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Thorndike's work with cats , Pavlov's work with dogs , and Skinner's work with pigeons are just some of the examples of comparative psychology in which animal behavior can provide insights into human behavior. This type of psychologist is involved in helping businesses better understand what makes consumers purchase products and services. They research how buyers respond to marketing messages, analyze decision-making strategies, and investigate the role that emotions play in purchasing choices.

These professionals help businesses develop marketing messages, identify target audiences, develop products that appeal to specific consumers, and learn about how attitudes toward brands and products form and change. These professionals share many commonalities with clinical psychologists. As with clinical psychologists, they provide psychotherapy and can legally identify themselves as licensed psychologists.

Cross-cultural psychologists look at how people vary across cultures and how cultural affiliations influence behavior. They often explore how different aspects of behavior may be either universal or varied across different cultures. For examples, cross-cultural psychologists might investigate how parenting styles differ between collectivist cultures versus individualist cultures as well as how these differences in upbringing influence adult behavior.

These professionals may perform tasks such as evaluating children who may have a developmental delay or disability, investigating issues associated with aging, and studying how language skills are acquired. Some developmental psychologists may focus on research and add to our understanding of developmental issues that can arise throughout life.

Other professionals may perform applied work with clients who need assistance in coping with developmental issues. These psychologists study how people learn and the educational process. Some educational psychologists study giftedness or learning disabilities. This type of psychologist looks at how social, cognitive, and emotional factors impact the learning process. Some professionals in this field specialize in identifying and dealing with potential problems that might interfere with how children learn. Others specialize in researching the learning process, while some might instead focus on designing instructional materials that maximize learning outcomes.

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Bureau of Labor Statistics. While some may focus on more basic research, this is most often a very applied field. Engineering psychologists work to solve real-world problems and develop solutions that can have practical applications in everyday life.


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Engineering psychologists may be tasked with developing technology that can be used in the healthcare industry to help patients recover faster. They also help design and refine products that people use each and every day including mobile phones and motor vehicles. Environmental psychologists explore the relationship between people and their surroundings, including natural environments as well as created environments.

This might involve working on conservation projects, helping to protect endangered species, and investigating ways to halt global warming. These professionals may work as researchers to study the impact that humans have on their environments.

Environmental Psychology

Some environmental psychologists also work in government to shape environmental policies. This might involve acting as a consultant in criminal cases or civil disputes, performing child custody evaluations, and offering psychotherapy services to crime victims. Thanks to popular depictions in movies and television programs, interest in this field has grown tremendously in recent years. While these pop culture depictions often portray the forensic psychologist as a sleuth working to catch criminals, real forensic psychologists typically perform duties such as assessing juvenile and adult offenders for risk of recidivism, working with child witnesses, evaluating competency to stand trial, and offering professional testimony in court.

They work with clients to help maximize well-being and improve both mental and physical health. Some professionals in this field perform clinical work where they assess and treat clients who are seeking assistance with a variety of health issues. This might involve providing psychotherapy, administering different psychological assessments, teaching people about different coping techniques, and educating clients about healthy behaviors.

An I-O psychologist might utilize his or her knowledge of psychological principles to design assessments to screen candidates for specific job roles.

3 Nursing Practice | Nursing, Health, and the Environment | The National Academies Press

The process is compatible with the framework of investigator, educator, and advocate, established by the California Public Health Foundation to address nursing roles and responsibilities particular to environmental health issues. The CPHF framework augments rather than duplicates the nursing process.


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  • During the assessment phase of the nursing process, data are gathered to determine a patient's state of health and to identify factors that may affect well-being. This activity includes eliciting a health history to identify previous illnesses and injuries, allergies, family health patterns, and psychosocial factors affecting health. Environmental health components of history taking can be integrated into the routine assessment of patients by including questions about prior exposure to chemical, physical, or biological hazards and about temporal relationships between the onset of symptoms and activities performed before or during the occurrence of symptoms.

    During an assessment, the nurse should be alert to patterns of co-morbidity among patients, family members, and communities that are indicative of environmental etiologies. Nurses also conduct assessments during visits to patients in their homes and places of work, gaining first hand information about environmental factors that may adversely affect health. Diagnosis occurs with the culmination of objective and subjective data collection.

    Person-Environment Theories

    In this phase of the nursing process health problems are identified and described. Depending upon their practice setting, nurses may use the diagnostic terms established by the North American Nursing Diagnosis Association NANDA or medical diagnostic terminology, as is often the case with APNs who are nurse practitioners. Routine consideration of environmental factors that affect health is essential in the diagnostic phase of the nursing process; without knowledge of such factors, problems may be misdiagnosed and subsequent interventions will address environmental issues haphazardly, if at all.

