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Sociology in Healthcare - Essay Example

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Sociology in healthcare is a very complex issue and its importance is being increasingly perceived. The implications of sociology in healthcare can be rightly said to be as crucial as the treatment itself. However the understanding and application of relevant social knowledge into this field is also becoming increasingly difficult due to newer health issues and health threats…
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Sociology in Healthcare
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Download file to see previous pages Modern and reliable research into present day healthcare practice is thus becoming increasingly important. Healthcare researchers involved in both qualitative and quantitative research, need to be aware of and understand the issues associated with the research. Quantitative research carried out with care and caution is very influential and provide crucial information on the effects of new drugs on high sample populations. Qualitative research is more directed to understanding human nature, and helps us understand how nursing or healthcare can affect the patient. The qualitative aspect of the research is linked to social anthropology and sociology. These are normally undertaken when not much is known of a topic and strive to put forth a theory (Bassett, 2004).
Medical anthropology may be defined as the study of how people of differing cultures and social groups perceive health and health issues. Medical anthropology also associates theses beliefs and practices to biological, psychological and social changes, during health and disease. The cultural background has an important influence on health related beliefs and behaviour. However, one's perception of health and health issues is also influenced by other factors like individual attributes (like age, gender, size etc.), educational attributes, socio-economic criteria and environmental attributes of the individual. As cultures are never homogenous, people's beliefs and behaviour should not be generalized. Differences within members of a cultural group may exist which may even be comparable to differences existing among differing cultures. These cultures are further subdivided through professional sub-cultures like medical, nursing, legal etc.. Students corresponding to such professions, particularly medicine and nursing are subject to enculturation as they acquire the culture of the chosen profession (Helman, 2000). In medical profession, this sub-culture incorporates the existing social divisions and prejudices, which can interfere with healthcare and doctor-patient communication. Research into behavioural and social sciences incorporates a broad aspect of health relevant areas. Such research plays a crucial role in highlighting the important health issues in our society.
With the development of such studies, the importance of research findings in understanding, treating and preventing health problems has been considered crucial. The behaviour and social science sectors have begun to be increasingly sought by governmental agencies to advice on policy formations, with regard to health issues. The National Research Council's Division of Behavioural and Social Sciences and Education (DBASSE) have released over three hundred publications in the last ten years, which are directly or indirectly related to health concerns. These include children, education, family, employment and training. At the individual level, these studies provide knowledge and understanding of health issues like drug, obesity, alcohol abuse, violent behaviour, smoking, stress management, illness coping and health decision making. Such knowledge helps in ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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