Sociological Issues In Nursing Essay

Sociological Issues In Nursing Essay

Sociology is the study of human social behavior, communities and society. It involves the evolution of society and human behavior and it focuses on how society can change human behavior based on interaction with each other (Bennett, B., 2009 p.2). Nursing is a health care profession which concentrates in supporting individuals, their families, and societies as a whole in preserving, attaining and improving best possible health and functioning (Kozier, et al., 2010 pp. 8-9). Sociological knowledge plays a dynamic and elementary role within nursing profession. Besides medical knowledge a nurse needs to be socially aware of a client’s social values. In today’s society, nursing goes further than focusing on health related problems  Sociological Issues In Nursing Essay


In relations to the Interactionist theory, nurses are always interacting with clients who are sick and are recovering from sickness. Nurses play an active role in development, performance, and assessment of client’s health. They use nursing process which is described as a problem-solving structure for planning and providing care to patients and their families (Kozier, et al., 2010 p. 413). The interactions between nurses and clients help nurses in assessing the clients’ needs and problems and further helps nurses to formulate a plan for clients’ well being. They are able to set out realistic and achievable targets to remove or reduce problems as the interactions help them in better understanding the client’s needs. Additionally, they utilize intervention methods that are based on studies in order to enhance complete care (Kozier, et al., 2010 p.200). Studying sociology allows nurses to learn more about the cultural influences and backgrounds of patients thereby enabling them to present a more holistic approach to their care planning. Above example of Interactionist theory help nurses understand how some people exaggerate even the mild symptoms while some people take light of even severe symptoms by daily observations and communications. Furthermore, nurses can share their own attitude with patients in such conditions to create trusting and empathetic relationship. Sociological Issues In Nursing Essay

1) Introduction

As an introduction, generally, sociology is mainly the study of society, communities and people whereas nursing is a profession which focused on assisting individuals, families, and communities in attaining, maintaining and recovering optimal health and functioning.

In this assignment, I will describe the definition of Sociology, the definition of nursing and explain why sociology is very important and is relevant to nursing practice. I hope this assignment will show the relevance of sociology to nursing practice and that will develop more professional and very reliable nurses.

2) Definition of Sociology

“Sociology” comes from the Latin word Socius (companion) and the ending
–ology from the Greek logos (word).…show more content…
Nursing includes the promotion of health, prevention of illness, and the care of ill, disabled and dying people. Hence, teaching healthcare towards common people is an important nursing function as nursing is involved mostly with health promotion, health maintenance, health restoration and the care of dying. These are the qualities which are essential and required by society nowadays. 4) Why is sociology important to nursing practice? Sociology is just as valuable and important to nursing as is psychology is. Sociology helps a nurse understand what makes people “tick” the same way psychology does. The only difference is that sociology does it from a “group” or “community” perspectives. Sociology explores the issues of genders, social classes, stratification, families and economic policies which have impacts on health care and nursing. The information gleaned by even a cursory study in those fields could contribute toward being a kinder and gentler nurse. All of above are important because besides medical knowledge, a nurse really needs to be kind, sympathetic and compassionate. In addition, there are currently many ethical questions in medicine which can be partially covered through the study of sociology such as social welfare disaster such as homelessness. Sociology will give a nurse knowledge and experience on how to deal with everyone better and to give the nurse better Sociological Issues In Nursing Essay

Violence in the Health Care Workplace
Health executives recently coined the phrase “the Quadruple Aim,” which is defined as the Triple Aim (improved outcomes, patient experience, and cost efficiency) plus health care professional satisfaction (O’Connor, 2017). To address the fourth aim, both health systems and professional organizations are taking a closer look at a long-standing issue that is finally coming to the foreground—violence in the health care workplace.

