Careers in Health Psychology

I found the Healthcare Psychology Careers talk to be interesting and informative. Both speakers substantiated the importance of recognizing patient culture, background and thought processes when developing interventions and treatments, and I found particularly interesting the example about African-American hair type and the importance of recognizing pain as a barrier to patient exercise. As well, it was interesting that both individuals noted relative anonymity of the healthcare psychology field; although the field is growing in recognition, many providers and patients are still unaware of the importance of psychologists to the healthcare field. In addition, the experienced healthcare psychologist noted the importance of collaboration with doctors and surgeons, substantiating the role of healthcare psychologists as part of a patient team. I was somewhat surprised when the healthcare psychologist stated that the greatest frustration of the field is bureaucracy; I was not aware there is so much regulation in the field. Finally, I found it intriguing the VCU student’s statement that healthcare psychology may be increasingly relevant for the problem of abuse and overuse of prescription drugs.

Overall, this talk emphasized to me the dynamic nature of healthcare psychology, with implications for clinical work, research, and policy, and opportunities to make a lasting change in patient’s lives.

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