In the career of a health professional, the role of the interview is crucial in treating patients, interacting with others and gaining knowledge. (Northouse &Northouse 1998:165) Understanding the interviewing skills used in the exploration phase is especially valuable in my development as an emerging IHP through the reflective, empathetic and knowing dimensions. (Olckers, Gibbs & Duncan 2007:2) An example of an interview will be discussed to reflect the importance of these skills in influencing an interviewee’s thoughts, feelings and behaviours.
In our BP groups have learnt about the various phases of an interview and practiced applying them. In one of the interviews I was a journalist for the UCT newspaper “Varsity”, interviewing a first year student in the Health Sciences faculty about Orientation Week (O-week). The purpose was to gain knowledge about O-week and in particular, her personal experiences and opinions. The interview lasted 15 minutes long and was conducted in a quiet, comfortable room free of diruptions. The interviewing phases were followed beginning with the preparation phase, then the initiation and exploration phases and concluding with the termination phase. (Northouse &Northouse 1998:170) The content covered in the interview included the interviewee’s expectations for O-week; her feelings about the experience and what she gained from it. O-week was made up of academic, residence, university and social orientation and each of these aspects was discussed from the personal perspective of the interviewee.
During the interview phase the content and purpose of the interview is covered and the gains are achieved. To improve the effectiveness of the exploration phase, several interviewing skills are implemented including open-questions, reflection, interpretation and clarification. (Northouse &Northouse 1998:175-176)
Open questions are broad and do not expect a single, clear-cut answer. They do not call for a specific or limited response and therefore give the interviewee full control over the information they share. In an interview, reflection is about acting as a mirror to the interviewee - not only to her words but similarly to her thoughts and feelings. The interviewer must reciprocate the interviewee’s expression without reflecting their own opinions. The skill of interpretation transfers the focus to the interviewer’s response. It requires the interviewer to report back on and provide explanations for the feelings of the interviewee from a new perspective. It involves internalizing the interviewee’s expression, analysing it and helping to explore it in more depth. Clarification achieves a common understanding of what is being discussed in an interview. It involves asking for more detailed explanations, clearer communication and relatable examples. (Northouse &Northouse 1998:182-190)
Everything that we say and do has an influence on those around. In an interview, the skills used in the exploration phase evoke different...