Violence against nurses in the workplace, especially in the hospital setting, has been referred to as an epidemic and is considered a serious health hazard and public health crisis. According to the U.S. Department of Labor (2017), workplace violence is defined as “any act or threat of physical violence, harassment, intimidation, or other threatening disruptive behavior that occurs at the work site.” Nursing is one of the most dangerous jobs in the United States. In fact, nurses are assaulted more often than police officers and prison guards (Dvorak, 2017).Sociological Issues In Nursing Essay

Anecdotally, hospital staff identified the increasing number of patients with behavioral health issues as a contributing factor, and facilities have linked the opioid epidemic and associated spike in overdose admissions as other factors (Burmahl, Morgan, & Hoppszallern, 2017). Among nurses, a dangerous perception exists that assault and threats from patients are “just part of the job” (Integrity Legal Nurse Consulting, 2017) and occur because of patients’ conditions. Violence from patients and visitors is often associated with long wait times (especially in the ED), lack of information, crowding, receipt of bad news, stress, and poor coping skills (Hackethall, 2016; Casey, 2017). Nurses and other health care workers often do not report incidents of patient and/or visitor aggression and violence due to fear of retaliation from their employers.

Over the past year, the media has reported several incidents of workplace aggression against nurses. An Illinois prisoner influenced a corrections officer to remove his shackles to allow him to go to the bathroom, took the officer’s gun, and sexually assaulted a nurse before being fatally shot by police (Ault, 2017). Another instance of workplace violence involved a Massachusetts ED nurse who was stabbed with a knife by a patient she was assisting (Massachusetts Nurses Association, 2017).Sociological Issues In Nursing Essay

Several states have introduced legislation in response to this growing issue. In Massachusetts, state legislators are working to pass “Elise’s Law” [S. 1374], which would require health care employers to “develop and implement individualized workplace violence prevention plans” and allow for a period of paid leave for health care provider victims of assault (Massachusetts Nurses Association, 2017; Mass. Legis., 2017). In Virginia, legislation was passed in 2017 that directs the Department of Health to convene stakeholders and develop model guidelines aimed at violence prevention and publication of penalties associated with perpetrators of violence in the ED and all other health care settings (Virginia Nurses Today, 2017).

Effects of Violence on Health Care Employees and Employers
Beyond the physical pain associated with being a victim of violence, psychological effects are experienced as well, including posttraumatic stress disorder. Upon return to work, it is important for employees to have employer support and a culture of safety to feel secure. From a financial perspective, employers incur the costs of workplace violence associated with the lost work days, increased turnover, the costs related to treatment of physical and psychological results, and the stress on other employees (Yarovitsky & Tabak, 2009).Sociological Issues In Nursing Essay


Approaches to Dealing With Health Care Workplace Violence
The International Council of Nurses recently revised their workplace violence position statement to support development of “zero-tolerance” policies of violence in any form, including those associated with such issues as workplace bullying and lateral violence of nurses to each other (2017). Often underreported, bullying has been associated with a negative work environment that impacts job satisfaction, morale, and health and well-being of employees. These negative impacts affect patient safety and can lead to absenteeism and intention to leave one’s job and the profession.

It is difficult to obtain accurate statistics on the prevalence, scope, and severity of workplace violence because it is underreported. Underreporting workplace violence, whether it be between health care workers or from patients and family members, hinders the development and implementation of violence prevention programs and strategies. Hospitals are beginning to address the mindset that incidents of violent behavior are part of the job by taking a systems-based approach, rather than a reactive incident-specific approach, to its elimination (Stempniak, 2017). However, data are needed to understand the scope of workplace violence and to identify where to target resources to address and prevent it. For example, implementing an employee call center to report verbal and physical incidents is one approach to collect data and respond accordingly to reduce violence. By taking a data-based approach, hospitals and other workplace settings can move toward the prevention of violence.Sociological Issues In Nursing Essay

