McAfee SECURE sites help keep you safe from identity theft, credit card fraud, spyware, spam, viruses and online scams

ATTITTUDE FORMATION AND NURSING

"Caring and science were traditionally taught as distinct aspects of nursing practice. While caring, often regarded as the art of nursing, science was look upon as having the rational basis. New understandings of 'caring science', re-ignites connections between science, art, values, and ethics" (Watson, 2005).
Health professionals need to understand and change their attitudes and beliefs as it makes a significant contribution in determining whether people will adopt healthy behaviours and how they will respond to illness.
This paper outlines the development of self concept in nurses as individuals, its subsequent relationship in the formation of attitude and behaviours and processes in attitude change.

Identity and self conception
Development of the 'Self' is first and foremost linked to our genes or dispositions like moods, personality, etc. But the actual self or the 'identity of self' arises out of human interaction. Mead (1934) says, "Self conception comes from seeing ourselves as others see us."
It is fundamental for every human being to identify the self in the context of the environment because knowing about oneself allows understanding of what one should think and do just as knowing others allows us predict what they think and what they do.
Fiske (2004) adds, "A person not only perceives people has having spatial and physical properties, but also can grasp even such intangibles as their wishes, needs, and emotions by some form of immediate apprehension". Although people's perception of themselves and others is immediate, it is in fact filtered through psychological lens or perceiving apparatus. This makes them aware only of the end product, their experience. In other words, the actual reality is much vast than the reality perceived by a human being.
This perceived reality resulting from mediation of psychological lens gives rise to what is called as an attitude.

Dual process model
Dual process model is based on the assumption that people employ two modes of thinking. When people are alert and active, they apply 'systematic' mode and the other is called the 'heuristic' mode. Heuristics are most likely to be used when people do not have time to think carefully, are overloaded with information/ unimportant information, have little knowledge or apply whatever comes quickly to mind (Heuristic systematic model- Chaiken, 1993).
The dual process model may abstract, but it has everyday life practical implications. For example, knowing that change in attitude can be brought about by thinking systematically, the nurse can observe such behaviours as alertness, thoughtfulness, attentiveness in the patient and talk about behaviour change at that moment.

Conclusion
Given that humans have limited capacity to process information, they attempt to adopt strategy that simplifies complex problems. People develop attitudes and behaviours to ignore information and reduce cognitive overload or overuse information at other times to keep from having to search more. For this people are often willing to accept less than perfect alternative. Similarly, attitude is energy saving behaviour as people do not have to figure out from the scratch how they should relate to the object or situation in question.
The strategies of the cognitive misers make fairly good use of the limited cognitive capacity to process near infinite world of information-but can lead to serious errors, biases and attitudes. Any attempts to make changes in the biases or attitudes do not necessarily change the behaviours. For example, people may have positive attitude towards condom use but yet not used themselves. Many smokers are well aware of the health risks of smoking yet do not change their behaviour.
Thus research on attitude provides set of issues to be considered when making attempts to change behaviour. But it needs to be remembered that if attitude and behaviour change were easy, then people would have very different social world with very different problems.

Related Links
To Top