SPIRITUAL CARE NURSING... WHAT HAPPENS NOW?
Bro. David Gamay Doncillo BSN
Member at Large
International Council of Nurses -Student Network
Spiritual Nursing care in today's world play an important role of the healing process of a person. It is clearly stated in the Encyclicals written by the Catholic Pontiff Blessed John Paul the Great Gaudium et Spes that man made of a Body and a Soul. There is unity in it. The Physical Body of a person composed the sum of the material world and the soul component sums the Spiritual dimension. No one can separate this facts from each other. For the Body needs the soul; as well as the soul needs the body. Soul is directly referred to us the innermost aspect of a human being that is valued much in him. The body is then also valued for it structured the human being that is in him. Thus in all aspects of care this dimension (Spirituality) should not be set aside but rather must be given also emphasis.
Spirituality according to REED refers to that part of being that seeks meaningfulness through the intra, inner and transpersonal connection of a human being. It is then explain broadly as our relationship to Higher Being that we believed to be the infinite source of unfailing energy.
We can observed almost all the peoples in this world has its own religious affiliation. For in our nothingness we are under the Supernatural Being that can punish our shortcomings and rewards our good deeds.
Roger's views the person as an irreducible whole, the whole being greater than the sum of its parts. Whole is differentiated from holistic, the latter often being used to mean only the sum of all parts. She states that humans are dynamic energy fields in continuous exchange with environmental fields, both of which are infinite. The" human field image" perspective surpasses that of the physical body. Both human and environmental fields are characterized by pattern, a universe of open systems, and four dimensionality. Holistic Health involves the total person: the whole of the person's being and the overall quality of lifestyle (Kozier, Barbara et.al, The Fundamentals of Nursing: Concepts, Process and Practice, Pearson Education South Asia PTE LTD. 2004). Thus in caring for the individual all aspect and dimension of his being should be assessed
According to Angela Wolf paraphrasing Shelley and Fish, Our job as nurses would be offering meaning and purpose, love and relatedness, and forgiveness through Jesus Christ and his reconciliation. Understanding that this relationship as a source of fulfillment is essential to caring for patients as whole entities. However, nurses have the duty to assist patients to worship and practice their beliefs, faith, and spirituality despite their beliefs of these practices. Discussion while spirituality is an essential aspect of holistic nursing care, the current literature is often theoretical in nature and neglects to correlate theory to practical application by getting lost in vague, ambiguous language. In literature, there is paucity in establishing guides for assist nurses to practice competent spiritual care. This literature review identified the key concepts of spirituality: purpose, interconnectedness (with Spiritual Trends in Holistic Nursing 40 total relationships), belief, integrative energy, transcendence and hope. (Wolf, A.,2008. SPIRITUAL TRENDS IN HOLISTIC NURSING: A Thesis, Liberty University).
Based on an article written by Ann Long en titled Nursing: A spiritual perspective, it is a fundamental need for nurses to include the promotion of the spiritual dimension of the health of human beings as well as the physical, mental and social facets if they truly wish to engage in holistic care. The author attempts to define the phenomenon of spirituality, aware of the dilemma that many individuals face when thinking and reflecting on this very personal and intangible issue. In addition to her to be spiritual is to become fully human, the article argues, and the reverse is also true. Spirituality in health is inextricable in each person's search for the discovery of the truth about self and the meaning and purpose of life. Healthy communities are the product of healthy individuals who sow spiritual seeds such as unconditional positive regard, acceptance, respect and dignity for the benefit and advancement of individuals and humankind as a whole. (Long, A., NURSING: A SPIRITUAL PERSPECTIVE, Nursing Ethics Vol. 4 No.6: University of Ulster, Jordanstown, Newtownabbey, NI: 1997)
