Spirituality, Religion, and Healthcare: A Reflective Stance on the Role of Spirituality in Nursing Practice and Patient Care
The advent of scientific medical practice has without doubt had an important impact on the perception of the significance of spirituality in healing. Scientism, which is the belief that every aspect of human life including illness and disease can be explained by scientific phenomena, is responsible for this. However, the reality that cannot be denied is that the spiritual aspect of the human person is as important as the biological aspect with regard to the treatment of disease. It is a known and accepted fact that spirituality and religion are helpful in assisting patients find some meaning at their moment of suffering (Puchalski, 2001) Spirituality Reflective Journal Paper. That spirituality has a major contribution to health and wellness is manifested by the acceptance in nursing practice of holistic patient care. A large base of evidence is available to support this practice which involves taking care of the patient in terms of the physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual aspects. This paper is therefore a reflection of the importance of religion and spirituality in current nursing practice.
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Mauk and Schmidt (2004) opine that health and spirituality have had an important nexus for a very long time. To begin with, the Christian Holy Bible is full of anecdotes cataloguing how the Prophets and later on Jesus himself used their intercessory powers with God to heal the sick and the infirm. For instance, when the Israelites were wandering in the wilderness and being bitten by wild snakes, God instructed Moses to erect a pole with the statue of a serpent. When a person who had been bitten by a poisonous snake looked at this statue, they immediately got healed and the effects of the poison were neutralised. At Capernaum, Jesus famously healed a paralytic man in front of a mass of people just by laying hands on them (White, 2011) Spirituality Reflective Journal Paper. These instances in the Christian narrative show that spirituality has been associated with healing for as long as the world has been in existence. Furthermore, God the creator has all the powers to heal any individual of their sickness and restore them back to health. How he does this has never been explained by science, since only the results of his work are visible but not the way he does it. This explains the categorisation of spiritual healings as miraculous acts or healing by God’s miracles (Orr, 2015).
The Christian narrative holds that most of the human suffering through disease and illness result from the indiscretion and sinful ways of the human being. This happens when we forget that God exists and that we should always do what honors his name and brings good to the world. We thus tend to be forgetful about God when we are in good health, preferring to do worldly things because we can. However, when we get sick, we suddenly remember that God exists and has the power to heal and restore health. Luckily, God who is all-loving and forgiving does not discriminate and always welcomes the repentance of such a person as he gifts them with healing (White, 2011). This is the spiritual reality that every practising nurse needs to have in mind at all times. Even as we treat patients of their physical illness, nurses should remember the power of the spiritual in helping to restore the health of their patients. This they can achieve by harnessing the spirituality of their patients and encouraging them to have faith in their God who is the ultimate healer Spirituality Reflective Journal Paper. She should be clear that as human beings, nurses and physicians are just doing God’s work and leaving the actual healing to God. Theirs is to treat, but healing remains a prerogative of God the Almighty.
The evidence that spirituality and health have been linked for a long time is still very apparent, for instance, in traditional complementary medicine. Cultures that place a lot of emphasis on traditional medicine such as in China and India have been known to be deeply spiritual (Mauk & Schmidt, 2004). This is because traditional medicine in these places is not only reliant on physical factors for healing, but also on spirituality and belief in a higher being. By invoking the power of spirituality in influencing the physical processes in the human body, these traditional medical practices have been known to be effective over the centuries in producing tangible results in terms of the healing of disease. The mantra of these therapies has of course always been a focus on the nexus bringing together the mind, the body, and the spirit. The important recognition here is that treating the body alone is not enough to achieve complete healing of the human being from disease. But by bringing in the spiritual aspect, holistic healing is achieved. Spirituality Reflective Journal Paper.
As professional nurses, the guiding principle has always been caring for patients with compassion. What this means is that nurses have to share the suffering of their patients, even as they care for them (Orr, 2015; Puchalski, 2001). They have to feel how their patients are feeling by placing themselves in their shoes and being empathetic. Always encouraging the patients to have faith in God or a higher power does great miracles in complementing the physical treatments given to patients Spirituality Reflective Journal Paper. This is why holistic nursing practice is important with regard to the role of spirituality and religion in the restoration of health.
Mauk, K.L., & Schmidt, N.K. (2004). Spiritual care in nursing practice. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott.
Orr, R.D. (2015). Incorporating spirituality in patient care. American Medical Association Journal of Ethics, 17(5), 409-415
Puchalski, C.M. (2001). The role of spirituality in healthcare. BUMC Proceedings, 14(4), 352–357. Doi: 10.1080/08998280.2001.11927788
White, E.G. (2011). The ministry of healing. Guildford, UK: White Crow Books. Spirituality Reflective Journal Paper
Department of Nursing
Grading Criteria for Spirituality Reflective Journal Paper
You have been assigned required readings on spirituality in your course. You may choose one or more chapters from each assigned book to read. You will then write a reflection paper regarding your thoughts, meaningful ideas, feelings, and/or reactions, and the application of these to nursing practice or your own spiritual growth and self-care.
Mauk, K. L., & Schmidt, N. K. (2004). Spiritual care in nursing practice. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott.
White, E. G. (2011). The Ministry of healing. Guildford, UK: White Crow Books.
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