated health and social care delivery
3. Develop an understanding communication between different professional groups, and between professional groups and service users, and a consideration of the use of professional language in multi/cross/integrated professional working

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
4. Develop transferable research skills by continuing to read and analyse the contribution of published research and policy on health/social care and professional practice.

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
5. Reflect upon both internal and external pressures and also legal requirements shaping professional practice, including, professional governance, professional development, and both the external and internal influences on responses and processes of professions.

How will I be assessed?

Formative Assessment

A range of formative tasks will be woven into the content of the module including presentations, small group discussions and carrying out independent library based research, and practical observations. Formative assessment will also involve carrying out a case study within your designated external agency (Short work attachment during one of the weeks in the module schedule), with regard to their approaches to multi/cross/integrated professional working and professional communication and presenting key findings to peers. Laboratory based simulation exercises will be also used to stimulate discussions and to consider issues in relation to multi/cross/integrated professional working and professional communication, and both academic and peer feedback will be utilised to enhance learning.

You will produce a 1000 word critical reflection on the work attachment, and provide a presentation of your findings to the student group.

Summative Assessment

You will write an academic critical essay chosen from three options. The questions will be based on a critical incident, centred around multi/cross/integrated professional working, professional communication and professional boundaries. (3000 words). (MLOs 01, 02, 03, 04, 05)





Module abstract

This module is designed to examine the structure and development of professions involved with the delivery of health and social care, as exemplars of what constitutes a profession. Particular attention is paid to how these professions negotiate their boundaries both internally and externally, and how professional autonomy is maintained. This will include an examination of historical, ideological, moral, economic and practical contexts of professions and their development. It will also include insights into how professions use language as both a barrier to integrated working, and a tool to protect the boundaries of individual professions. Analysis of professional governance will also be examined, including setting and maintaining standards of entry (the “gatekeeper role”), professional education/training, codes of conduct/standards of practice and legal the status of individual professions.

Course info

UCAS Code L5L6

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 3 years full-time or 4 years with a placement (sandwich)/study abroad

Department Social Work, Education and Community Wellbeing

Location Coach Lane Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2024 or September 2025

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing. 

Full time Courses are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but could include elements of online learning. Most courses run as planned and as promoted on our website and via our marketing materials, but if there are any substantial changes (as determined by the Competition and Markets Authority) to a course or there is the potential that course may be withdrawn, we will notify all affected applicants as soon as possible with advice and guidance regarding their options. It is also important to be aware that optional modules listed on course pages may be subject to change depending on uptake numbers each year.  

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with possible restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors if this is deemed necessary in future.


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