3 Starting a group


Group meeting times

The first thing you need to decide on once you have formed a group is what time the group will meet. Group sessions should be at regular intervals and often enough to keep participants focused and on track.

We recommend that each meeting concerns one chapter of the book and that these meetings happen once a week or once every two weeks.

Once you have formed a group, you need to decide together on a regular meeting time. Once a week, if possible, is ideal.

Although group meetings need to be regular, you should be flexible. People’s work schedules may change, or they may have other commitments that come up. You should find a way to communicate with all group members about changing meeting times and venues. SMS messages or a Whatsapp group are a convenient and cheap way to do this, so make sure you have everyone’s cellphone numbers (find a template ‘Group Members Contact List’ at the end of this guide).

Remember the group should decide together on a meeting time that suits everyone and fits into your work schedule. If you have 10 or more people wanting to do the course, you can split the group in two and have two different meeting times (e.g. a morning group and an afternoon group).

You will also need to get permission from the authorities at your institution if the group meeting time is during working hours or if you want to use a venue at work for the meetings.

How to get the books

Visit www.bettercare.co.za for more information.

Preparing for skills demonstrations

Some of our books include skills chapters. These work best if you have someone who knows the skill well to demonstrate it to the group. There should also be an opportunity for the group members to practise the skill at the group meeting.

The first step is to find a person who has that particular skill and is willing to demonstrate it to the group. This could be an experienced co-worker, a visiting mentor or someone from a different job category. It is more convenient if the person is from the same institution as yourself, but if that is not possible, you can invite someone from a nearby health facility. When you invite someone, you need to be clear about what they have to do. Give them a copy of the skills chapter they will be covering, and remember to give them clear information about the time and place of the meeting, preferably in writing. If you like, you can give the demonstrator a small gift to show your appreciation. A card signed by the group members is meaningful and doesn’t cost a lot of money (remember to include this in your budget).

Find a person who has that particular skill and is willing to demonstrate it to the group.

Often the skills demonstrations require resources (e.g. medical equipment, a dummy or medical charts). Make a list of these requirements in advance and make a plan to ensure you have all the necessary resources for a successful workshop. You can delegate this task to someone in the group. Group members can take turns to get the resources together for the skills workshops.

Establishing goals

Establish everyone’s goals for the course during the first meeting. An easy way to do this is for each person to introduce themselves and then give a brief explanation of their work day, and what they hope to learn during this course. You can then select two or three of the common goals and write them down for easy reference as the course goes on. It helps to motivate participants if the goals are written down on a large piece of paper or cardboard and stuck on the wall of the meeting room.

Select common goals and write them somewhere participants will be able to see as the course goes on.

Each group member may like to write down their own, personal goals for the course, and keep track of how they are progressing in achieving their goal. You can use the template at the end of this guide to record your group and personal goals.

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