Psychological Principles in Nursing

Besides being professional in a specific medical field, a nurse should be aware of different psychological principles. Sufficient knowledge of psychology allows a healthcare worker to establish a closer connection with a patient and provide more effective medical care. At the same time, the basics of psychology help understand the nature of many health conditions, since psychological factors are a widespread cause of health problems. In the present paper, the role of important psychological concepts in nursing is discussed in detail.

Addiction, in simple words, is a dependency on a particular habit-forming substance or activity. This issue is interesting to study since it is a complicated notion that requires a profound understanding of a patient’s physiology and psychological background. Today, the problem of addiction is rather widespread, since the problems of the modern world often lead people to tobacco, alcohol, or substance overuse. Understanding different psychological aspects, such as the level of an addict’s stress and a patient’s need for family support, can be vital in defining the strategy of coping with addiction (Davis, Patton, & Jackson, 2017). In my experience, there were people who suffered from severe addictions due to personal issues or a high level of stress. For them, it was essential to seek an understanding of surrounding people, including nurses, who took care of them in medical institutions and organized family therapy sessions.

Memory is another concept that remains an interesting subject for medical research. It is an essential function of an organism, which allows remembering and storing information. The principle of memory work is that it captures incoming visual and auditory information and focuses attention, which is necessary for learning, reasoning, and everyday activities. However, the ability to remember things may be seriously affected under particular negative circumstances, for example, psychological distress or mental diseases. Different deteriorations, such as forgetting, may also be the result of aging. By understanding the functions of memory, a nurse is able to identify possible causes of memory loss (Basheer, 2019). Budson and O’Connor (2017) emphasize that sometimes people do not know about their memory disorder. In my practice, I met a nurse whose timely actions in response to a patient’s inability to perform simple memory tasks allowed identifying early-onset dementia. Therefore, a nurse should pay attention to such imparities and report them to a doctor.

Finally, every nurse needs to understand the stage of their patient’s development. These stages include prenatal development, infancy, early childhood, middle childhood, adolescence, early adulthood, middle adulthood, and late adulthood. I think that it is an interesting theory in terms of psychology because every stage needs a separate psychological approach. Being a specialist who interacts with patients a lot, a nurse should treat patients according to their development stage to ensure a comfortable stay in a hospital. Moreover, Taylor and Workman (2018) emphasize that human development is closely connected to biological and behavioral aspects. Besides, DeLaune, McTier, Tollefson, Lawrence, and Ladner (2019) state that “progression through each developmental stage influences health status” (p. 273). Discrepancies in different patients, such as the inability of a child to speak or move properly, may help identify developmental delay. I have always enjoyed noticing the differences between children, teenagers, adults, and older people, and establishing a connection with them. For me, it is essential both for their psychological comfort and for understanding their health conditions.

To sum up, the awareness of a patient’s psychological condition, level of stress, and behavior corresponding to a certain stage of development allows to find an appropriate approach to ensure an individual’s emotional comfort. At the same time, noticing psychological discrepancies, such as memory deteriorations or developmental problems, may help identify health problems in a patient. Moreover, psychological means of treatment have proved to be effective. For example, by organizing regular family visits, a nurse may influence a patient’s recovery. Therefore, knowledge of psychological principles is necessary for providing high-quality nursing care.


Basheer, K.A. (2019). Psychology for B.Sc. nursing (2nd ed.). Delhi, India: PHI Learning.

Budson, A.E., & O’Connor, M.K. (2017). Seven steps to managing your memory: What’s normal, what’s not, and what to do about it. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Davis, P., Patton, R., & Jackson, S. (2017). Addiction: Psychology and treatment Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

DeLaune, S.C., McTier, L., Tollefson, J., Lawrence, J., & Ladner, P.K. (2019). Fundamentals of nursing: Australia & New Zeland (2nd ed.). South Melbourne, Australia: Cengage AU.

Taylor, S., & Workman, L. (2018). The psychology of human social development: From infancy to adolescence. London, England: Routledge.