Although stereotyping is something that is done in the mind, it can sometimes lead to a change in behavior towards a patient as they are expected or perceived to behave in a certain way, depending on the stereotype (Ran & Upton 2013). An example of this an be found in the case study where Mark had overheard a nurse labeling him as being “difficult” and a “constant timescales, which then led to their prejudices becoming apparent in their dismissive behavior towards him. Stereotypes are formed by attaching certain attributes to certain groups of people.
The attribution theory claims that it is human nature to attribute people with certain qualities to try and explain their behavior. There are two models that are interlinked with the attribution theory: Frizz Hides Naive Psychology (1958) and Harold Kelley ‘Co variation Model’ (1973). The Naive Psychology model has three main principles: our behavior is caused by motivation, individuals tend to look for similar qualities in other people or situations that cause behavior in order to allow us to predict behavior, and that behavior falls into TV’0 categories – internal factors (behavior is due to personality, mood, disposition, etc. And external factors (behavior is due to external/ environmental factors; such as not knowing the rules of an establishment or when joining a new team of people, etc). The Co variation model presents the idea that people aim to find factors that change with behavior and then aim to find the cause of that behavior. There are also three main principles for this model: consistency of information (is the behavior constant), distinctiveness of information (is the behavior a one- time thing) and consensus of information (do all people behave this way or just the individual).
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Brimley and Emerson (1995) research showed that nurses often found patients’ challenging behavior was due to internal, rather than external, factors (I. E. Their mood – anger, depression, frustration, etc). Unfortunately, the Co variation model is not always used in a health care eating to explain behavior and as a result, we tend to generalize and attach the same attributes to a group of people we perceive to be similar in some aspect, which leads to stereotyping and labeling; such as all black males are aggressive, all female drivers are incompetent, etc.
These stereotypes and labels can also affect a health care professionals attitudes towards their patient, especially if they have had an experience to suggest a stereotype may be true. According to Hog and Vaughan (2005), an attitude is a fixed way of thinking or feeling about something – whether we like or dislike something or omen and the impact it has on our actions.
Attitudes are formed by three components: an emotional component – how the person or issue makes you feel; a cognitive component – what you think or believe about the person or issue; and a behavioral component ?? how the attitude influences your behavior towards the person or issue (Cherry 2014). This could be interpreted to mean that the nurses in the case study probably think that all drug users are the same and that it is their own fault for being the way they are, as they had treated Mark without care or compassion from the start.
The danger with negative stereotypes/ labels and attitudes is that it can have a negative impact on the person being stereotyped or treated differently, and lead them to think or behave in a way that fits the stereotype (Nolan- Hoecakes et al 2009). For instance, due to the nurses’ bad treatment Of him, Mark’s attitudes towards the nurses becomes negative too, causing him to become “agitated and aggressive????’, as he found it was the only way they gave him the treatment he needed. In doing this, Mark had fulfilled their stereotypes of him being “difficult”.
Attitudes are not always negative or set in stone; they can be altered or adapted to fit different situations, or even changed completely. For instance, if a nurse held the belief that people who attempt to commit suicide are selfish and do not consider their loved ones when doing it, and came across a case where they found out that the patient who tried to commit suicide suffered from severe depression or other mental problems after they got to know them, there would be a conflict in their mind.
Therefore, to settle this conflict, they would reason that maybe it is not true in al cases and begin to change their attitude towards people with HIVE/ AIDS. This alteration to attitude is known as ‘Cognitive Dissonance’; a theory introduced by social psychologist, Leon Festering (1957). In relation to the case study; Mark undergoes cognitive dissonance when he has a negative experience with the nurses, which then influence his opinion and attitude towards them, and probably leads him to believe that they are all the same, until he comes across a nurse who does pay attention to him and make him feel a little better about himself.
This could possibly encourage him to seek elf for his drug addiction, whereas the other nurses’ attitudes towards him made him feel worthless, which, in turn, discouraged him from wanting to seek help (Woods 2004). With regards to health care, a belief is a mental attitude that trusts or has confidence in a person and their ability to fulfill an expectation depending on their situation (for example, a drug user is believed to be unhealthy and unhygienic: the belief is fulfilled when dealing with a patient who is unkempt and a drug user, etc).
Belief is not the same as judgment, as judgment is a mental act that is carried out consciously, whereas belief seeks to prove that something is right rather than wrong. We all have many beliefs that we are not always conscious of and in health care it can sometimes have a negative effect (Collins 2014) (Cline 2014). Although attitudes are quite changeable, beliefs are not.
This is because instead of considering other reasons for a person’s behaviors, people tend to look for information or actions that support their own existing beliefs, meaning that the individual’s behavior will alter according to their beliefs because they already know what to expect from the other person. For example; Cole and Able (2000) found that nurses’ level of care for patients who had contracted HIVE/ AIDS through blood transfusions was a lot higher than for those who had contracted the disease through intravenous drug use (needle sharing).
This theme can be found in the case study where Mark’s aggressive attitude has confirmed the nurses’ beliefs of him being ‘difficult’ and has affected their behavior and level of care towards him, which is reflected by their behavior towards him. This poor level of care has also affected the way Mark sees himself by making him feel like he may actually be a “loser” and has creased his level of self-worth, which in turn has had an impact on his motivation to seek help for his drug addiction.
This further demonstrates that beliefs can influence attitudes and behavior, and can affect the level of care provided for a patient. In conclusion, I believe that nurses should be able set their prejudices and beliefs aside when dealing with a patient to allow for better care. However, I also understand that this is not always possible, as it is in our human nature to react instinctively, sometimes without being aware of how we react.
The way we react and treat other people is largely influenced by the three afore mentioned concepts in the following ways: stereotypes within society instill into our minds that certain groups of people are a certain way because they belong to that group, attitudes towards different groups of people are influenced by these stereotypes, and they in turn can cause us to look for attributes in people to confirm our prior beliefs, causing unfortunate differences in levels of care provided for patients. Bibliography Brimley, J. And Emerson, E. (1995) Beliefs and emotional reactions Of care Taft working with people with challenging behaviors.