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Journal Entry Week Six

October 19, 2014

Crystal Mills-Selby

One of my learning contract goals under Personal Development was to improve upon my
interpersonal communication skills. The strategy for completing this task was to network with
the Division of Services for Aging and Adults with Physical Disabilities staff and practice
improving my oral communication through those interactions and professional development
opportunities. This past Monday, I was invited to attend a DSAAPD conference with several of
the Service Delivery and Program Unit staff. The LIVE Conference on Aging was the perfect
opportunity for me to come out of my comfort zone and hone those areas of my communication
style that are in need of improving. By networking with other aging industry professionals I
gained a sense of how my body language, tone, and words have an impact on the outcomes of
conducting professional business matters.
When my internship first began I was apprehensive about communicating and
networking with the staff at the DSAAPD. That was mostly due to the fact that I was never
officially introduced to the unit leaders or staff, taken on a tour of the facilities, or provided with
the necessary policies or procedures on functions of the unit. Now several weeks into the process
Im beginning to realize that through the implementation of positive communication, and setting
aside some of my own personal feelings and attitudes, I can achieve the goals of the university,
DSAAPD, and those on my learning contract. During my next practicum visit I plan to meet with
my very busy site supervisor, asking if she can set aside some time for us to sit down and discuss

my role as an intern with the division. As a participant observer, my focus is to also meet with
the program coordinators in the unit and set dates/times to sit with and observe the staff functions
and learn about the various programs that the DSAAPD offers. By taking the initiative to focus
on a more positive way of thinking and communicating during this experience it will benefit my
overall professional development.
The best experience thus far in this guided practicum, has been the attendance and
networking that I did at the LIVE conference on Aging. Step 1 of the Integrative Processing
Model was utilized in gathering objective data from that concrete experience: Reflecting on the
events of that day I realized that the DSAAPD staff were very appreciative of my attendance at
the conference and provided me with the necessary information and tools to make it a positive
learning experience. The key event and feature of the conference for me, was getting the
opportunity to hear the speech of Delaware Secretary of Health and Social Services Rita
Landgraf speak on the topic of advocating for initiatives and funding that allows our elderly
population to Age in Place by providing supports and resources that keep them in their homes
and communities. The venue where the event was held had adequate space for the many
community organizations and vendors to display their informational resources and giveaways, as
well as ample space to accommodate the multitudes of people in attendance. Normally, when Im
in an unfamiliar environment where I have to meet new people I tend to be reserved and most
conversations are initiated by the other person. During this event I made a conscious effort to be
aware of my interactions with others by seeking out conversations with all types of professionals
and vendors that collaboratively work in providing direct care to the states aging population.