Explore in Relation to a Client You Have Nursed Psychosocial Influences on the Individual’s Perception and Response to Health and Illness.

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This essay will be exploring the psychosocial influences on a 68 year old lady called Susan Smith’s perception to her health, along with her response to illness. To do this we must look at a definition of both psychology and sociology and discuss any possible effects these have had on Susan’s perception of health issues. Also this essay will be looking at any influences such as education, in relation to a female of Susan’s age and background, and discuss whether these issues have affected Susan’s health and her responses to illness. Susan was admitted to hospital for a planned bi-lateral total knee replacement, she lived with her husband John who suffered from bipolar disorder. Susan enjoyed going to her local church every Sunday but had found it more difficult to do this recently due to her osteoarthritis, she had a close network of friends in church who had been taking her to the local supermarket as Susan could no longer drive due to the pain in her knees. Susan had been having difficulty walking due to the osteoarthritis in her knees for around 12 months, and during the past couple of months she was no longer able to leave the house without the aid of her walking frame, which she stated she did not like to use, stating that it made her feel too old, this will be discussed further during the essay. Everyday tasks such as cleaning and cooking were becoming increasingly difficult to carry out; her close friends had been coming to the house and helping out as often as they could. Any names used during this essay will be fictitious to maintain confidentiality of the patient in accordance with the nursing and midwifery guidelines The code (2008).

Giddens (2009) provides the following general definition of sociology: “Sociology is the study of human social life, groups and societies. It is a dazzling and compelling enterprise, having as its subject matter our own behaviour as social beings. The scope of sociology is extremely wide, ranging from the analysis of passing encounters between individuals in the street up to the investigation of world-wide social processes” (p.6). This definition although very generalised, shows that sociology looks at how individuals form groups with each other on a one to one basis, for example friends meeting regularly for a chat, right up to a world wide basis such as how groups of individuals from one area of the globe may differ in their perception and actions when compared to other groups of people in a different area. It also shows that humans are social beings, coming together in certain groups such as Susan with her close friends at their church group; they are all people from the same geographical area with a shared interest in the church they attend and therefore have formed close social relationships together, listening to each others views and opinions as well as helping one another when it is needed. The relationships Susan has formed during her years at the church have altered certain decisions she has made, this will be discussed in more detail during the essay. Hayes (1988) gives the following definition of psychology, “Psychology is the scientific study of behaviour and experience” (p.3). This definition suggests that psychology is organised and structured in its approach to understanding people’s behaviour, and that there is a correlation between peoples past experiences and their behaviour. It looks at how information we receive is processed and reused, for example with Susan her experience of walking frames were that of elderly people from her neighbourhood during her youth, as this is the only past experience she had of these aids she did not think of them as useful to ease her pain, just as an object that was used by people who were much older than herself, therefore Susan did not use this as often as she needed to.

People vary greatly in their perception of health and illness; this could be due to a wide range of issues such as their socioeconomic status, level of...
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