Alumni Blog: 3 Ways To Use Psychology as a Nurse

By Katy Fleming, LPC, BSN, RN (M.A. Counseling '13)

Bridging the Gap Between Mental Health & Medical Services 

The human mind holds a deep connection to the physical body.  

Our mental health status intertwines with physiological responses and behavior.  As a registered nurse, patient care is far beyond treating physical symptoms. We utilize body language, emotion expression, and mental state to better understand physical conditions. 

Each person presents with a unique build of experiences, perspective, mental processes, and emotional responses.  Let’s break down techniques to treat the entire patient as a healthcare professional. 

Use Active Listening Skills 

Effective communication promotes trust and respect in patient interactions. Employing active listening skills demonstrates your comprehension as the patient is speaking and bolsters your ability to identify the patient’s healthcare priorities. 

Interested in contributing to the TCSPP Alumni Blog? Submit this interest form and we’ll be in touch!

Examples of these skills include summarizing the patient’s statements, paraphrasing, maintaining eye contact, and asking open-ended questions.  Empower your patients through effective listening.

Consider the Impact of Mental Health

Research demonstrates that adults with depression are at a significantly higher risk of developing diabetes and heart disease.  Additional studies suggest a strong correlation between anxiety and the gut.

What’s the point? The mind and body are closely linked. Comprehensive patient care must include an assessment of not only mental and physical health, but more importantly, the interconnective relationship.

Provide Holistic Interventions

When developing a treatment plan, consider including psychology-based techniques and interventions. 

For example, mindful meditation boosts the quality of sleep by relieving stress and negative thoughts.  Alternatively, developing a gut-healthy meal plan with the patient may assist in lessening bouts of anxiety and depression. 

Final Thoughts

  • Active listening skills establish effective communication and create trust to identify the patient’s priorities.
  • Mental and physical health hold a strong bi-directional relationship. 
  • Simple therapeutic techniques such as mindful meditation can highly support a patient’s recovery.

Bridge the gap between mental and physical health services through integrated holistic patient care.

Katy Fleming

Katy Fleming, LPC, BSN, RN is an alumna of the M.A. Counseling Psychology program in Chicago. As a licensed counselor, registered nurse, and graduate of The Chicago School, Katy approaches healthcare with a unique perspective. Through direct care work and freelance writing, she seeks to close the gap between the mental health and medical fields. In her spare time, Katy loves to travel the world with her partner.

Interested in contributing to the TCSPP Alumni Blog? Submit this interest form and we will be in touch!

Start your online donation by selecting an amount below, or take a moment to learn about other impactful ways to give.

Get Involved

There are many ways to get involved with the TCSPP community!

Sign up below to get regular updates from The Chicago School with ways to get involved, like invitations to exclusive events, opportunities to meet with faculty and alumni, and more.