Another health care system formed a multidisciplinary assault-reduction team that used assault data and created a Behavioral Emergency Response Team (Code BERT). Similar to Rapid Response Teams that react to patient emergencies to prevent cardiac arrest and other life-threatening situations, these multidisciplinary teams respond at any time to actual or potential violent situations (Stempniak, 2017).Sociological Issues In Nursing Essay

Other strategies include staff training to recognize signs of escalating behavior and learning de-escalating techniques and other methods of violence prevention. Such training has seen more widespread adoption in the past 2 years as hospitals take a preventative response. Recognizing that uniformed security presence at the scene of an incident may aggravate matters, clinical staff are taught methods to potentially de-escalate on their own (Burmahl, Morgan, & Hoppszallern, 2017). Other promising practices include using scenario-based simulation training exercises (Allison, Macphee, & Noulett, 2017).Sociological Issues In Nursing Essay

In addition, some hospitals are putting resources into technological prevention methods. Such strategies include metal detectors, surveillance systems, electronic lockdown systems, radio frequency tracking for equipment, and even biometric authentication for certain sensitive areas. These technological prevention methods aim to provide a safe environment for health care employees and patients (Burmahl, Morgan, & Hoppszallern, 2017).

Constant security staffing issues are part of the challenge in facility response to violence. Many health systems have reported an increase in incidents while their security budget has remained the same or decreased, possibly because little data exist that show increased security staff improves outcomes (Burmahl, Morgan, & Hoppszallern, 2017).Sociological Issues In Nursing Essay

Professional organizations advocate that hospitals and other health care settings have “zero-tolerance” policies for workplace violence and assist in developing and implementing such policies. The American Nurses Association’s (ANA’s) position statement emphasizes the ethical, moral, and legal responsibility of health care employers to create a healthy and safe work environment for RNs and other health care team members,patients, families, and communities (ANA, 2015). AACN published its six Healthy Work Environment standards relating to skilled communication, true collaboration, effective decision making, appropriate staffing, meaningful recognition, and authentic leadership (Blake, 2016). The American Organization of Nurse Executives and the Emergency Nurses Association developed a list of eight guiding principles on mitigating workplace violence and recommended implementing health workplace safety assessments and de-escalation training techniques.

State and federal organizations and hospital accreditors also are addressing the epidemic of violence against nurses and other health care workers. The Office of Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has guidelines for preventing workplace violence for health care and social service workers (2016) and recently announced plans to issue a regulation on violence to protect health care workers. The Joint Commission released an advisory for preventing violence and criminal events and recommended actions to identify risks for violence and to develop plans to reduce the risks. The guidelines also focused on improved staffing and establishing a “zero-tolerance” policy (The Joint Commission, 2014).Sociological Issues In Nursing Essay

Several states have introduced new bills proposing to raise the punishment for harming a nurse; in 2018, Florida and Hawaii have such legislation pending (Fla. Legis., 2018; Hawaii Legis., 2018).. OSHA has gathered public comment and is considering updating guidance to health care worker safety. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)/OSHA course, “Workplace Violence Prevention for Nurses,” is an applicable tool for educators and administrators (CDC, 2017a).

Cannabis as a Therapeutic Treatment
An increasing cultural acceptance of cannabis prompted 31 states (including the District of Columbia), Guam, Puerto Rico, and all Canadian provinces/territories to legalize medical cannabis. An increasing proportion of these states have also decriminalized and legalized recreational cannabis use (National Conference of State Legislatures, 2017b). The surge of legislation has outpaced research, leaving nurses with a lack of evidence-based resources when caring for patients who use medical or recreational cannabis. Without experimental evidence that is scientifically rigorous, statistically reportable and based on patient populations, nurses will face increasing challenges about medical cannabis.Sociological Issues In Nursing Essay

Schedule I substances are considered to have no accepted medical value and to present a high potential for abuse. Cannabis and its derivatives have been classified as Schedule I substances since the enactment of the Controlled Substance Act (1970). This Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) classification not only prohibits practitioners from prescribing cannabis, it also prohibits most research using cannabis, except under rigorous oversight from the government.

