Spiritual Care

Spiritual Care “is the aspect of health care that attends to spiritual and religious needs brought on by an illness or injury” (spiritual care def, n.d.a.). This definition simplifies the enormous wide-raged descriptions of what spiritual care encompasses. My personal thoughts regarding what spiritual care is are very similar to the topic readings. As stated in Called to Care: A Christian Worldview for Nursing, “Sometimes spiritual care means simply being present, praying, sharing from Scriptures, offering a word of witness and encouragement or participating in a healing service” (Shelly & Miller, 2006). In this description, I focused on the words “being present.” To me, spiritual care does not only mean to put the patient in touch with God, it means to provide holist care to patients that encourages them to express their feelings which in turn empowers them to deal with illness or injury. Nurses can provide their patients with spiritual care the minute they walk in the patient’s room. A nurse’s demeanor says a lot of how the patient will react and open-up emotionally. This demeanor can start the conversation and lead to realizing that spiritual interventions need to be sought for the patient. It is the nurse’s active listening and compassionate presence that is a part of providing spiritual care. Nurses must take the lead from the patient if prayer, reading from the scripture and partnering with the Christian community is desired. If a Christian connection is not preferred, offering to teach meditation, relaxation exercises, and music are all choices that are considered spiritual care. The following is a quote from the readings that emulates my feelings of what spiritual caring involves: “We cannot underestimate the power of supportive presence in spiritual care-…This involves active listening, encouragement, expressing faith and hope and physical care. Anticipating a person’s physical needs being willing to cheerfully handle foul-smelling excrement and bodily discharges, offering a gentle touch or a helpful hand all communicate personal dignity and worth” (Shelly & Miller, 2006). As a prudent nurse, I believe we all need to connect with our patients providing holistic, spiritual care.

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