Spiritual Care Plan: Nursing Term Paper Examples
Nurses have a duty to help calm the body and the mind. Although nurses and doctors would ideally save every life that comes before them, sometimes there are people who need spiritual care and preparation for death or long-term illness. The purpose of this discussion is to understand the ways in which nurses can provide spiritual care for their patients, and the methods through which nurses and other caregivers in the medical profession can provide spiritual assistance and assessment for patients who are suffering crises or discomfort. By utilizing peer-reviewed studies, the authors will investigate the question of how to meet a medical patient’s spiritual needs; a number of these studies were designed specifically for medical professionals and individuals working with people who are in need of serious care or even palliative care. Ideally, the caregiver providing a spiritual assessment and assistance to the patient should be able to connect with the patient on a spiritual level and help them receive comfort in their time of need and of distress.
The literature regarding spiritual care for patients all suggests that there are a number of factors that influence patient perception of spiritual care and the ability of nurses to provide it. Piles (1990) suggests that nurses feel the need for instruction on how to provide palliative and spiritual care to patients, because the nurse is often the one that is expected to provide comfort and help to patients when they are feeling emotionally and spiritually stressed (Piles, 1990). Nurses are often a form of comfort for patients, and nurses must try to ensure that they are able to connect with patients on a spiritual level (Govier, 2000). There is nothing in the literature to suggest that a nurse must share the patient’s religious or spiritual views to provide comfort to that patient, which should be the end goal of any spiritual care provided by the nurse (Govier, 2000).
Daaleman et al. (2008) suggest that one of the reasons nurses are expected to do so much in regards to spiritual care is because nurses are physically present and physically close to patients all the time (Daaleman et al., 2008). In this way, nurses become spiritual proxies for many patients, and nurses must be capable of interacting with patients of many different cultural and religious backgrounds. Daaleman et al. (2008) write, “Being present was a predominant theme the deliberate ideation and purposeful action of providing care that went beyond medical treatment Cocreating began with an affirmation of the patient’s life experience and led to the generation of a holistic care plan that focused on maintaining the patient’s humanity and dignity. Time was both a facilitator and inhibitor of effective spiritual care” (Daaleman et al., 2008). The approach to care for individuals in medically dire situations, then, should be holistic to ensure that they are receiving the best care possible for their bodies and their spiritual needs (Daaleman et al., 2008).
There are other necessities insofar as providing specific Catholic spiritual care in the medical profession as well. Although every religious tradition has its own special needs and special things that must be done for the client, Catholic spiritual care often requires the use of a third party such as a priest. Confession is an important part of the traditional Catholic spiritual experience, and patients in need of Catholic spiritual care may feel the need to confess to a priest (Piles, 1990). The importance of allowing patients to perform their typical religious rituals cannot be overstated; it is fundamentally important to the overall health of the patient, regardless of the patient’s religious affiliation or tradition (Piles, 1990).
Govier (2000) suggests that there are four “R’s” to providing spiritual care to individuals in the medical system. These “R’s” are “reason/reflection,” “relationships,” “religion,” and “restoration” (Govier, 2000). Religion is only one piece of this particular puzzle, which is very important—in addition to performing important religions rites, patients need spiritual care in other areas as well (Govier, 2000). Part of providing spiritual care in the Catholic discipline may include answering questions that search for meaning, like “why is this happening?” There may be no good answer that the nurse can give, but the purpose is not necessarily to answer the question for the patient, but to give the patient a means to reflect on his or her life and spiritual needs (Govier, 2000). The nurse may be the individual providing the sounding board for reasoning and reflection, or the spiritual advisor for the patient may be the one providing the discussion about reason (Govier, 2000).
Once the individual has access to the appropriate religious counsel, the individual in charge of his or her spiritual journey and wellness must perform an assessment to establish the individual’s spiritual needs (van Leeuwen and Cusveller, 2004). This assessment will determine what the client’s spiritual needs are, and will also serve to help the spiritual advisor assess those needs and develop some kind of plan for forward movement for the individual. Everyone’s spiritual needs will be different, and not everyone will have the same spiritual needs at every point in their lives; spirituality changes drastically with circumstance (Govier, 2000). Understanding these spiritual needs is important for developing a holistic care plan for the patient (Govier, 2000).
During this time, the patient may have a variety of needs. The simplest need that the care provider may experience is the need to see a priest or other spiritual leader; this is something that can probably be arranged easily. However, the patient may also need to reason with the care provider or reflect on his or her purpose (Govier, 2000). The patient may feel the need to discuss religious issues with the care provider, or discuss feelings of loss or abandonment. These are all normal things for a patient to do, and the care provider must be ready to handle all these issues with the patient. Family needs are often similar to patient needs, but families must be encouraged to remain steadfast in their relationship with the individual who is ill or injured (Govier, 2000).
There are many different ways in which spiritual care can assist healthcare professionals in their quest to make patients more comfortable and to make patients’ lives better. Patients will often have many varied spiritual needs based entirely on circumstance. However, these needs can generally be broken down into the four “R’s” of spiritual needs in medicine and medical care: reason/reflection, religion, relationships, and restoration. Assessing a patient’s need level on each of these four “R’s” is the primary job of the individual who is in charge of a patient’s spiritual health, whether they are a religious leader or a nurse.
Daaleman, T., Usher, B., Williams, S., Rawlings, J., & Hanson, L. (2008). An Exploratory Study of Spiritual Care at the End of Life. The Annals Of Family Medicine, 6(5), 406-411. doi:10.1370/afm.883
Govier, I. (2000). Spiritual care in nursing: a systematic approach. Nursing Standard, 14(17), 32-36. doi:10.7748/ns2000.01.14.17.32.c2744
PILES, C. (1990). PROVIDING SPIRITUAL CARE. Nurse Educator, 15(1), 36-41. doi:10.1097/00006223-199001000-00014
Puchalski, C., Ferrell, B., Virani, R., Otis-Green, S., Baird, P., & Bull, J. et al. (2009). Improving the Quality of Spiritual Care as a Dimension of Palliative Care: The Report of the Consensus Conference. Journal Of Palliative Medicine, 12(10), 885-904. doi:10.1089/jpm.2009.0142
van Leeuwen, R., & Cusveller, B. (2004). Nursing competencies for spiritual care. J Adv Nurs, 48(3), 234-246. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2648.2004.03192.x