University of Northwester-St. Paul
1. Identify common ground between your faith and field of study.
The nursing profession has always focused on holistic patient care, care that emphasizes the combination of mind, body and soul. Nurses must remember that they have to care for the physical, mental, psychosocial and spiritual functioning, if they want to be able to care for the whole person. Florence Nightingale, the first nurse, had always tried to combine mysticism with science. For Nightingale, the laws of science are the “thoughts of God.” Since Nightingale, nursing has moved toward a secular and humanism period, which hopefully we can get back to a more spiritual realm (O’Brien, 2014).
A person’s spirituality and religious beliefs have the potential to influence every aspect of being. According to O’Brien there are three key activities for spiritual caring: being with patients in their experiences of pain, suffering, or other problems and needs; listening to patients verbally express anxieties or emotions, such as fear, anger, loneliness, depression, or sorrow, which may be hindering the healing process; and touching patients either physically, emotionally, or spiritually to assure them of their connectedness with others in the family of God. The acts of being with, listening to, or touching a patient may not constitute as spiritual care. These behaviors, however, grounded in a nurse’s spiritual philosophy of life such take on the element of ministry; they constitute the nurse’s theology of caring (O’Brien, 2014). Megan, a Nurse Practitioner in Community Health said in O’Brien’s book that when she is nursing, she feels like she is ministering to the person. As Christians we need to take care of the sick, when we care for them, we are in fact caring for the Lord (p. 87, 2014).
In 1974, Alice Price tried to give a definition of nursing that was not only the concept of the patient’s spiritual nature, but also the humane vocation of the nurse as well (O’Brien p. 6). “Nursing, as a profession, will embrace more than an art and a science; it will be a blending of three factors: of art and science, and the spirit of unselfish devotion to a cause primarily concerned with helping those who are physically, mentally or spiritually ill” (O’Brien, p. 6-7).
Acceptance is an important value to me, especially in the nursing practice. In Jackson and Irwin’s article, Dignity, Humanity and Equality: Principle of Nursing Practice (2011) they say “Nurses and nursing staff treat everyone in their care with dignity and humanity-they understand their individual needs, show compassion and sensitivity, and provide care in a way that respects all people equally.” It is known that effective caring is a complex and skilled nursing craft. The Equality Act of 2010 protects individuals against the harm of discrimination based on their age, disability, gender, marriage, maternity status, race, religion and sexual orientation (Jackson & Irwin, 2011). Not only should it be our duty to be fair and kind to everyone but it is also their right that they get honest care. Jackson and Irwin states for everyone to receive good care that “nurses should be supported in developing the knowledge and skills to undertake robust assessment, demonstrate understand and provide individualized care and services.” Sometimes when nurses have a very busy patient load it is hard for them to make an attempt to identity their patients individual needs in a way that is sensitive and compassionate (Jackson & Irwin, 2011).
“When you call me, when you go and pray to me, I will listen to you” (Jeremiah 29:12). Praying is essential for nursing because you have God’s creation in your hands. Praying with the patients has been noted to be an important nursing intervention but you have to be careful not to force this on an unwilling patient. Many nursing journals and articles support the appropriateness and importance of nurses