Psychology and nursing: the case for an empirical approach



The arguments presented concern the teaching of psychology to nurses. It is noted that psychology is regarded as an important component of nurse education, though the nature of this relationship can be considered elusive. In pointing out that the effect of learning psychology has yet to be measured in nursing practice, a case is put forward proposing a different approach to its teaching. The emphasis on content-based courses in which nurses are expected simply to learn a body of knowledge and apply that to their nursing is considered. Instead it is argued that a process-based course, that is one which emphasizes the methods and approaches used in gathering psychological information, is more appropriate. This, it is felt, should contribute to the aim of the nursing profession that its members be able to adopt a critical stance and develop research mindedness in the practice of their work.