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The psychology of nursing

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Nurses can use psychological techniques Nurses can use psychological techniques to effectively enhance understanding of patients

Psychological issues such as depression and other mental stressors have been found to trigger inflammation and oxidative stress, decreased immunity, and dysfunction of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. Stressful life events (SLEs) such as physical, emotional, and sexual abuse may cause organic diseases such as cardiac and metabolic complications, higher serum triglyceride, and lower HDL-cholesterol concentrations. On the other hand, chronic medical conditions can disrupt an individual’s psychological well-being. Cardio-metabolic diseases, for example, are associated with major depressive disorder (MDD).1

The question is: Which one is causing the other? How is the suffering of the mind and body related? There are no simple answers since more and more research is finding a complex two-way relationship between the two. However, nurses can still benefit from an understanding of psychology and the mind-body link.

Different psychological theories and nursing

Below is a summarised account of the various perspectives in psychology that are relevant to nursing. How many are you aware of and how often do you adopt these theories in your nursing practice?

Psychodynamic psychology

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