Final Research Application Paper:Application of Psychology in the Medical FieldMadison LuckhauptUniversity of TennesseeMadison LuckhauptPsychology 110Cora PowersDecember 14, 2017Application of Psychology in the Medical Field My current career goal is to become a physician assistant. A physician assistant is a medical personnel that brings care to patients through conducting examinations, diagnosing medical conditions based on symptoms and examinations, and providing treatment for those diagnosed medical conditions. A physician assistant does not attend medical school but instead must attend a specialized school specific to the physician assistant job. As a result of less educational requirements, a physician assistant is required to be supervised by a physician or surgeon. A physician assistant is expected to work closely with their supervising physician or surgeon along with other medical personnel to provide the best care for their patients.
The knowledge that I have gained from the Psychology 110 course can be applied to my future career in the medical field and I believe there will be great benefits to the knowledge that I have gained in this course. It is my career goal to provide exceptional patient care while making a positive difference in my patient’s lives. When diagnosing and treating patients, it is important to understand the stress the patients may experience along with their attitudes they may feel and exhibit. This Psychology 110 course allowed me to learn about both stress and attitudes can be placed into practice in my future career in addition to making me more effective as a physician assistant. An understanding of stress extends beyond patient stress and can also be applied towards developing solid relationships with coworkers by understanding how they deal with job-related stress which helps develop a better level of teamwork. Stress, as discussed in Psychology 110 class, is the “process whereby an individual perceives and responds to events that one praises as overwhelming or threatening to one’s well being” (Spielman, Dumper, Jenkins, Lacombe, Lovett, & Perlmutter).
Stress can be experienced in many different environments ranging from the workplace to someone’s home. The understanding of stress can be beneficial everyone since stress impacts almost every individual at some point of their lives or they know someone who has dealt with or is dealing with high levels of stress. Possessing knowledge about stress and how to help others deal with stress can provide me with great benefits in my future job.
When dealing with individuals who may be sick or not feeling well it can definitely increase levels of stress from the patient and also impact the healthcare workers dealing with these ill patients. In a study performed by Dieser, Edginton, and Ziemer on the effects of serious leisure perspective on stress levels in a hospital or medical setting, the stress of both the patient and hospital workforce were discussed. “Patients experience stress from their illness or injuries that may involve pain, reduced physical capabilities, anxiety about medical tests and scheduled procedures, and uncertainty about the future” (Dieser, Edginton, & Ziemer). These stresses experienced by patients can lead to worsening symptoms in their medical conditions. The medical staff that treats these patients can also experience stress due to large workload, long hours and stressful work conditions.
Stress in the medical workers lives can lead to stress-induced illnesses over time as well. The three researchers examined the Mayo Clinic campus in Rochester, Minnesota where a serious leisure perspective practice has been put into practice. This Rochester campus offers various leisure activities, such as meditation, art in the comfort of patients beds, pianos for leisure or performances, and parks available to patients and doctors to assist in relieving their stress. Having these leisure activities available helped “to calm patients and uplift their spirits” (Dieser, Edginton, & Ziemer). For doctors and other medical personnel, “Leisure can specifically decrease burnout” (Dieser, Edginton, & Ziemer). The three researchers believed that there still was a great amount of research that could be performed to further the knowledge of leisure activity on stress levels. However, they were able to conclude that the Mayo Clinic campus in Rochester “demonstrates how leisure programs can relieve stress, provide healthy coping, and deliver self-protection from the negative health outcomes of extreme and prolonged distressed” (Dieser, Edginton, & Ziemer).
There was a second study regarding stress levels performed by Edo, Torrents-Rodas, Rovira, and Fernandez-Castro, student volunteers were given several different scenarios of diagnosis and their stress levels were tested. The researchers concluded that as the severity of the diagnosis increased, the stress levels of the student volunteers increased as well. The stress levels of the student volunteers also increased as the efficacy of treatment decreased. The researchers conclude by saying this study’s findings “helps to know how to change the way bad news are communicated, in order to lower perceived stress of a diagnosis” (Edo, Torrents-Rodas, Rovira, & Fernandez-Castro). It was stressed that it is important to follow proper medical protocol in delivering potentially troubling news to reduce information that may cause stress or uncertainty. In a study performed by Sallon, Katz-Eisner, Yaffe, and Bdolah-Abram, medical caregivers were observed. The researchers studied medical caregivers at a hospital in Israel for an eight month period. The medical personnel were given five different types of stress-relieving exercises for them to perform when they felt increased levels of stress.
The five types of exercises included (cognitive which included mediation), somatic or “body awareness” (which included relaxation and yoga), dynamic or “interactive” (which included laughter and medium cardiovascular exercises), emotive (which included self expression through drawing and writing alone or in groups), and hands on (which included acupressure and palm massages) (Sallon, Katz-Eisner, Yaffe, & Bdolah-Abram). After the eight month period was finished, the results showed that these stress relieving exercises decreased emotional exhaustion, decreased work related tension, increased work productivity, and improvements in mood and physical health in the medical caregivers. This study helped to show how understanding and dealing with healthy outlets for stress it can provide solid results for both patients and staff. As shown in the studies above, stress is very common in a hospital or medical setting. Both patients and medical personnel experience loads of stress each day. It is important as a medical caregiver to try to provide a serious leisure environment as discussed in the Dieser, Edginton, and Ziemer study. By providing leisure activities for patients, it allows them to de-stress and allows for a better recovery process. The leisure activities also help the medical staff relieve stress so they can provide better patient care.
