Why A Nurse Should Study Sociology Essay


Nursing and sociology are terms that rather tightly connected with each other, because nursing is a profession that is focused on helping patients, their families and whole communities in recovering optimal health whereas sociology is the study of society and how people should live in it. The main question to answer in this paper is: why sociology is important to nursing? It seems easy and hard question at the same time. In the beginning of this paper I want to quote Porter’s words that were presented in Cooke’s and Philpin’s (2008) book and they will be introductory words to this paper: “The activity of nursing inevitably involves the social interaction of human individuals. As a consequence, if nurses are to do their job properly, they require an understanding of the nature of those interactions, and of the context in which they take place. In other words, they require a knowledge of sociology”.

In this paper, I will give the definition of nursing, the definition of sociology and will explain why nurses need sociology studying in their nursing practice. I strongly believe that this paper will show the necessity of sociology to the development of reliable and more professional nurses.

First of all it is necessary to define the term “nursing” and according to Kim and Kollak (2006) “nursing encompasses autonomous and collaborative care of individuals of all ages, families, groups and communities, sick or well and in all settings. Nursing includes the promotion of health, prevention of illness, and the care of ill, disabled and dying people. Advocacy, promotion of a safe environment, research, participation in shaping health policy and in patient and health systems management, and education are also key nursing roles.” This definition shows us that the essence of nursing profession is to take care of people and help them not only when they ill, but also when they are healthy but need some help.

Defining the notion “sociology” we should mention that this word has a very long history and the beginning of the term comes from the Latin word Socius that means companion and term’s ending comes from the Greek word logos. In general terms sociology can be understand as the science of society, certain social institutions (government, law, morality, etc.), social processes and social communities of people. Contemporary sociology – is a lot of streams and scientific schools, which in many ways try to explain its subject and the role of different answers to the question what is sociology. There are various definitions of sociology as a science of society. And according to one of them sociology – is a science, in which focused social communities, their origins, interactions and trends. Each of the definitions is rational. Most scientists tend to believe that the subject of sociology is a society or certain social phenomena. Therefore, sociology – is the science of generic properties and fundamental laws of social phenomena. Sociology is not simply selects the empirical experience that means sense perception only by means of valid knowledge, social change, but theoretically it generalizes it.

Thinking about nursing, Godin (1999) said that “ideologically, nursing attempts to emphasise differences between itself and medicine. Nursing thus portrays medicine as reductively bio-medical, and itself as holistic. It is perhaps a false dichotomy. Both medicine and nursing knowledge have in recent decades become more informed by a broader conceptualisation of the patient as a whole person, but medicine could well claim to have been influenced by such holistic ideology much earlier than nursing.” He also added that “furthermore, psychology and sociology were included as discrete subjects in the curriculum of doctors’ training much earlier than in the case of nurses.” It becomes understandable that nursing in its turn can not exist without specific knowledge and it draws on knowledge from various disciplines and sciences such as medical science, biological science, psychology, sociology, ethics, politics etc.

Connecting nursing and sociology it is possible to say that connection between these two directions were formed long time ago. For example, with appearance of sociology new possibilities of penetration in the internal world of personality were opened, understanding of individual’s vital aims, interests, and necessities were discovered. However, sociology in the nursing context studies a not person in general, and his concrete world, but it studies social environment, communities which he is interested in and live in, the way of person’s life, social connections, social actions. These new knowledge also open new opportunities in patients’ care, because it allow nurses to understand not only personality of the patient, but also circumstances of his existence and his reaction on surrounding world and surrounding reality.

Do not diminishing the value of numerous areas of social science, however, sociology is unique ability to see the world as integral system. In the frames of sociology the system is examined by this science not only as functioning and developing system, but also as experiencing the state of deep crisis. Modern sociology tries to study reasons of crisis and find the ways of exit from the crisis of society. According to Earle and Denny (2005), nurses in their nursing practice should to know that basic problems of modern sociology are a survival of humanity and updating of civilization, its raising on more higher stage of development. Sociology searches the decision of problems not only at global level but also at the level of social communities, concrete social institutes and associations, social conduct of individual. Sociology is multilevel science, presenting unity of abstract and concrete forms, macro and micro theoretical approaches, theoretical and empiric knowledge.

Thus, taking into account above discussed information it is possible to come to the conclusion that sociology is an important tool that will help nurses to understand the communities where their future patient’s live in and will make them more effective in nursing practice. The sociological vision will help to find the essence of problems and then solve them in a right way. Sociology has positive influences on nurse’s mind and it allows them to deal with people, to understand main mechanisms of society and make horizons of problem perception wider. In the paper were given definitions of nursing and sociology and also were presented their connections between each other.



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