The provision of care to clientele (i.e., patient, family, community) entails a holistic approach. This approach includes measures geared towards giving significance to all factors directly or indirectly affecting the clientele’s well being. The application of holistic care means application of nursing measures in all levels of health promotion (i.e., prevention, cure, rehabilitation) that are aimed towards promoting and/ or preserving an individual’s physical, emotional, intellectual, social and spiritual well-being (Hubbert, 2008). Albeit all significant in nature, these factors are usually not all taken into consideration in the application of nursing measures. More often than not, the physical well-being is prioritized the most and the other facets are either taken for granted or if not left to the discretion of a health care provider (e.g., nurse) to promote. Thus, the Joint Commission has emphasized that every patient has emphasized nursing care that focuses on the unique sets of needs that every patient is characterized with- clinical symptoms that require medical attention and issues specific to the individual that can affect his or her care. Further, the commission further reiterated that it is essential for hospitals to identify and address not just the clinical aspects of but also the spectrum of each patient’s demographic and personal characteristics, which includes the patient’s spiritual well being (Joint Commission Resources, 2007).
Based on the guidelines set by the Joint Commission on promoting patient’s spiritual well-being, the following questions were asked to purposively-selected patients in a local hospital: 1.) What religious beliefs do you practice or what religious denomination are you part of?; 2.) How can these religious beliefs affect the quality of care being provided?; 3.) Are there any nursing measure you that may interfere with these beliefs?; 4.) Do you practice other complementary or alternative medical practices in reference to your religious beliefs?; and, 5.) Do you wish to have these practices be incorporated in your care plan?.
In reference to the responses of the patients to the aforesaid inquiries, the following were obtained: 1.) Majority of the patients of are Christians and the minority practices religions such as Islam, Buddhism and Protestantism; 2.) All of the patients emphasized that their religious beliefs/orientation have significant impact on their overall well-being and recovery from illness; 3.) Majority of the respondents reiterated the possible interference of the time of nursing interventions with their religious practices (i.e., prayer, bible study, fasting); 4.) Patients have varying responses on the practice of complementary or alternative medicine (viz., meditation, prayer, herbal medicine, acupuncture); 5.) Majority of the patients have agreed to have these choices of complementary/alternative medical practices be included in their plan of care upon the approval of the physician directly involved on their care.
One of the significant observations on these responses is the possible interference on the time of nursing interventions on the religious practices of the patients. One of the respondents who practices Islam has said that a nurse came in to assess his vital signs while he was having his evening prayer. In addition to this, another interesting point is the proactive attitude of the patients on the inclusion of their preferred complementary/alternative medical practices to their plan of care.
Through the findings, I have been made aware on the significant impact of nursing care on the spiritual well-being of patients. Issues such as the patient’s religious orientation and practices; preferred complementary/alternative medical practices and the inclusion of these practices to patient’s plan of care; and, the possible interference of nursing interventions with their practice of religious beliefs, should be taken into consideration on the practice of nursing profession. Further, the diversity of the patients with various religious beliefs/orientations is also another essential point to consider as an assessment parameter as more often some nursing or
medical measures are standardized (i.e., time of vital signs assessment, blood transfusion) and subsequently may possibly interfere or undermine the patient’s sense of well-being. These are the points that I will highly consider on the practice of holistic and quality nursing care.
No significant barriers or challenges were observed as the respondents were cooperative during the interview process. The experience of interviewing the patients on their spiritual well-being was both enlightening and cathartic. Further, it was a significant learning experience for me as member of the nursing profession. The findings obtained through the developed tool with the aforementioned inquiries have made me realize the significant impact on the application of nursing measures and the nursing profession as a whole on the patient’s overall sense of well-being. Thus, I will highly emphasize and consider the assessment, diagnosis, planning, implementation and evaluation of the patient’s spiritual well-being as they progress the health-illness continuum.
Hubbert, A. O. (2008). A partnership of a Catholic faith-based health system, nursing and Joint
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