Acute care nurses face critical challenges in their understanding and acceptance of spirituality and its role in care and treatment. It is important to identify the issues that are most critical in the development of effective spiritual care in the nursing environment. Recognizing the spiritual needs of individual patients is critical to their recovery and wellbeing, and nurses play a significant role in this process. The holistic nature of nursing practice and the ability to provide effective spiritual care to patients are key factors in achieving optimal patient care and treatment across disciplines. Therefore, it is imperative to address these concerns and their impact on nursing practice and future objectives.
An article by Gallison et.al (2013) addresses the significance of spiritual care and the role of nurses in this practice. A quantitative study conducted by the authors indicates that there are significant factors associated with spiritual care and treatment of patients in a variety of nursing settings that impact patient outcomes (Gallison et.al, 2013). However, many concerns emphasize the role of spiritual differences in shaping how nurses provide care and treatment to their patients, particularly when spiritual support is necessary (Gallison et.al, 2013). In this capacity, the study aims to demonstrate that there are a number of weaknesses in spiritual care that must be improved upon in order to accommodate the needs of patients in an effective manner (Gallison et.al, 2013). It is expected that the framework for spiritual care will be supported by the ability of nurses to recognize the significance of spiritual care and its influence on patient wellbeing and related outcomes (Gallison et.al, 2013).
The article emphasizes the importance of developing new perspectives that support spiritual care and treatment for patients (Gallison et.al, 2013). In this context, there are a number of inherent weaknesses within the modern healthcare system that limit the ability to provide effective spiritual care, such as limited time to spend with patients and lack of support at the institutional level (Gallison et.al, 2013). It is imperative for nurses to recognize that patients often face significant challenges for which their faith is their saving grace; therefore, this faith must be addressed as a key component of the care and treatment plan (Gallison et.al, 2013). In many instances, it has been determined that patients do not receive the desired level of spiritual care during hospitalization that has a negative impact on their perceptions of the healthcare experience in this manner (Gallison et.al, 2013).
The article provides further evidence of the importance of spirituality in the care and treatment process by addressing the AACN Synergy Model for Patient Care, which includes factors that consider patient spirituality, characteristics, wellness, and the nurse-patient relationship (Gallison et.al, 2013). It is important to identify these factors and to determine how to best move forward to provide effective care and treatment to these patients using spiritual means (Gallison et.al, 2013). The literature review within the article provides important insights into spiritual care in nursing practice to improve patient outcomes, including the discussion of several studies designed to identify the problems associated with the lack of spiritual care in many patient care settings (Gallison et.al, 2013). This section also provides examples of spiritual reinforcements and support systems in the lives of patients who have been beneficial in this manner (Gallison et.al, 2013).
The chosen research method for the study was designed to describe the ability of nurses to understand and exercise full awareness of the spiritual needs of their patients (Gallison et.al, 2013). The study explored several clinical units at a large academic medical center in New York City, where nurses were asked to participate and to complete a Spiritual Care Practice Questionnaire to determine the level of spiritual care provided across units, along with the perceived barriers to providing spiritual care in these settings (Gallison et.al, 2013). Upon completion of these questionnaires, the data collection process was developed using descriptive statistics in various forms in order to formulate the study results and to draw conclusions (Gallison et.al, 2013).
The study results indicated that the population sample was relatively young and female, and that many participants found it difficult to spend sufficient time with patients to address their spiritual needs in the desired manner (Gallison et.al, 2013). In this context, it was observed that nurses possess very different perspectives regarding the application of spiritual care to their patients (Gallison et.al, 2013). Some nurses shared their experiences and found it very helpful to communicate with their patients in this manner (Gallison et.al, 2013). It was determined that nurses possess different levels of awareness of spiritual care in the practice setting; however, perhaps most important was that patient care needs of a spiritual nature are largely unrecognized or perhaps ignored (Gallison et.al, 2013). It is necessary to develop a stronger and more effective communication strategy as a means of exploring different approaches to spiritual care that will be effective in treating patients in this manner (Gallison et.al, 2013). Although there are a variety of different types of spiritual beliefs, nurses must be accepting of all beliefs so that the provision of spiritual care is not compromised in any way (Gallison et.al, 2013). This practice will support the ongoing development and growth of patient care and treatment so that it is optimized for all patients who seek spiritual guidance and care in the healthcare setting and beyond (Gallison et.al, 2013).
Unfortunately, many nurses do not possess the knowledge and skills that are necessary to provide adequate spiritual care and support (Chan, 2010). In this context, there are other factors that must be considered because this need remains largely unmet in many organizations (Chan, 2010). However, nurses’ perceptions of spiritual care are generally positive, even if they do not exercise this type of care in their daily routines (McSherry and Jamieson, 2011). Therefore, it is necessary to develop additional training methods that will enable nurses to improve their spiritual knowledge and understanding and the need to provide this type of support to nurses (McSherry and Jamieson, 2011). It is important to identify the specific nature and extent of spiritual care as a means of improving outcomes and reflecting upon spirituality as a form of care in nursing practice (Carson, 2011).
The article by Gallison et.al (2013) addresses some of the relevant issues associated with spiritual care and treatment of patients in nursing practice settings. It is imperative to develop new ideas and approaches which demonstrate that nurses understand and recognize the importance of spiritual care as part of their daily practice routine. The research study demonstrated that it is necessary to determine different approaches to improve patient care for those who seek spiritual guidance and support. Even if nurses are uncomfortable with the idea of providing spiritual care, they must demonstrate their willingness to cooperate with this requirement and to develop methods of working with patients that will satisfy this need. Under these conditions, it is likely that nurses will experience more satisfying outcomes when their patients achieve greater health and wellbeing upon discharge from the hospital or while under continuous treatment.
Carson, V.B. (2011). What is the essence of spiritual care? Journal of Christian Nursing, 28(3), 173.
Chan, M.F. (2010). Factors affecting nursing staff in practicing spiritual care. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 19(15-16), 2128-2136.
Gallison, B.S., Xu, Y., Jurgens, C.Y., and Boyle, S.M. (2013). Acute care nurses’ spiritual care practices. Journal of Holistic Nursing, 31(2), 95-103.
McSherry, W., and Jamieson, S. (2011). An online survey of nurses’ perceptions of spirituality and spiritual care. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 20(11-12), 1757-1767.