Patient Experience Research Paper Sample

Patient Experience Research Paper

Introduction
One of the major goals of a counseling psychologist is to assess properly the current state of his/her patient and evaluate the patient’s experience in order to understand the needs of the patient and the possible ways of treatment or help to the patient. In fact, there are a variety of approaches and methods of the assessment of the patient’s state and experience. Basically, psychologists use case history, interview, and observation to provide their patients with counseling services. It should be pointed out that counseling services may be extremely important for patients because they stimulate the improvement of patients’ internal state, their self-esteem, perception of the surrounding world etc.

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In such a situation, the effective counseling contributes to the improvement of the patient and, therefore, it implies that psychologist counseling should be of a high quality. The high quality of counseling should be based on the material a psychologist has concerning his/her patient, including the material or information received in the result of interviews and observation. Consequently, interviews and observation may play the key role in the effectiveness of counseling. This is why it is necessary to analyze the possible ways in which psychologists may use interviews and observation in assessing patient’s experience that will help better understand the needs of the patient and possible treatment.

The use of interviews in assessing patient’s experience
Speaking about the use of interview in assessing patient’s experience, it is necessary to point out that interviews should be applied as one of the approaches to receiving important information concerning patient’s experience and, as a rule, it needs to be complemented with other approaches, including observation. At the same time, interviews are traditionally considered to be a very effective tool to establish the personal contact with the patient. This fact is very important in the assessment of patient’s experience because a psychologist needs to understand his patient and, what is more important, a psychologist needs to make his patient trust him and be confident not only in the competence of the psychologist but also in his real ability to help the patient. In such a way, the establishment of a personal contact may be viewed as one of the first goals a psychologist is supposed to achieve through the use of interview (Arthur and Swanson, 1993, p.191). In relation to the patient’s experience, it should be said that the growing trust of the patient is an essential condition for receiving objective or, to put it more precisely, truthful information about the patient’s experience. Otherwise, if a psychologist fails to establish a personal contact and make his patient confident and trustful, it is highly probable that he will fail to assess the patient’s experience adequately because of the lack of truthfulness of the information he receives from the patient.

Furthermore, interviews provide psychologists with an opportunity to receive very important information about the problems of the patient. To put it more precisely, a psychologist by means of interviews learn whether a patient is able to understand that he has some problems and what kind of problems he actually has (Shuman & Weiner, 231). At the same time, it is important to underline that interviews increase the opportunity to uncover the actual problems of the patient, which may be quite different from those the patient thinks he has. It may be found out on the basis of information concerning the past of the patient, his self-assessment, internal inclinations and interests of the patient, etc. In such a way, it is possible to identify the major problems of the patient.

In addition, interviews are also very helpful in the definition of the goals of the treatment (Arthur & Swanson, 1993, p.198). In this respect, it should be said that, as the patient reveal the problems he has, the psychologist receives an excellent opportunity to define the goals of the treatment on the basis of the information concerning the problems of his patient. It is obvious that the treatment will target at the elimination of the problems. But the understanding of the patient’s problems by means of interview is not sufficient. In the process of interviews, it is also necessary to find out whether the patient is conscious of his problems or not and whether he is really willing to solve these problems, i.e. whether he accept the treatment or probably he is convinced that the problems are not so serious and may be solved easily.

Also, interviews may be used not only in the diagnosing of the problems and definition of basic goals of the treatment but they may be also used in the process of treatment itself. In fact, interviews can really produce a therapeutic effect because often patients need someone who could listen to them. In such cases, a psychologist should demonstrate that he is sincerely interested in the interviews and in what the patient is actually telling.

At the same time, the patient, when he/she is interviewed, gets more concentrated on his/her own internal world, his/her problems, anxieties, feelings and emotions, etc. (Stein, 1990, p.158). As a result, the patient can better understand his/her own needs and problems during interviews. In addition, interviews also prepare the patient for the further treatment because in the process of interviews the patient grows more and more confident that he/she can use psychologist counseling to share his/her ideas and emotions with the specialist that can really help to overcome the current difficulties and bring the desirable relief and internal calmness.

Finally, it should be said that interviews help a psychologist to receive a lot of information concerning the patient, but it is necessary to remember that all this information is often highly subjective and basically this information reveals the current state of the patient, his/her particular vision of him/herself and the surrounding world, his/her problems, etc. but this information does not have any objective basis. In other words, interviews represent just the ideas and thoughts or simply responses of the patient which a psychologist needs to carefully analyze and understand the extent to which the statements and information received from the patient is trustworthy.

