Whether they are easing pain during an acute illness, helping patients cope with a new diagnosis, welcoming a new life into the world, or witnessing someone's final breaths, nurses are granted a unique privilege to be present during the most intimate moments in the lives of others.
Nurses often witness times of heightened emotions: stress, joy, fear, or physical and emotional pain. They are called on to not only care for the bodies of the most vulnerable but their souls as well. Regardless of religious affiliation or views, providing well-rounded care as a nurse can be viewed as a spiritual calling; compassionate, holistic care that focuses on the body, mind, and soul has the ability to take fear, pain, or despair and turn it into hope, comfort, and peace.
So often, the way patients view their experiences in healthcare has little to do with the actual outcomes of their health, but rather how respected, cared for, valued, and comforted they felt in the process.
During particularly unprecedented times of fear and uncertainty as the novel coronavirus shakes the world to its foundations, nurses are on the front lines of healthcare, providing not only bodily healing, but care and keeping of the soul as they encounter patients at their peak of fear, pain, and anxiety. The aftermath of this pandemic will reach far beyond the count of lives lost, and the responsibility of nurses to provide spiritual comfort and healing to all those affected is one that must be taken on fully and passionately.
Though it is widely recognized that assessing and tending to spiritual wellbeing has an important impact on a person's overall health, it is often easy for this vital role of nursing to be lost or forgotten in the demands of caring for numerous patients, managing the mental and physical complexity of tasks required, and integrating technology and documentation into busy schedules.
However, nurses must be challenged to remember and respect the core value of caring for patients at all levels, from physical to spiritual, in order to deliver the most comfort and healing to those they serve, particularly during times of crisis.
So how can nurses assess a patient's spiritual needs and provide care that is sensitive to the soul? The main way is by simply being present and recognizing them as a unique individual.
Patients may feel lost and overwhelmed in a sea of machines, medical terminology, and unfamiliar routines. Taking a moment to stop and talk with them, assess how they are feeling, address what fears they have, and understand what can be done to make them more comfortable, can be very nourishing and comforting to the soul.
Of all the members of the healthcare team, nurses arguably spend the most time with patients and can get to know them well. Simply offering a listening ear and letting patients know they are cared for can serve as a huge source of comfort and healing. This human connection should be extended not only to patients themselves, but family members and loved ones who may also be experiencing a range of emotions.
It should also not be assumed that patients will speak up for themselves; nurses should encourage open communication and ask patients and their families about any spiritual or religious needs they may have. Creativity and resourcefulness in accommodating simple comforts or requests can make all the difference in humanizing the patient experience. Being present, even if quietly, for prayer, is also often very comforting to patients. Nurses should remember that while medical interventions and care are routine and normal to them, they are witnessing major life events for others and have a unique ability to shape those experiences for the better.
It is important to recognize that the ultimate goal is not always to preserve life, but to maximize the quality of remaining life for patients and their loved ones. Many times, a peaceful death is the best care a nurse can provide and will profoundly impact the grieving process for loved ones in the months and years following a death.
Tending to the physical and spiritual needs of others can obviously be very draining, so it is important for nurses to remember to care for their peers and for themselves in order to avoid emotional exhaustion or burnout. It is helpful and spiritually cleansing to talk with peers and share in grief, triumphs, struggles, and fears, creating a sense of community and a place to grow and heal together. Taking time to step away, compartmentalize, walk outdoors, and enjoy family is necessary to recharge spiritually and emotionally so nurses can continue to provide unwavering stability to their patients.
During this difficult and uncertain time, while nurses are among the frontlines of fighting a pandemic, it is crucial to remember that the role extends far beyond physical care and preserving life and is one of the most impactful professions for shaping the human experience. More so than intellect or productivity, the compassion and dedication to humanity that drove most nurses to become healthcare professionals in the first place will be the driving force that helps them rise to the challenge.
Dr. Dawn Day is Chair of Graduate Nursing Programs and Associate Professor in the School of Nursing and Health Sciences at Spring Arbor University, which offers an online Masters of Science in Nursing.
