Nursing educators consider that awareness of the emotional needs of a patient is a prerequisite to the formulation of a nursing problem. The problem of this study was to discover if the senior student in a specific college program in nursing is aware of the emotional needs of patients. A collection of senior research papers written over a period of sic [sic] years in a specific course assignment was studied. The attention was focused on the portion of the paper which dealt with the personality description of the patient. The direction given by the instructor did not emphasize any particular component of nursing care. The student was only told to plan for total nursing care. In this relatively unstructured situation the personality description was entirely the expression of the students' own thinking.

Criteria were formulated and the 236 personality descriptions were analyzed. In the process of analysis the papers were placed in two categories. One category, contained the papers in which the emotional needs of patients were verbalized by the student, and the other contained papers which revealed no verbalization of emotional needs of patients. In this study verbalization was considered as indicating awareness. There were a few borderline personality descriptions which were difficult for the researcher to categorize, so a clinical psychologist validated the findings. The number of students who verbalized the emotional needs of patients was 91, or 39 percent, and the number of students who did not verbalize the emotional needs of patients was 145, or 61 percent.

The fact that 91 students verbalized the emotional needs of patients proved to be statistically significant and not due to chance. From these findings it is evident that there were factors in the educational background of the students in this specific college program in nursing or in planned and concomitant learnings which influenced them to consider "comprehensive nursing" to be based on the emotional needs as well as physical needs.

In addition to the major findings, some incidental outcomes of this study are a method of teaching and a technique of evaluating the student's understanding of emotional needs of patients. The evaluation method seems to be based on the principles of projective psychology.

LLU Discipline





Graduate Studies

First Advisor

Anne Martin

Second Advisor

R. Maureen Maxwell

Third Advisor

Kathryn J. Nelson

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Degree Level


Year Degree Awarded


Date (Title Page)




Library of Congress/MESH Subject Headings

Nurse-Patient Relations



Page Count

vi; 56

Digital Format


Digital Publisher

Loma Linda University Libraries

Usage Rights

This title appears here courtesy of the author, who has granted Loma Linda University a limited, non-exclusive right to make this publication available to the public. The author retains all other copyrights.


Loma Linda University Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Collection Website



Loma Linda University. Del E. Webb Memorial Library. University Archives