In October 2009, the Obama Administration discouraged federal prosecution of people who distribute marijuana for medical purposes in accordance with state law (Department of Justice, Office of Public Affairs, 2009). Numerous federal bills have been introduced in recent years to reschedule marijuana to allow more research, but as of 2017, none have passed the House of Representatives or the Senate (Compassionate Access, Research Expansion, and Respect States Act of 2015; Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act, 2015; Restoring Board Immunity Act, 2017; Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2017).Sociological Issues In Nursing Essay

In 2016, congressional representatives called on the DEA to reschedule cannabis (Bernstein, 2016). The FDA conducted a scientific evaluation, medical evaluation, and scheduling recommendation in consultation with the National Institute on Drug Abuse in response to the congressional petitions. The DEA denied petitions to reschedule marijuana as a Schedule II drug or lower, stating that marijuana will remain a Schedule I controlled substance because the DEA considers it to have a high potential for abuse with no medical benefit (Rosenberg, 2016b). In their denial to reschedule, the DEA noted that marijuana does not meet the criteria for currently accepted medical use in treatment and that a lack of safety information exists for its use under medical supervision. However, the DEA also announced a policy change, which expanded the number of DEA registered marijuana manufacturers (Rosenberg, 2016a). This change should provide an increased supply of marijuana for FDA authorized research purposes. Despite this policy change, the DEA has yet to approve any application to become a licensed producer of cannabis for research (Joseph, 2017). Researchers hoping to study the medical effects of cannabis face a protracted wait time for plant material. This federal bottleneck stymies and effectively hinders new studies.Sociological Issues In Nursing Essay

Despite these restrictions, high-quality clinical evidence has emerged establishing the efficacy of cannabis for certain therapeutic applications; however, its safety has not been fully established by large-scale, randomized clinical trials. (For an overview of what considerations go into evaluating new therapeutic agents see Pegler & Underhill, 2010.) Thus, the current evidence for the efficacy and safety of cannabis and cannabinoids has narrow application. For most of the qualifying conditions typically included in state medical cannabis programs, sufficient experimental evidence does not exist to reasonably demonstrate therapeutic efficacy (especially for long-term use), comparative efficacy to standard medications, dosage, tolerability, and safety (including the numerous strains and preparations available). Without additional large-scale clinical studies, cannabis remains a complementary and alternative medicine, a drug of last resort or salvage therapy. Many researchers and medical organizations hope future research will be less restricted and allow more scientific evidence to elucidate well-founded dosages, delivery routes, and indications.

Summarizing the specifics of each jurisdiction’s medical cannabis legislation is difficult because of few commonalities between programs. Unique characteristics of a jurisdiction’s program require the practitioner to review the individual jurisdiction’s statute. The relevant statute can be located through the jurisdiction’s Department of Health and medical marijuana program. These statutes include lists of the conditions that qualify an individual to participate in a jurisdiction’s medical marijuana program and the process to become qualified.Sociological Issues In Nursing Essay

These laws operate on the best available scientific information. Without sufficient information for clinical applications, many qualifying conditions were probably included because of promising preclinical research (including research on animals and isolated cellular/tissue samples), whereas others were probably included because of symptoms they share with better-studied conditions. A few broad qualifying conditions and symptoms, notably chronic pain, neuropathies, and nausea/vomiting, are the most researched and commonly associated with medical cannabis (Whiting et al., 2015).

Most registered medical marijuana patients cite chronic pain as the primary condition being treated; for example, in Arizona, chronic pain accounts for 81% of marijuana patients (Arizona Department of Health Services, 2016). In Colorado, 93% of patients report pain, regardless of whether it is the primary condition being treated (Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment, 2016).

Legislation regarding cannabis is an ever-evolving process. The cannabis legislation summary in Figure 6 is current as of May 2017.Sociological Issues In Nursing Essay