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Health Care Provider and Faith Diversities

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Professional nurses meet patients with various faiths and religions in their everyday practice. They are likely to have contact with patients of different cultures and backgrounds. Now the spiritual care becomes a part of a larger culture of a hospital and it can provide multiple benefits for our patient.  Nurses have physiological, psychological, historical, theoretical, and religious viewpoints of spirituality in their holistic care. These viewpoints of spirituality assist them to understand their patients who are from different religions and their spiritual needs in order to provide a holistic care (Maclaren, 2004).  The article provides a summary of three person’s spiritual perspective of healing, variety of religious traditions, and a comparison of Christian perspective of faith and healing.

The first person to be interviewed for spiritual assessment of faith diversity was a patient who believes in Islamic religion. Mr. Abdul Rahim who is 48 years old is admitted in Neuro I.C.U with diagnoses of brain tumor. His spiritual perspective of healing comes from his “Allah” (God). He said each and every word in the Holy Quran (the Holy book of Islam) talks about the healing. His critical components of healing are prayers, especially fasting prayers, talismans and their faith in Allah. From his faith he experiences spiritual, emotional and physical well-being. According to Mr. Abdul he respects all the religions, and does not think that a health care provider’s belief affects his health. So he can accept a health care provider with different religions and nationalities. He respects their belief and spirituality. He has very strong faith in Allah and he always wants to follow His faith. He strongly believes Allah will take care of his emotional and spiritual needs. He does not believe hospital’s spiritual care. He thinks that the hospital is place for his physical healing. He agrees that health care providers do not need to let go of their own beliefs for the interest of their patient.

            The second person this author interviewed was Mr. Harbindar Singh who is 36 years old admitted in medical I.C.U with diagnoses of hypertension. He believes in the Sikh religion. Sikhism originated with Guru Nanak. His spiritual perspective on healing is his God “IK Onkar”. Nitnem banis are his daily prayers. His critical components of healing are prayers, and meditation. This helps to reduce stress and prevent from illness. Mr. Singh accepts all human beings’ spiritual belief is important for thm. Also he respects a health care provider and their belief. According to Mr. Harbinder Singh, a health care provider does not need to let go of their own belief for the patients. He states that professional nurses provide culturally competent spiritual care to their patients.

             The third interviewee was a professional nurse who believed in Hinduism. Ms. Geetha Nair who is 42, prays to Lord Ganesh. They worship Sree Ganesh chathurthi, and believes that it helps to reduce the intensity of the Yama frequency.  Also Lord Ganesh is the remover of difficulties.  Her spiritual perspective on healing is to stay away from diseases by yoga (practice of physical posture) and prana (breathing exercise which is very relaxing to the body). She believes that all spiritual process starts from a healthy body. Ayurveda medicine (herbs) is very beneficial to treat any disease and help to increase immunity.  She mostly uses Ayurveda medicine and goes to the hospital for emergency treatment and vaccination. Her critical components of healings are Yoga, Prana and Pooja (The worship of God). This helps in her mental and physical power. Ms. Geetha states that she works with people from different religious backgrounds and she respects their spiritual belief. She believes that spiritual care is an essential component of holistic care. She is interested in more education and practical guidelines in spiritual care.

                  After the three interviews, this author believes that all of them believe in a super natural power which is their hope and strength in their life. Everyone has a God and their God is the highest value for them. The practices for their prayers and worship are according to their own faith. Also there is a difference in their spiritual needs and their spiritual beliefs are very helpful. All these three different religions Islam, Sikhism, and Hinduism mainly focus on treating the whole person in mental, physical and spiritual well-being.  

                 When comparing the spiritual perspective of these faiths with Christian faith, the author believes that each religion has its own beliefs, attitude, culture and values. It is important for a health care giver to understand the spiritual needs of people from different faiths. The Muslim patient has a very strong faith in his religion and he did not want any interferennce in his spiritual care. All these people agree that the health care provider does not need to let go of their own religion for the interest of the patient. When comparing the different religious faiths with Christian faith, I observed all these religion talk about faith in God.  Spiritual needs are met through their relationship with God. People need God and we are incomplete without him (Fawcett, 2004). “The spiritual dimension provides hope, gives shape in to an individual’s life and helps the person to ascribe purpose and meaning to their life”.

                    Nothing is impossible in this world if we practice faith. For example, the case of a 40 year old Hispanic patient who was admitted with severe head injury. The patient was in comatose, ventilator dependent, and he was on medications to keep his vital signs stable. His wife was always at the bed side and continuously prayed to mother Mary. She does fasting prayer most of the time. Because of her strong faith and our loving care, the patient was discharged to home as a trach dependent. Health care profession needs to understand their own beliefs and philosophies about health and illness, which is necessary to understand the diverse population. A Christian nurse is responsible for caring for the spiritual needs of her patients and practice with honesty. Christian nurses who live under the authority of God have a higher calling for spiritual care.

                In conclusion, this author learned about three different faiths and their spiritual belief. All people have their own faith in God and they depend on this holy power from God. In United States of America, religion is an important part of life. Spirituality is an important part of nursing practice and theory.  Health care profession is responsible to maintain their patient’s spiritual well-being. They should relay their own beliefs and integrity to minister their patients. While patients and families are thankful for the care given, they should understand that “the caregiver is an instrument of God, anything that comes out from them is God working through humans”.  Patients’ confidence and trust in their God helps to strengthen and support their faith. It is very important for a health care professional to access and understand the patient’s religious background and analyze their patient’s spiritual well-being (Carson, 2010, p.1023). 

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