UNIVERSITY OF CENTRAL ENGLAND
Module title: Psychology and Communication within a context of Nursing
Module Number: 6190
Title of Assignment: Discuss how development of self-awareness in the nurse may assist him/her in delivering patient care
Submission Date: 30th May 2000
Student Name: Steven Perks
University Number: 99024365
Word Count: 2204
PART 1 - TOPIC DISCUSSION
Discuss how development of self-awareness
in the nurse may assist him /her in delivering
patient care. 1-8
PART 2 - REFERENCE LIST
A full reference list, using the Harvard
referencing system. 9-10
Discuss how development of self-awareness in the nurse may assist him/her in delivering patient care.
Self-awareness skills are vital for all therapeutic interaction and development of such skills should be built into all training programmes (English National Board 1987). This essay will attempt to identify a variety of theories based upon the concept of the ‘self’ and acknowledge the importance as well as the problems in becoming self-aware. The author has chosen this topic to gain insight into the importance of developing self-awareness, as Stein-Parbury (1993) comments the more nurses understand about themselves, the easier it becomes to understand patients.
Self-awareness is described by Burnard (1994) as the evolving and expanding sense of noticing a wide range of aspects of the self. In identifying the need for greater self-awareness the nurse is first and foremost asserting the needs as an independent and autonomous human-being. By having an understanding of our own identity we are creating the ability to detach ourselves from the many problems that a patient may express in a variety of manifestations. This then allows the nurse to view problem solving through greater perspectives which encourages empathy instead of sympathy, Kalisch (1971) defines empathy as the ability to perceive the feelings of another person and to communicate this understanding to them, it may even stop the fusion of ego’s where patient and nursing care boundaries are destroyed resulting in the patient losing guidance or help that they require and where role reversal may even become evident. As Burnard (1990 p.28) writes;
“If there is no differentiation between our own thoughts and feelings and those of others, we blur ego boundaries, our sense of ourselves as an independent, autonomous being. We risk not recognising the other persons independence and autonomy. We lose sense of whose problem is whose.”
By becoming self-aware we also become aware of our own choices, we can assess our own needs and wants in a separate entity to those of our clients, and through our own choices we make clearer decisions on behalf of our clients. Through self-awareness we can identify why we have come to the many conclusions we make within our nursing careers, and by using self-awareness skills, critical and accurate assessments made upon effective thinking may be identified rather than theories based upon prejudice or clouded thinking.