Cognitive Learning Theory in Nursing

Written by lauren skye
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Oracle ThinkQuest says: "In cognitive learning, the individual learns by listening, watching, touching, reading, or experiencing and then processing and remembering the information." In other words, people can learn by experiencing an event, practicing and also by observing others.

Cognitive Learning in Caregiving

According to the University of Minnesota School of Nursing, cognitive learning allows you to think critically and gather information to become a competent practitioner. Nurses must observe and understand complex surroundings that include behaviours, values and social conventions in addition to medicine. They can learn "appropriate" ways to act in any given situation without necessarily having to go through trial-and-error exercises.

Minimising trial-and-error in a sensitive health care setting is important. Nurses are caregivers whose patients are often in a vulnerable emotional state. The work may also be time sensitive in an emergency. By observing how others interact with patients -- and the positive or negative results -- a nurse can learn to assess and explain health issues, answer questions and provide solutions for successful treatment.

Cognitive Learning in Recovery

Promises Treatment Centers emphasises the role cognitive therapies in addiction recovery: "a short term, focused approach to treatment that attempts to help patients recognise situations in which they are most likely to use drugs (or other substances or engage in other addictive behaviour), avoid such situations when appropriate, and learn how to cope more effectively with a range of problems (and problematic behaviours) associated with substance abuse." By evaluating a patient's history, a nurse can help them change their thought processes and behaviours in order to make a successful recovery.

Cognitive Behavior Therapies in Aging

Cognitive Behavior Therapies have also been shown to help those suffering from Alzheimer's Disease, dementia, stroke and other like ailments that affect the brain. A study by Dr. Sherry L. Willis of Pennsylvania State University and her colleagues showed improvement in the cognitive functioning of seniors who underwent prolonged cognitive interventions. A nurse trained in such techniques could provide various therapy options -- such as memory training -- to complement or replace pharmaceutical treatments.

Cognitive Therapy in Depression

Dr. Donald J. Franklin of Psychology Information Online highlights several ways in which cognitive learning therapies can be used to treat depression. Nurses can work with patients to change pessimistic thoughts, unrealistic expectations and overly critical self-evaluations as well as better assess the nature and seriousness of problems to help alleviate stressors that feed depression.

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