Psychology is a required element in nursing education in many countries. It is particularly aimed at teaching nursing students to get a better understanding of patients, colleagues, health care organizations and themselves, and moreover to apply what they learn about psychology to optimise their care. A meaningful integration of psychology within nursing education requires an emphasis on its application in understanding aspects of care and skills development. However, its ultimate value is demonstrated when addressing problem areas in nursing and health care. In this paper the authors outline an approach to psychology education in nursing which emphasises its development as a problem solving support. An example is presented which focuses on the application of psychology to the challenge of care erosion and deficient critical nursing reflection. The discussion includes the organisational context, social pressure, social cognition, reflection and the role of inner conflict (cognitive dissonance). Nursing educators can contribute to the prevention of care erosion by a combined effort to teach awareness of psychological mechanisms, 'critical' reflection, mastery in practice, strong values and standards, and 'inoculation' against justifications of substandard care.
Trinity College Dublin ->