Wright said that the practice of nursing is ideally concerned with the whole person as well as the environment in which they live, function, and interact. This concern extends beyond caring for physical needs to attending to a range of high risk or maladaptive behaviors (e.g., interpersonal violence, substance abuse, unprotected sex) that have a negative impact on the individual and others. Many nursing theories and models of practice either explicitly or implicitly view persons as holistic beings with physical, psychosocial, and spiritual dimensions. Nursing cannot take a holistic approach to care without acknowledging the importance of spirituality to the entire person. In the last 15 years, increased attention on the spiritual dimension of persons has been evident in nursing research, theory development, education, and practice. Reed's (1992) description of spirituality as a basic human characteristic, with importance to well-being and health, supports its inclusion in all areas of nursing science. The focus of interest in this study is the human dimension of spirituality and its effects on the lives of adolescents. Because nursing is concerned with the health needs arising from all human dimensions, including spirituality, efforts to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the spiritual dimension in any given population was warranted. (Wright, H.,FINDING SAFE PASSAGE: THE EXPERIENCE OF SPIRITUALITY FOR ADOLESCENTS. University of Texas, Austin: 2006)
Today we observed that most of the medical institution gives least emphasis on the Spiritual aspect of a person. I can't understand how can we provide Holistic care in a patient excluding the spiritual health of an individual. How come the wholeness person be restored if His spiritual life is not being attended? Do we forget the basic theory on this aspect? Man is composed of a body and a soul. The Spirit that rooted in the inner most being of the person sums up the moral and social dimension of an individual whereas the body sums up the physical, sexual and psychological dimension. It is being taught to us in our schools that this dimensions should be given equal emphasis in giving a Holistic Care of the patient. But where are we now? Based on my experience student of today who are in their internship for medical studies do not even know how to connect their patient to their Supernatural Being (God) and doesn't also know how to make an Spiritual Assessment. Doctors and nurses sometimes atheist and believe on the greatness of their strength.
SPIRITUALITY AND HEALING PROCESS
The belief of a person in what we called God is very important in his recovery . It is the source of their strength. This is where their hopes sprout and gives them an inspiration to hold on. All those person who has a high spirituality has a tendency of better and fast recovery if they encountered illness. This is because the person has a low depression tendency. Why is this so? Strength and hope was developed during their spiritual formation and the sense of "Never to give up" is high. He feels that he is not alone, that he is with someone who will regain his strength.
Taylor on her qualitative study of 30 persons living with cancer was conducted to determine the how, when, what, and outcomes of prayer during the life threatening illness. Because the informants unexpectedly and covertly referred to spiritual conflicts associated with praying, the researcher conducted a secondary analysis of data. These data which were collected using in-depth interviews and when content analyzed, revealed several spiritual concerns that occur for some individual to pray about their illness. These finding extend previous research that reports how clients frequently find prayer a helpful coping strategy. While clients can believe in and use prayer, they may also concurrently have doubts or question about prayer. Nurses can be sensitive to this spiritual conflict and provide support. (Taylor, E.J., et al, SPIRITUAL CONFLICTS ASSOCIATED WITH PRAYING ABOUT CANCER: PSYCHO-ONCOLOGY; P. 386-394)
Based on the research of Ehrlich S. of VeryMed Network, Spiritual practices tend to improve coping skills and social support, foster feelings of optimism and hope, promote healthy behavior, reduce feelings of depression and anxiety, and encourage a sense of relaxation. By alleviating stressful feelings and promoting healing ones, spirituality can positively influence immune, cardiovascular (heart and blood vessels), hormonal, and nervous systems. An example of a religion that promotes a healthy lifestyle is Seventh Day Adventists. Those who follow this religion, a particularly healthy population, are instructed by their Church not to consume alcohol, eat pork, or smoke tobacco. In a 10-year study of Seventh Day Adventists in the Netherlands, researchers found that Adventist men lived 8.9 years longer than the national average, and Adventist women lived 3.6 years longer. For both men and women, the chance of dying from cancer or heart disease was 60 - 66% less, respectively, than the national average.
Again, the health benefits of religion and spirituality do not stem solely from healthy lifestyles. Many researchers believe that certain beliefs, attitudes, and practices associated with being a spiritual person influence health. In a recent study of people with acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), those who had faith in God, compassion toward others, a sense of inner peace, and were religious had a better chance of surviving for a long time than those who did not live with such belief systems. Qualities like faith, hope, and forgiveness, and the use of social support and prayer seem to have a noticeable effect on health and healing.
All of us has its belief and this belief becomes the core of our Spiritual Life and can influence our healing process in times of illness and difficulties.