Is it appropriate for a nurse to have the responsibility of dealing with a lot of the conflicting religious beliefs of patients? Do you agree?
The paper is based upon the responsibilities of nurses for caring about the religious, spiritual and physical needs of their patients, living in a diverse society. Nurses play an integral part in the patients’ healing morally, mentally, physically and spiritually, and therefore, their positive attitude and co-operation towards the patients form different religious beliefs and cultures put a great impact on the patients’ overall health and recovery. Various reports have been used to provide information and evidence on the appropriate health care standards possessing different cultural or religious beliefs and their preferences. The research question here is,” Is it appropriate for a nurse to have the responsibility of dealing with lot of the conflicting religious beliefs of patients? Do you agree?
Every individual patient is unique and has some unique requirements for getting good treatment from their healthcare provider, regardless of their gender, race or creed. It is necessary to for a nurse to take the responsibility of dealing with a lot of the conflicting religious beliefs of patients, as this practice will provide the highest standards of patient care within a diverse society such as patients like kids, pregnant and nursing mothers.
As stated by Rachel Bennion (2000), spirituality should not be confused with cultural beliefs, and therefore, nursing staff should be sensitive towards patients who require attention, keeping in mind that anyone can experience spiritual needs, regardless of their religious beliefs. Health care system encounters patients from all different walks of life. There are people with different languages, culture, dietary needs, customs, anxiety and even the sense of isolation for some in uncomfortable surroundings, can be part of spiritual challenges for the health care providers.
According to Daniel P Sulmasy (2001), an evidence based review article was posted at the Western Journal of Medicine regarding the physician’s role in addressing the religious and spiritual needs of patients at the end of life which poses problems not encountered in other articles, and the researchers have found out that between 41% and 94% of the patients want their physicians and nurses to address their spiritual and religious concerns, give proper attention and consideration to the patients; Spirituality refers to an individual’s relationship with the transcendent, on the other hand, religion, is a set of beliefs, practices and language that characterizes a community that is searching for transcendent meaning in a way, based on belief in a deity as explained by Daniel P Sulmasy (2001) of the Western Journal of Medicine
The Nursing profession has observed people holistically, until the term was introduced by Rogers in 1980, Parse, Newman and others, and Florence Nightingale, who brought to nursing not only her traditional Christian values but also some very modern nursing values such as autonomy and professionalism, was a firm believer in holistic care as explained by Marg Hutchison (1998) of Sydney, Australia.
The spiritual care, needs and the religious differences are well-explained by Hill and Howlett (2009), in Success in practical/vocational Nursing, as the conflicting religious beliefs are considered a challenge for nurses. Moreover, coping with the religious and spiritual beliefs can be a natural part of total care which fits into the nursing process of assessment, diagnosis, planning, implementation and evaluation and is considered a team effort. Nursing diagnosis is intended to identify strengths of the client as well as their problems and spiritual assessment and care should not be mistaken or win converts to a particular point of view, rather it should be considered a response to a client’s expressed needs, as emphasized by Marg Hutchinson (1998).
Dealing with different religious beliefs and keeping up with the patient’s individual needs can be overwhelming for some nurses. Marg Hutchinson (1998) states this as a part of her challenging career and emphasize on building nurses’ personal resources in their daily lives- the need to love and being loved, relatedness, a meaning and purpose and hope in life, are some of the key factors need to be addressed by nurses, within their lives in order to facilitate and pass them on to their patient; for some nurses, failure to recognize and document this excellent care jeopardize their patient.
Marg Hutchinson (1998) mentions in her article that various nursing texts are available today, which highlights the religious/spiritual requirements of a number of major faiths, like Kozier and Erb’s chapter on Spiritual Preferences in Fundamentals of Nursing; today, many societies, culture and religion goes together and a working knowledge of beliefs regarding issues such as health, illness, suffering and death will be highly relevant to nursing care as well as information of customs, ceremonies, hygiene and food laws. The level of providing spiritual care and religious beliefs lies with an understanding of one’s own beliefs and values; it would be extremely difficult for some nurses to deal with patients whose own spiritual beliefs are unresolved. Marg Hutchinson (1998) had also mentioned that an increase in awareness and preparation is observed today, united with the quality of care and strong contribution to the ongoing development of their profession.
- Bennion, R. (2000). Handbook on Cultural, spiritual and religious beliefs- NHS Trust. Retrieved from http://www.e-radiography.net/nickspdf/Handbook%20on%20beliefs.pdf
- Hill, S.S., & Howlett, H.S. (2009). Success in practical/vocational nursing. St. Louis, MO: Saunders Elsevier
- Sulmasy, P.D. (2001). Addressing the religious and spiritual needs of dying patients. Evidence based case review: Western Journal of Medicine. 175(4). 251-254. Retrieved from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1071572/
- Hutchinson, M. (1998). Unity and Diversity in Spiritual Care. Retrieved from http://members.tripod.com/~Marg_Hutchison/nurse1.html