Professional Skills refer to the skills and competencies that you draw on everyday in practice. The Standards of Proficiency for Social Care Workers (SCWRB, 2017) outlines 80 competencies that students must be proficient in upon completion of their educational programme. These skills are like your toolbox and you might draw on different skills at different times. We all bring aspects of our 'selves' to our practice, and there are particular skills that might come naturally to you, while others may take time to develop.
When working with service users there are many skills that you might utilise. These include: Analytical and evaluative skills; Reflection and self awareness; Communication skills (verbal & non-verbal communication, active listening skills, displaying empathy etc.) Collaborative working (both with the person(s) receiving support and other professionals/agencies); Relationship building and so forth.
Reflection and self awareness are like muscles that must be constantly exercised. Our experiences, perceptions and inner working models can shape we engage with the work and we all approach the work with a different lens. This means that we can interpret things differently, and our own experiences can shape what meaning we attach to particular encounters/ situations. Therefore we are charged with continually trying to make sense of our actions and reactions, to interrogate our motivations and to engage in an on-going journey of self discovery.
Check out the following resources to learn more about professional skills:
Lyons, D. & Brown, T. (2021). Guide to the Standards of Proficiency for Social Care Workers. These invaluable e-books created by social care workers for social care workers break down each individual proficiency, what it means and how it relates to the practice environment. Available from: https://socialcareireland.ie/guide-to-the-standards-of-proficiency-for-social-care-workers/
Some information on Kolbs Reflective Cycle: https://educationaltechnology.net/kolbs-experiential-learning-theory-learning-styles/