Social healthcare professionals currently have to face a series of challenges that their original training has not prepared them for. Two of the most obvious challenges are people’s increasing influence in the decisions made in terms of their own healthcare, and the intensive use of ICTs in different parts of their day-to-day life. Both of these issues require adaptation of the professional roles that have been developed to date. In response to the growing demand, the UOC is to start up a university master’s degree in Psychology, Health and Quality of Life in February.
The master’s degree is aimed at those with prior studies in Health and Social Sciences who are interested in improving their professional skills in the effective use of ICTs to improve people’s health and quality of life. It is the only course of its kind on offer in Spain.
Individual choices in health and quality of life
“People’s lifestyles, attitudes, behavior and the way they relate to others have a direct effect on their health and quality of life,” explained the director of the new master’s degree, Eulàlia Hernández. Thus, social healthcare professionals need more in-depth knowledge about individuals and their motivations, as this affects how they act, how they see their health, etc. In short, they need to look more closely at the psychological aspects linked to health and quality of life.
ICTs to live a healthy lifestyle
People use ICTs to find out about issues affecting their health and quality of life. Examples of this trend can be seen in:
– Searching the internet for topics linked to sleeping and eating habits or physical exercise;
– Sharing experiences of specific treatments, services or professionals;
– Providing details for online studies;
– Carrying out procedures online related to social healthcare;
– Spreading information on new projects, publications or breakthroughs;
– Sharing information online with attending professionals; or
– Participating in social networks linked to health.
Psychology, Health, Quality of Life and ICTs
In a context where ICTs have become a basic tool for spreading information and health training, “we need professionals to gain the skills that allow them to provide support for those people who play an active role in caring for their own health. Gaining of these skills leads to better care, better management of the processes and services, and, likewise, helps improve people’s quality of life,” said Professor Hernández.
A 60-credit university master’s degree
The master’s degree, which was validated by the Catalan University Policy Department on 2 July 2010, has a total of 60 credits and is adapted to the requirements of the European Higher Education Area. Students can choose between two pathways to meet their specific needs: professional or research.