This research work aims to analyze such questions as caring for a vulnerable population. In particular, it is necessary to identify the barriers which prevent decreasing disparity in a specific group. We have chosen people, who are susceptible to schizophrenia as there are many cases, which indicate that these individuals are often mistreated. Furthermore, it is necessary to discuss the obstacles to the understanding of vulnerability. Finally, it is of crucial importance to develop an action plan, which would hopefully increase the awareness of vulnerability among medical workers. In order to carry out these tasks, we should first discuss the concept of susceptibility to health problems, because many people tend to misunderstand it and this gives rise to inadequate behavior. In addition to that, we need to discuss explore theories, which can be applicable for us especially during the development of the teaching plan.
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First, we should point out that according to Mary De Chesnay and Barbara A. Anderson, vulnerable populations are those people, who run a greater risk of having health problems due to several factors personal characteristics, economic status, age, gender and so forth (2007, p. 5). Moreover, this notion implies a person may have a propensity for certain diseases, but it does not actually mean he or she is ill (Lundy et al, 2009). Thus, we can say that vulnerability and disease are not interchangeable terms as some people may think. We have decided to focus on people, who may suffer from schizophrenia because occasionally, they are not properly evaluated and just assumed to be insane, with no regard to their specific mental disorder, while these patients may require immediate psychiatric help.
Under some circumstances, medical workers in the Emergency Room tend to make generalizations while assessing the mental state of the patient; occasionally they consider the symptoms of schizophrenia (introversion, asociality) as immediate signs of mental derangement, though the person may not be schizophrenic (Hirsh et al, 2003 p. 8). Therefore, we can argue that this problem is multi-dimensional: first, we need to speak about the lack of knowledge, which results in improper diagnosis. Secondly, we should not overlook the inability of some medical workers to understand the needs of a vulnerable population. The underlying cause of such conduct is the stereotypes about vulnerability. Thus, when we have ascertained the major obstacles to decreasing disparities; we should map out the strategies for coping with them.
At first, it is quite prudent to refer to scholarly works, dedicated to this topic. Many scholars try to dissipate the myths about vulnerability. First, it is often associated with weakness, deficiency or with something negative. Yet, some practitioners or nurses forget that to a certain degree, every human being runs the risk of health problems, consequently, in some way all of us can be viewed as vulnerable (Chesnay et al, 2007, p. 17). In this case, the key objective is to assist this person and help him to live a full life.
On the whole, the strategies can vary according to the circumstance and condition of the patient. If we are speaking about schizophrenia, in particular, there are several significant obstacles. First, it takes considerable expertise to diagnose this disorder as it is often very inconspicuous, and medical workers have to pay special attention to the verbal and non-verbal behavior of the patient (Hirsh et al 2003). This is of vital importance, because a person susceptible to schizophrenia may pose a serious threat to oneself and others.
Yet, there is another facet of this question; sometimes the practitioners tend to disregard the remarks of some patients just on suspicion of mental disorder. Some nurses believe that their experiences are sheer hallucinations, but this assumption may not always be true. The thing is that the remarks of the patients can be of invaluable help for the practitioner, and unfortunately, they are occasionally overlooked. Judging from the above-mentioned, it is necessary to find the most suitable approach for dealing with a population vulnerable to schizophrenia.
We can mark out several models that can be applicable to this problem. King’s Theory, Roy’s Adaptation Model, or the theory of human caring, developed by Watson (Chesnay et al, 2003, p. 73). Each of these techniques has advantages and disadvantages, and it seems that they can be successfully combined. First, I would like to assess Roy’s adaptation model, because this scholar attaches primary importance to assessment and diagnosis. This approach is very helpful to the extent that in this way, we can not only evaluate the behavior of the patient but also identify the major stimulus or stimuli, which contribute to this behavior (Chesnay p. 75). Provided that such technique is employed, a nurse should 1) evaluate the behavior of the patient, 2) assess the origins of this conduct, 3) set a diagnosis, set major objectives, and take necessary actions.
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There is another method that can be applied; it is the so-called Watson’s theory of human care. It emphasizes the idea that practitioners and nurses have to establish relations based on mutual help and trust. The major tenet of this approach is empathy because nurses have to place themselves into the position of their patients (Chesnay, p. 83). We have given preference to these theories because they advocate the role of proper and accurate diagnosis on the one hand, and secondly, they compel medical workers to change their attitude toward patients in general and specifically vulnerable populations, susceptible to schizophrenia.
People, who work in the emergency department have to understand that that vulnerability to schizophrenia does not necessarily mean a person is insane, and the presence of some symptoms does not give the right to dismiss his words. Still, they must be able to able to identify the signs of the impending disease such as delusions, speech disorders, avolition (Hirsh, 2003). To some degree, these are the red flags or signs that must not be neglected as it is often done by some medical workers.
Now we need to develop a teaching plan, which can possibly help to alleviate the situation, which has recently emerged. The implementation of this plan can be subdivided into several stages. 1) The first step is to increase their awareness of schizophrenia in general. They must be able to recognize the symptoms that indicate this mental derangement. For this process, the management of the hospital should give training courses to the personal. Of course, we cannot presume that these courses will yield results soon. But the well-being of any patient is worth of time and money spent on such programs.
2) At the second stage, the personnel has to acquire practical skills of dealing with the residents, who are vulnerable to this mental disorder. They must be able to distinguish hallucinations from lucid intervals. These skills will help them to set accurate and precise diagnoses. It stands to reason that the overwhelming majority of nurses have already undergone such training course, but the research findings of many scholars suggest that constant up-date of knowledge is very conducive to continuous improvement, medicine always evolves and a medical worker must never avoid extra training even after graduation (Stanhope, 2006).
These actions are consistent with Roy’s adaptation model. But as we have previously noted we need to change the attitude of ER staff toward people susceptible to schizophrenia. It might be prudent to deliver a lecture on this mental disorder. This lecture should make it quite clear that such populations can easily adapt themselves to the community. Secondly, they are quite capable of being adequate if they receive proper assistance. Finally, the lecture has to demonstrate that medical workers must not treat every patient as insane only if he or she displays some signs of disarrangement because the symptoms of schizophrenia can be observed even in normal people. In part, this measure corresponds to Watson’s theory of human care, because it helps to break stereotypes and prejudices about vulnerable people, and most importantly, It helps to build interpersonal relationships between the resident and the nurse.
Therefore, we can arrive at the conclusion that the care of vulnerable populations necessitates us to combine various nursing theories. We can argue that the staff of any hospital should first possess obligatory skills and knowledge along with an unprejudiced and unbiased attitude toward patients who run greater risks of health problems. We have used Roy’s Adaptation Model and Watson’s theory of human care to address both of these aspects. In order to decrease the disparities in the emergency room, nurses need to understand that every person may be vulnerable to some diseases, but being vulnerable is not synonymous with being ill. On the other hand, ER staff must be able to recognize those individuals, who require immediate psychiatric help.
- Chesnay. M. Anderson B (2007). Caring for the vulnerable: perspectives in nursing theory, practice, and research. Jones & Bartlett Publishers.
- Hirsch. S. Weinberger. D (2003). Schizophrenia. Wiley-Blackwell.
- Lundy. K. Janes. S (2009). Community Health Nursing: Caring for the Public’s Health. Jones & Bartlett Publishers.
- Stanhope. M. Lancaster (2006). J. Foundations of nursing in the community: community-oriented practice. Elsevier Health Sciences.