“Probably more than any other profession, nursing deals with giving hope to the hopeless. Although other professionals, such as physicians and clergy, also offer hope, it is the nurse who stands with the sick person for extended periods of time offering care and support when medical science can no longer offer a cure,” (Shelly & Miller, 2006, 262). This describes the purpose of spiritual care. But, what is good spiritual care? “Good spiritual care should bring glory to God, and not mere comfort to the patient or acceptance with the health care community,” (Shelly & Miller, 2006, 263). In this manner, I am lacking in my ability to meet this need. I know I meet the basic standards as described by Shelly and Miller: “Sometimes spiritual care means simply being present, praying, sharing from Scripture, offering a word of witness and encouragement or participating in a healing service. At other times it may include arranging referrals, planning creative strategies for follow-up care in the home or helping a person become connected to a Christian community,” (Shelly & Miller, 2006, 263). This statement is something I can do and have done for patients. I know which religious figures in the community will come to our facility to see patients if requested. I have stood with patients when they pray, and have prayed for patients per their request.
I believe spiritual care to be important in the complete care of a patient. I believe spiritual care brings positivity and comfort to patients. I do not feel it is appropriate for me to ask the patient if I can pray with/for him/her, but if the patient asks me to pray for/with him/her, I will gladly do so and have done so in the past with patients. Spirituality is an individual belief that must respect in each patient, as their level of faith, their beliefs, and their religion may not match my own. “A recent survey of 4,000 nurses identified that meeting patients’ spiritual needs is extremely important and improves overall quality of nursing care. However, only 5% felt they achieved this goal. Although nurses appear to be aware of spiritual needs, lack of clear definitions and practical guidance means they are often uncertain about how these can be addressed as part of clinical care” (Sartori, 2010). I felt this awareness and uncertainty in my nursing care, but after reading maybe I’m on the right track?