Religion and spirituality are often an integral part of one’s life, and they have a great impact on what one does and how one feels. Therefore, it is important that nurses take the spirituality of their patients into account when caring for them. This paper discusses the issues of religion and spirituality, and investigates how my religious/spiritual beliefs will affect my relationships with my patients.
Definitions of Spirituality and Religion
It is possible to define religion as “a social group or institution that ascribes a particular meaning and value to life and creation” (Elkonin, Brown, & Naicker, 2014, p. 120). Koenig (2015) stresses that religion “involves beliefs and practices related to the Transcendent” (p. 19), also noting that it often takes the form of community, but may be practiced by a person privately. On the contrary, spirituality can be viewed as a “search for the sacred” (Elkonin et al., 2014, p. 120), but its meaning is rather broad, and it may be useful to let patients define for themselves what they wish it to mean (Koenig, 2015, p. 21), which can help in clinical practice.
My Spirituality/Religion and its Relation to Nursing Care
I am a Christian, and it is my conviction that I can use my religion and my beliefs to provide my patients with better care. One of the critical aspects of Christianity is that it regards an individual as a being with a soul. Therefore, when attending to my patients, I should not perceive them simply as customers who pay money for me to cure them, but, as a Christian, view them as persons who have souls, and who need to be helped because it is the right thing to do. I am convinced that my Christian beliefs will allow me not to forget to look at the whole person while caring for my patients, rather than simply attempting to cure their bodily problems.
My Associate’s Spirituality/Religion and its Influence on Nursing Care Expectations
An associate of mine whom I interviewed is also a Christian. During the interview, it was found out that she would expect a nurse caring for her to view her as a person, first and foremost. On the other hand, she stated that she would also view the nurse primarily as an individual and not simply as a service provider. The associate was convinced that, if such attitudes were mutual, they would allow her and the nurse caring for her to establish a spiritual relationship, which, she believed, would make the process of recuperation easier for her, and the process of care easier for the nurse.
Nursing Concerns of Spirituality
Spirituality may be an important issue in nursing because it is a significant part of an individual’s worldview and may have a great impact on their health and well-being. For instance, Koenig (2015) reports that spirituality in patients is often associated with positive outcomes related to both physical and mental health. However, it may be challenging to satisfy a patient’s spiritual needs, and doing so is an additional concern of a nurse. However, if properly addressed, this concern may become a starting point for a good and mutually beneficent relationship between a nurse and a patient.
Possible Effects of My Spirituality/Religion on Client Interaction
It is almost certain that my Christian views will affect my interactions with patients. If a patient is also Christian, this may allow for developing personal ties to one another. However, it is important that I respect the views of others, and I should treat the patients with other views with care as well. I believe that even if they are not Christians, they still have souls, and should be treated as people, first and foremost.
Therefore, spirituality, being an integral part of a person’s life, ought to be taken into account by nurses when they provide care for patients. My spirituality will allow me to view my patients as individuals, and it is my hope that it will permit for establishing deep relationships which will beneficent for both sides.
Elkonin, D., Brown, O., & Naicker, S. (2014). Religion, spirituality and therapy: Implications for training. Journal of Religion and Health, 53(1), 119-134. Web.
Koenig, H. G. (2015). Religion, spirituality, and health: A review and update. Advances in Mind – Body Medicine, 29(3), 19-26.