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Posted: September 30th, 2023

Psychosocial Factors and Patient Education in Healthcare

Psychosocial Factors And Patient Education Essay
Sister Mary is a patient in Level 2 Emergency Department. She must have a neural
examination, physical assessment, radiographs of her facial bones, and a computed
tomography scan of the head. Taking into consideration that she is a Roman Catholic
nun, what would be the ideal course of patient education as this woman progresses
from department to department?
Psychosocial Factors Affecting the Patient and Health Care Professional
“Psychosocial Factors and Patient Education in Healthcare”

Sister Mary, a Roman Catholic nun, is currently a patient in the Level 2 Emergency Department, requiring a neural examination, physical assessment, radiographs of her facial bones, and a computed tomography scan of the head. As healthcare professionals, it is essential to consider her unique psychosocial factors throughout her journey within different departments of care.

Psychosocial Factors Affecting Patients and Healthcare Professionals:
In healthcare, individuals vary significantly due to their diverse backgrounds, thoughts, experiences, and beliefs, all of which shape their identities. Healthcare professionals encounter various psychosocial factors daily, both consciously and unconsciously. Unfortunately, time constraints often lead some professionals to overlook these factors, considering them impractical (Falvo, Pg 82).

Regrettably, some healthcare providers may choose to ignore or avoid addressing a patient’s psychosocial factors, feeling overwhelmed or incompetent in handling these complex issues. For instance, a doctor prescribing medication to a patient who disagrees with certain treatment options highlights the challenges posed by these psychosocial factors.

Patients dealing with chronic health conditions, such as coronary heart disease (CHD), often face unpredictable and unexpected risk factors that can trigger significant stress. These individuals possess a set of norms and values, influenced by their cultural, socioeconomic, ethnic, gender, age, and life experiences (Falvo, Pg 83). Hence, medical therapy alone may not suffice; they require comprehensive psychosocial interventions.

Research by James Blumenthal, PhD, indicates that psychosocial treatments can lead to clinical improvements in psychological distress, lower blood pressure, heart rate, cholesterol levels, and reduced mortality rates (Blumenthal, Pg.1). Guiding patients like Sister Mary toward the right healthcare professionals and providing the appropriate education can significantly enhance their quality of life.

The Impact of Psychology on Physical Health:
Psychological factors, including stress, chronic pain-related behaviors, depression, and cultural beliefs, can have profound effects on an individual’s physical well-being. Addressing both the physiological and psychological aspects of health is essential for successful treatment outcomes, overall wellness, and improved adherence to medical regimens.

The Role of Psychologists in Healthcare:
To enhance patient care, it is highly beneficial to introduce a team of psychologists with specific roles and responsibilities within a hospital setting. These roles include:

Substance Abuse Counselor:

Provides counseling for substance abuse issues.
Refers patients to additional services such as family agencies, psychiatrists, and welfare agents.
Coordinates recovery programs and structured substance abuse programs.
Inpatient-Only Psychologist:

Offers therapies and support to patients admitted to the hospital.
Teaches coping skills to help patients adjust to chronic or terminal illnesses.
Provides individual and family therapy sessions and referrals to support groups.
Child Psychologist:

Helps children cope with medical conditions and hospitalization.
Provides psychological preparation methods for medical procedures.
Offers support and education to parents on managing their child’s illness.
Adult Psychologist:

Assists adults in coping with medical conditions and procedures.
Diagnoses stress disorders and provides stress interventions.
Teaches stress-relieving techniques and refers patients to relevant specialists.
Pain Psychologist:

Focuses on treating chronic pain and designing behavioral interventions.
Provides cognitive and behavioral treatments to reduce pain.
Supports patients in managing psychosocial factors related to pain.
The introduction of such a team can reduce hospitalization times, improve adherence to medical regimens, and enhance overall patient well-being. These psychologists can offer outpatient services, address psychosocial factors, and provide valuable support to patients during their healthcare journey.

Psychosocial care is a crucial aspect of nursing practice that complements the physical aspects of healthcare. By understanding and addressing patients’ psychosocial factors, healthcare professionals can offer more holistic care, improving patient outcomes and overall well-being. Implementing a team of psychologists with specialized roles can further enhance the quality of patient care and support patients through their healthcare journey.

Study Bay Notes
Psychosocial Factors and Patient Education

Psychosocial factors are the psychological and social aspects of a person’s life that affect their health and well-being. These factors may include the mental state and psychological qualities of a patient which, in turn, influences physical health (Antony & Merghani, 2016). These can impact patient education by disrupting a patient’s focus. A significant aspect of education is adherence to treatment. Psychosocial factors can also affect patient education by influencing their behaviors in regards to exercise, arousal reduction, optimal utilization of medication and health resources, and ability to control interpersonal behaviors (e.g., irritability) (Gonzalez et al., 1990).

Patient education is the process of providing information, skills, and support to patients and their families to help them manage their health conditions and improve their quality of life. Patient education can enhance self-efficacy, coping, learned helplessness, and social support, which are four psychosocial theories that have been useful in clinical practice (Gonzalez et al., 1990). Self-efficacy is the belief in one’s ability to perform a specific task or behavior. Coping is the process of managing stress and emotions in response to challenges or threats. Learned helplessness is the tendency to give up or feel powerless when faced with repeated negative outcomes. Social support is the availability and quality of interpersonal relationships that provide emotional, informational, or instrumental assistance.

Patient education can be delivered in various ways, such as face-to-face, online, or through printed materials. However, regardless of the mode of delivery, patient education should be tailored to the individual needs, preferences, and learning styles of each patient. Patient education should also be based on evidence-based principles and practices that are relevant to the patient’s health condition and goals. One systematic review showed that educating patients about the neurological processes, as well as psychosocial factors, that contribute to a patient’s pain experience can help to improve the patient’s physical performance as well as reduce pain and perceived disability related to chronic musculoskeletal pathologies (Louw et al., 2016) and, perhaps, other disease processes as well.

Patient education is an essential component of health care that can benefit patients in many ways. By addressing the psychosocial factors that affect patients’ health and well-being, patient education can empower patients to take an active role in their own care and improve their outcomes.


Antony, M. M., & Merghani, A. A. (2016). Psychosocial factors affecting physical health: An overview. Sudan Journal of Medical Sciences research essay writing service(SJMS), 11(2), 5-10.

Gonzalez, V. M., Goeppinger, J., & Lorig, K. (1990). Four psychosocial theories and their application to patient education and clinical practice. Arthritis Care & Research: Official Journal of the American College of Rheumatology, 3(3), 132-143.

Louw, A., Zimney, K., Puentedura, E. J., & Diener, I. (2016). The efficacy of pain neuroscience education on musculoskeletal pain: A systematic review of the literature. Physiotherapy Theory and Practice, 32(5), 332-355.

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