therapeutic agent

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Hey guys

Although though English is not my native language, many phrasal nouns make sense to me. However there is this term I can't find the specific definition online.
So I paid a visit to my learning course and this description about being a nurse and this hit me:

"To be a nurse, students need to learn about the communication skills needed to participate as an effective therapeutic agent and collaborative member of the healthcare team. Students will learn the skills required to be a capable and safe registered nurse. Emotional intelligence, mindfulness, and reflective practice will all be emphasised, informing quality and safety in practice and supporting self-care, professional identity formation and emergence of the professional self. Interviewing, interpersonal skill-development and multiple communication platforms will be introduced. "

So I try to look for the term online. But they refer to "a thing" rather than a person such as "Exercise As A Therapeutic Agent" (gotten from Emphasis on Exercise as a Therapeutic Agent: In a Naval Physical Therapy Department | Physical Therapy | Oxford Academic)

I think that "Therapeutic Agent" in this case means that "a nurse needs to know about "therapy" in order to grasp other people's psychology. But I am not sure. Could you guys please let me know if my idea is right?
  • Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I'd not take it like that, Puppiesarecute.

    I'd take it to mean that students need to learn how to become a person whose behaviour brings about an improvement in the health of other people. A therapeutic (improving the health) agent (someone who acts).


    Senior Member
    English - England
    The writer of that extract seems to have misunderstood the meaning of the phrase “therapeutic agent” and (mis?)applied it to a person rather than an active element in a particular medical treatment. (Another blip in the text is “students need to learn about the communication skills” – surely they need to learn/acquire those skills, not just find out about them?)

    More typical uses of the term:
    • Resveratrol as a therapeutic agent for neurodegenerative diseases.
    • Our knowledge of the influence which fatty matter may exercise upon the animal frame, and of its utility as a therapeutic agent, is very limited.
    • Studies on therapeutic agents provide information about how they work and what kinds of risks may develop over the course of their application.

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I agree. "Therapy" does not only refer to mental therapy. We can talk about physical therapy; chemotherapy or radiotherapy (for cancer), physiotherapy, and so on.
    Yes, a therapy is something which improves the health in some way.

    The writing here is very accurate, in the manner of clinical prose, which seems rather strange to people not familiar with the idiom.
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