Attitude and Formation Change

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Attitude Formation
Barbara Hugh
Rivier College
Professor O’Donnell

An attitude is a personal evaluation of your surroundings. These surroundings can be people, places, objects, or thoughts (Aronson, Wilson, Akert, pg. 211). Attitudes can be cognitively based, affectively based, or behaviorally based. Cognitively based attitudes are attitudes that are based on facts or the properties of the object (Aronson, Wilson, Akert, pg. 211). Affectively based attitudes are based more on emotions (Aronson, Wilson, Akert, pg. 211). Behaviorally based attitudes are based on the observation of behavior towards a certain object (Aronson, Wilson, Akert, pg. 213). Personally, I hold many different attitudes. Based on my personality, many of the attitudes I hold are emotionally or affectively based. As a nurse, I encounter many things daily, which require an evaluation of my attitude. Since I seem to immediately default to my emotional side, I have trained myself to evaluate the person or situation in a more cognitive way, based purely on the facts (Aronson, Wilson, Akert, pg. 211). An example is when I assess my patient. My assessment is based purely on the facts present. I am assessing each body system and presenting my findings to the doctor. My attitude is based on whether this patient is stable and improving, or if they are becoming unstable and requiring the doctor’s immediate attention. If I evaluate the situation based solely on the facts, I am a better nurse. If I allow my emotions to take priority, and my attitude becomes affectively based, I am more focused on my emotional perception of the patient and their situation, not the present facts. An example of affectively based attitude I experience would be when my patient presents with an attempted suicide. Based on life situations, suicide is something that immediately involves an emotional connection for me. My mother suffers from bi-polar disorder and has attempted suicide on more than one occasion. On two occasions, I have been the one to find her after her attempt. This life altering experience has tainted my attitude towards suicide. Since I have experience with suicide and how it has affected my life, my attitude is affectively or emotionally based. When I care for a patient with a suicide attempt, my initial reaction is to focus on the strain this attempt places on the patient’s family and friends. I wonder selfishly what could be so horrible in their life to make them want to end their life. This is where my emotional connection takes over, altering my attitude, and creating a judgment. This is how it affects my job as their nurse. As the patient’s nurse, I must remain objective, viewing only the patient and the presenting facts. I must remain cognitive in my attitude. I must stabilize the patient and adhere to the plan of care. I have worked meticulously to remain focused on a patient’s needs in a suicide, and not my own emotions. When I then view the situation in a cognitive matter, my focus is the suicide attempt (the object) and the facts about the patient and their recovery (Aronson, Wilson, Akert, pg. 211). I can recall the first time I was faced with caring for a suicidal patient. I accepted report from the emergency room, and I was prepared to provide the patient with quality nursing care. As the patient wheeled up from the emergency department, and I witnessed the patient’s parents weeping at the bedside, I was surprised at my reaction. I instantly was more focused on providing comfort to the parents then my patient. I was not aware that I would behave in such a manner. This is an example of a behaviorally based attitude. The only experience I had with suicide was with my mother’s attempts; therefore I did not imagine how I would react in a situation where I was not directly involved. My assessment of my behavior during this time made me realize how I felt regarding suicide. I did not realize how I felt until I witnessed how...
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