Nevertheless, interviews help better understand the past experience of the patient. For instance, it is possible to compare information received from interviews to information in case history. Or else, the unwillingness of a patient to speak about some events in the past or simply raise certain themes in interviews may be indicators of serious problems the patient had in the past or which affect him/her even at the moment of interview.

The use of observations in assessing patient’s experience
Obviously, the use of interviews is very helpful in the understanding of the patient’s experience but interviews are apparently insufficient to the objective assessment of the patient’s state and his/her experience. It has been already mentioned above that interviews are basically quite subjective and need a profound and detailed analysis from the part of a psychologist. In such a situation, it is necessary to apply additional tools to make the assessment of the patient’s state and experience more objective. In this respect, the use of observations seems to be particularly effective.

On analyzing the possible use and potential of observation in the process of the assessment of the patient’s experience, it is necessary to point out that observations may applied during all the time a psychologist communicates with a patient, including interviews. In fact, each individual has two signal systems. On the one hand, there is language or speech by means of which a patient may express his ideas, thoughts, feelings and emotions and basically this signal system is very subjective. On the other hand, there is secondary signal system which actually should be the subject of observations. This system includes gestures, mimics, and various body movement, i.e. non-verbal means of communication. It is quite noteworthy that many specialists underline that the secondary signal system is more objective in the assessment of the actual patient’s state, thoughts and emotions and, therefore, the observation could be used to receive objective information about the patient judging from the body language (Stude, 1975, p.171). In a way, observations may be viewed as a different kind of interviews, which involve not verbal but body language.

Basically, observations uncover the hidden side of the personality of the patient, his/her anxieties and problems at large. Similarly to interviews, observations could be also used for the definition of the patient’s problems, goals of treatment and they should be used in the process of treatment as well. As for the use of observations in the process of definition of existing problems, observation may be used as a helpful tool that can either support the information received in interviews or, in contrast, reveal the moments where the patient was not telling truth, attempted to avoid some themes. Moreover, it is through observation a psychologist can understand that some questions may be particularly disturbing for the patients that may revealed through the nervous gestures or some anxiety that may be seen in the patient’s mimics and look.

Furthermore, observations should be also used in the process of the treatment when its goals are defined clearly. In this respect, it is necessary to underline that the use of observation in the process of treatment is very helpful in the assessment of the effectiveness of treatment (Beck, 1990, p.234). Obviously, the progress of the patient in the process of treatment is very important for the psychologist to evaluate the extent to which the treatment is effective and whether the treatment is right at all. In fact, the patient can hardly hide his feelings and emotions which he/she demonstrated at the stage of diagnosis, for instance. Consequently, if the treatment is effective than the signs of some problems the psychologist has observed at the beginning of the treatment will disappear.

However, it should be said that observations are useful not only for the assessment of the effectiveness of treatment, but it is simply necessary to analyze the changes that occur to the patient in the process of treatment. Obviously, the changes may be both positive and negative. This is why if a psychologist does not pay a lot of attention to observations, he/she may fail to help the patient at large because it is very important to notice any negative changes in the state of the patient and react immediately through modification of treatment, introduction of new goals and methods of treatment.

Finally, the use of observation may be very useful in the assessment of the current emotional state of the patient and his/her attitude to a psychologist’s work. What is meant here is the fact that observations may help understand whether the psychologist has managed to establish the effective contact with the patient, whether the patient is confident in the specialist, or probably he/she is distrustful and does not even hope that the psychologist is of any help. This factor is very important because without the strong belief of the patient in the power of the psychologist to help him/her the effectiveness of treatment decreases substantially and, therefore, through observation, the psychologist should modify and change, if necessary, his/her work to establish trustful relations and meet the major goals of the treatment.

Conclusion
Thus, taking into account all above mentioned, it is possible to conclude that interviews and observations play an extremely role in the process of counseling. Basically, interviews and observations contribute consistently to the adequate assessment of the current state of the patient, definition of his/her problems, and determination of main goals of the treatment. Moreover, both interviews and observations should be also applied in the process of treatment to assess its effectiveness and implement essential changes if they are necessary for the improvement of the treatment. At the same time, interviews and observations are extremely important to the assessment of the patient’s experience and provide ample opportunities to analyze subjective views and feelings of the patient, received in the process of interviews, as well as objective information received in the process of observation.

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