Saturday, April 4, 2020

Unity and Diversity in Spiritual Care free essay sample

Spiritual needs, and psychosocial needs are much less tangible than physical needs, because they are often abstract, complex and more difficult to measure. These more intangible needs have frequently been given a much lower priority than needs which are more obvious and more easily measurable. Spiritual needs, if expressed outside of a religious framework, are very likely to go unnoticed. So if we are to identify spiritual needs and provide spiritual care, its first necessary to have some understanding of the nature of spirituality and how it may be expressed by different individuals. In Australian society, and therefore in our health care setting, we encounter a diversity of cultures, philosophies and religious traditions, as well as individuals who have no clearly defined philosophy or belief system. Therefore its important that we develop some general definitions which can help us to recognise spiritual needs when we encounter them in our clients. We will write a custom essay sample on Unity and Diversity in Spiritual Care or any similar topic specifically for you Do Not WasteYour Time HIRE WRITER Only 13.90 / page In recent years, a number of definitions have emerged which are helpful both for defining spirituality, and differentiating between spiritual needs and religious or psychosocial needs. Simsen defines spirituality by saying THE SPIRIT is that part of man which is concerned with the ultimate meaning of things and with a persons relationship to that which transcends the material. (Simsen, 1985:10) Moberg says it is The totality of mans inner resources, the ultimate concerns around which all other values are focussed, the central philosophy of life which influences all individual and social behaviour. (Moberg, 1979) SPIRITUAL NEED has been variously defined as, Any factor that is necessary (requisite, indispensable) to support the spiritual strengths of a person or to diminish the spiritual deficits. (Simsen, 1985:10). The lack of any factor or factors necessary to maintain a persons dynamic relationship with God/Deity (as defined by that person). (Stallwood, 1975: 1088), and That re quirement which touches the core of ones being where the search for personal meaning takes place. (Colliton, 1981: 492). I find all these definitions helpful because together they give a comprehensive (though not exhaustive) picture of what we are aiming to do in giving spiritual care. We need to realise however that spirituality may not always be expressed within a religious framework. Therefore we need to make a distinction between spirituality and religion. One definition of RELIGION is, a framework of spiritual beliefs, a code of ethics and a philosophy that governs a persons activity in pursuit of that which he holds as supreme, his God. In the book, Nursing and Spiritual Care, McGilloway says, Religion helps people answer basic questions about life and death and the unexplained happenings in the world around them. McGilloway, 1985: 23) As these definitions demonstrate, spirituality is not limited to religious affiliation and practices, but is a much broader concept. Another difficulty in identifying spiritual need is that we can fail to make the distinction between spiritual needs and psychosocial needs, since they are not always opposites, and may in fact overlap. A model I find helpful in clarifying this, is one that describes a person in terms of three di mensions. (1) The PHYSICAL or biological dimension which relates to the world around us through our five senses. 2) The PSYCHOSOCIAL dimension which relates to self and others, and involves our emotions, moral sense, intellect and will. (3) The SPIRITUAL dimension which transcends physical and psychosocial dimensions and has the capacity to relate to a higher being. (Stallwood, 1975: 1087) These three dimensions are distinct but overlapping. They cannot be sealed in separate compartments. A crisis or illness affecting our physical body will invariably affect the other dimensions as well. SPIRITUALITY IN NURSING TODAY How does nursing today view spiritual care? For a long time, nursing literature concerning spiritual care was directed towards belief systems and religious practices. If considered at all, it was largely defined in a very narrow way as relating to frankly religious functions and intervention limited (at least officially) to calling the hospital chaplain. Regardless of that, we were often confronted with spiritual need and recognised at least the more overt expressions of this. For example, statements such as God must be punishing me or questions like, Nurse, do you think there is anything after death? were recognised as indicating a spiritual concern. By the late 1960s and 1970s the nursing literature had begun to reveal a growing interest in the spiritual, as well as the psychosocial and emotional aspects of nursing care. Nursing theorists of this era saw the human person as an integrated whole with different dimensions or capabilities (as they put it) for discerning the world around and within. Their writings suggest that when they spoke of spirituality or spiritual need, they had in mind a much broader concept than just religious or denominational adherence and practice. In 1971, Joyce Travelbee declared, A nurse does not only seek to alleviate physical pain or render physical care she ministers to the whole person. The existence of suffering, whether physical, mental or spiritual is the proper concern of the nurse. 4 (Travelbee, 1971: 159). Here we see clear evidence of a return to the traditional focus of nursing, a concern for the whole person. This focus is even more evident today. The North American Diagnosis Association [NANDA] approved list of Nursing Diagnoses which is widely used in Australia, includes SPIRITUAL DISTRESS which is described as, Distress of the human spirit; disruption in the life principle that pervades a persons entire being and integrates and transcends ones biological and psychosocial nature. (Alfaro, 1990: 203) This classification, first approved in its present form in 1988, recognises that suffering extends beyond the physical, mental and emotional. Spiritual care can be a natural part of total care which fits easily into the nursing process of assessment, nursing diagnosis, planning, implementation and evaluation. Placing spiritual need and spiritual care within this framework, has proved to be very helpful, for both philosophical and practical reasons. Firstly spiritual care can become more tangible as well as more assessable. And s econdly, the types of knowledge utilised by the Nursing Process practice wisdom, ethics of practice, and scientific knowledge (Ziegler et al, 1986:14-18) are all relevant to assessing piritual needs and planning spiritual care. It can also then be documented in nursing care plans, to ensure a continuity of care. Like all other areas of care, spiritual care should be a team effort. If spiritual needs are accurately assessed and documented, all staff will be encouraged to see that care is provided. Members of the team who for any reason, dont feel comfortable about providing that care themselves, w ill be able to use referral. The result will be a united approach to spiritual care which is seen as a natural part of nursing practice.

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