    A range of interventions are identified to address the health problem, and plans for implementing those interventions are developed. The ability to establish interventions that address environmentally related illnesses depends on a nurse's ability to formulate diagnoses that include consideration of environmental factors. Without attention to environmental factors, intervention plans are likely to focus on secondary- and tertiary-level activities care and cure rather than primary prevention strategies. Intervention is the component of the nursing process in which the nurse implements activities to promote health, and prevent or alleviate illness and injury.

    Background

    The nurse may act as educator in this part of the nursing process, informing patients, families, workers, and communities about hazards in the environment and how to protect themselves. Effective interventions require a knowledge of resources, including texts, databases, and professional experts, and an ability to access these resources. Intervention also includes the role of advocate.

    Although nurses are familiar with the concept of advocacy on behalf of individual patients, often they have not been trained in techniques of advocacy for populations or in settings other than health care facilities. Nurses need to extend the concept of advocacy to include activities on behalf of communities and other groups and in settings such as the workplace or community meetings. This extension of nursing advocacy is often essential for addressing environmentally related health issues because they are frequently intertwined with social and political factors. Interventions focusing exclusively on the individual patient are rarely effective as primary prevention methods in matters of environmental health.

    Evaluation, the final step in the nursing process, can be conducted on numerous levels and frequently results in additional interventions. The health outcomes of an individual are one method of determining the effectiveness of nursing interventions. Another measure of effective intervention in environmentally related illness is an evaluation of hazard abatement methods. Has the hazard been contained or removed from the environment of the individual? Are others living in the area protected.

    Evaluation should also include an assessment of the effectiveness of interventions directed toward other populations at similar risk, for example, other family members, co-workers, and community members. Were the existence of the hazard and protective measures communicated clearly and consistently to those at risk? Was effective treatment provided to others at risk who experienced symptoms? Are measures being taken to prevent similar incidents of exposure in the future?

    Are the patient, work population, and community satisfied with the interventions used to identify and abate hazardous conditions related to the environment? Are those affected by the hazard satisfied with the health care that was provided, including educational interventions and medical treatment? These questions and the answers to them provide nurses and other health care providers with important information for determining the effectiveness of interventions undertaken in a particular incident and in identifying more effective measures for dealing with similar problems in the future.

    Application of the nursing process to environmental health concerns requires an expansion of the tools and processes used to assess patients, reason diagnostically, and develop treatments and interventions that consider environmental factors. Responsibilities for implementing clinical services relevant to environmental health will vary according to practice settings; however, the nursing process is a useful framework for applying environmental health concepts in all settings and roles.

    A nurse's role in addressing environmental health issues can be conceptualized in a variety of ways. The nursing process can be augmented or integrated with other models of practice, such as the CPHF model, which consists of three roles for the health professional: investigator, educator, and advocate CPHF, The role of investigator supports the assessment and evaluation phases of the nursing process, while the roles of educator and advocate would be carried out as interventions.


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    This framework incorporates a range of activities, including working with communities and on matters of public policy, that may be unfamiliar to nurses who structure their practice within the more traditional framework of the nursing process applied to individual patient care. In actual practice, this role may include home visits to look for peeling or chipping lead paint in the residences of young children or to identify the use of poorly vented wood stoves in the home of an asthmatic child. It may also involve entering a work site to assess conditions that affect worker health and safety, including ergonomic hazards, chemical exposures, or mechanical hazards such as poorly guarded conveyor belts.

    Moreover, the practice of nursing itself is uniquely hazardous. A discussion of the hazards to nurses and other health care workers is presented in Appendix B. One example of a nurse as investigator is a situation that occurred in in Brownsville, Texas, a town on the Mexican border. A nurse working in the labor and delivery department of a local community hospital noticed what seemed to be an unusual number of neonates born with a relatively rare but devasting birth defect, anencephaly.

    The nurse subsequently reviewed all birth records for the previous year and found that the incidence of children born with this defect in her facility was significantly greater than the national rate: 30 cases per 10, births versus 10 cases per 10, births, respectively. Further investigations suggested contamination of groundwater and surface water sources with chemicals known to cause adverse health outcomes of this nature Suro, see Box 3.

    Eliciting an environmental health history, another investigative activity, is one of the most important actions for enhancing the environmental health content in nursing practice, because information derived from the history is essential to all other nursing activities related to environmental health. Through the environmental history, a nurse may uncover exposures to hazardous substances that neither the patient nor the clinician had suspected as etiologic agents of existing symptoms or disease.