It is also important as a medical personnel to watch how a diagnosis is delivered as suggested in the Edo, Torrents-Rodas, Rovira, and Fernandez-Castro study. Diagnosis can put great amounts of stress on patients, therefore, if a medical personnel can provide a less harsh delivery of the diagnosis it may be able to prevent some of the stress that may be experienced by the patient or it may relieve the patient of stress he or she already has if the message is delivered well. The understanding of stress in other medical workers also helps with teamwork. If an individual on a medical team is under a great amount of stress, the team can work together to attempt to relieve that individual’s stress by helping them with their workload or smaller responsibilities. By understanding what stress is, how to identify it and understanding that both patients and medical workforce experience it, allows for a medical professional to be empathetic to those individuals, which makes you a better caregiver and coworker. Finally, by knowing what stress is and understanding its consequences when it becomes too much, it makes it easier to detect when stress is causing negative impacts on your own body.
When negative impacts of stress are detected, it is important to try stress relieving exercises to reduce this stress. As shown in the Sallon, Katz-Eisner, Yaffe, and Bdolah-Abram study, stress relieving exercises, such as yoga, meditation, and drawing, can reduce work related stress, increase work productivity, and improve overall emotional and physical health. By being able to reduce stress, it makes an individual a more productive worker for a team of medical workers and for the patients they are caring for. In the Psychology 110 course, attitude of individuals was discussed as being “our evaluation of a person, an idea, or an object” (Spielman, Dumper, Jenkins, Lacombe, Lovett, Perlmutter). All individuals have an attitude towards everything so it is not surprising that patients have an attitude towards their diagnosed illness or injury.
A patient’s attitude towards their injury or illness may be negative and as a result they may become depressed or feel very sad. Additionally, their attitude towards their health concern may be positive when they believe that they will be able to fight over this illness or recover from their injury. As a medical personnel, it is important to know attitude changes from person to person and they must make adjustments based on the individual.
In a study performed by Chopik, Kim, and Smith on how levels of optimism changes as health changes, the researchers studied optimism within heterosexual couples. The couples both filled out a self evaluation survey on their level of optimism. After a four year period, the same couples filled out the same self-evaluation previously completed again on optimism.
The researchers concluded with the information they gathered that couples recorded higher levels of optimism if they were in good health or optimism in the couples increase when their health was getting better (Chopik, Kim, & Smith). On the other hand, the researchers also noted that if an individual within the couple had a chronic disease, the couple’s optimism level was likely not to change after the four year research period (Chopik, Kim, & Smith). This study showed the direct relationship of the participants health to their levels of optimism or overall attitude.
Another attitude study performed by Huang, Lee, Ketheeswaran, Jones and Revicki, involved the researchers studied cases of individuals with all different types of illnesses. The individuals of the cases were asked to complete a Health-Related Quality of Life (HRQoL) Assessment. Based on these assessments and information gathered from their cases, researchers were able to place the individuals into personality types and identified any correlations between a particular personality and types of illnesses or injuries. The researchers found out that individuals with a neuroticism personality or attitude (this is someone who experiences anxiety, anger, jealousy, loneliness, etc) has a correlation with experiencing “bodily pain, physical functioning, psychological functioning, and other functioning with the body” (Huang, Lee, Ketheeswaran, Jones, & Revicki).
Individuals with an optimistic personality or attitude had a correlation with “physical functioning, psychological functioning, and social functioning” (Huang, Lee, Ketheeswaran, Jones, & Revicki). The researchers were able to conclude that “personality characteristics are associated with physical, psychological, social, and other functioning” (Huang, Lee, Ketheeswaran, Jones, & Revicki). This is yet another study that helps identify how attitude can have direct impact on medical well-being. The studies referenced show how health can change or influence an individual’s’ attitude. The first study by Chopik, Kim, and Smith showed a less optimistic attitude in those individuals with illnesses or injuries compared to those individuals without illnesses or injuries. The second study by Huang, Lee, Ketheeswaran, Jones, and Revicki showed that personality traits or attitudes have correlations with specific qualities of life.
As a future physician assistant, my study and knowledge of psychology helped me to gain an understanding of these differing attitudes that patients may possess. Attitudes towards their diagnosed diseases or injuries is important to both understand and interpret in order to be a better medical professional. Attitudes can change how an individual chooses to approach particular treatments for diseases. Just like it is important for physician assistants, doctors, and other medical personnel to have an understanding of psychology for the sake of their patients, it is also important that everyone has a basic understanding of psychology when dealing with others including coworkers and others in the community. Psychology affects how everyone thinks and behaves everyday. By having a basic understanding of psychology, we can understand the basics of why people behave in certain ways. We can also learn how to relieve our own stress or relieve other people of certain stresses.
A basic understanding of psychology allows for people to be more empathetic and understanding to those who have psychological disorders, such as depression, anxiety disorders, or schizophrenia. Having knowledge of psychological disorders allows for people in a community to not make wrong assumptions of the disorders or make misdiagnosis the disorder. For example, people who do not fully understand what obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) may claim that they are OCD about a particular thing when in fact they are not actually OCD. This self-diagnosis of a disorder can be very offensive to people who truly struggle from this particular disorder.
By having a basic understanding of psychology it helps to eliminate potential misunderstanding of psychological disorders. Overall, I believe that I will heavily rely upon the concepts studied in Psychology 110 to make me a better physician assistant. In particular understanding attitude and stress are the most common psychological concepts that will be of greatest benefit.
By reviewing the academic study results, it exhibited the positive effects of attitude on medical diagnosis, patient symptoms and increased the morale and level of patient care by medical professions. Additionally, the studies reviewed showed how stress equally has impacts on patients and medical professionals. These research studies help to reiterate the positive impacts of attitude and stress reduction can have in changing patients lives and ultimately their overall well-being and diagnosis. By having increased level of understanding of these critical psychological concepts, I will ultimately benefit in my future career as well as the patients that I care for will benefit as well.