The rest is here:
- A Spiritual Walk: What is your perfect vision for healing the world? - New Baltimore Voice Newspapers - August 10th, 2020
- ISSUES OF FAITH: The spirituality of the ordinary - Peninsula Daily News - August 10th, 2020
- SPIRITUALLY SPEAKING: It is our religious calling - News - Wicked Local Plymouth - August 10th, 2020
- The Orthodox Female Spiritual Leader Working with Converts - Jewish Journal - August 10th, 2020
- As coronavirus curtails travel, backyard pilgrimages become the way to a spiritual journey - The Conversation US - August 10th, 2020
- For Ottessa Moshfegh, Novel Writing Is a Spiritual Experience - The Nation - August 10th, 2020
- The role of kindness in the spiritual life - Aleteia IT - August 10th, 2020
- Why Mennonites, Lutherans and other say farming has a spiritual side - Deseret News - August 10th, 2020
- SPIRITUALLY SPEAKING: A trip to the movies - Milford Daily News - August 10th, 2020
- The pandemic can be more than purgatory. It can be a time of deep spiritual formation. - The Dallas Morning News - August 10th, 2020
- Police violence meets spiritual resistance in the struggle over DAPL - NationofChange - August 10th, 2020
- Spiritually Speaking: Don't Throw Your Own Pity Party and Attend - Dallasweekly - August 10th, 2020
- Spiritual Reflections: It has been a season of humility - SW News Media - August 10th, 2020
- Live: Raising Emotionally and Spiritually Healthy Bochurim - Anash.org - Good News - August 10th, 2020
- KATHIE DEASY Ironclad sparks ideas of being armed in spiritual iron - Port Arthur News - The Port Arthur News - August 10th, 2020
- '90 Day Fianc': Kalani and Asuelu Reveal Their Rare, Unconventional Shared Spiritual Belief in New Sneak Peek - Showbiz Cheat Sheet - August 10th, 2020
- Adult faith formation thriving although different due to COVID - Baptist News Global - August 10th, 2020
- As coronavirus curtails travel, backyard pilgrimages become the way to a spiritual journey - The Wilton Bulletin - August 10th, 2020
- New Book Offers Much Needed Spiritual Nourishment to Caregivers - PRNewswire - August 10th, 2020
- National webinar on "How to manage stress through science and spirituality" organized - Nagpur News - August 10th, 2020
- Ayala: San Antonios little-known spiritual forest will be preserved in perpetuity - San Antonio Express-News - August 10th, 2020
- Health First's Pastoral Care Teams Turn to Technology to Deliver Spiritual Care and Compassion - SpaceCoastDaily.com - August 10th, 2020
- Katy Perry said she and Orlando Bloom bound by 'spiritual evolution' - Insider - INSIDER - August 10th, 2020
- Global Spiritual Forum The Island - The Island.lk - August 10th, 2020
- From the Archive: Going to a spiritual place in Barry - Barry and District News - August 10th, 2020
- Suikoden Creators On Making A Spiritual Follow-Up To The Classic JRPG - GameSpot - August 10th, 2020
- Why Irans highest spiritual chief Khamenei began a Twitter account in Hindi, know the motive - Pledge Times - August 10th, 2020
- City Lights: Sit with Yuri Schwebler's Spiritual Art or Probe Your Psyche with Project Implicit - Washington City Paper - August 10th, 2020
- SPIRITUALLY SPEAKING: A trip to the movies - Wicked Local Sharon - August 9th, 2020
- World Music Innovators Turning Jewels Into Water Fuse The Spiritual With Digital On Their New Album - Recording Academy | Grammys - August 9th, 2020
- Ram Temple a great place to take plunge into the pool of spirituality, will promote spiritual tourism, says Tourism Minister Prahlad Singh Patel - New... - August 9th, 2020
- Small Changes Can Lead to Big Results | Spiritual and Physical Wellness - ChicagoNow - August 9th, 2020
- Life and Death Meet in Spiritual Arrog Adventure - GameIndustry.com - August 9th, 2020
- Spiritually Speaking: Beware those seeking a pat on the back - The Philadelphia Tribune - August 8th, 2020
- The lord of all beginnings - The New Indian Express - August 8th, 2020
- Ayahuasca spiritual enhancers, arthritis cures and bone wine: The disturbing rise in the illegal jaguar trade - The Independent - August 8th, 2020
- SPIRITUALLY SPEAKING: Look to the sky and behold its wonders - Wicked Local Plymouth - August 8th, 2020
- During coronavirus, monasteries and convents take spirituality online - DW (English) - August 8th, 2020
- PMs Ayodhya speech: It was technically pitch perfect, but there was little that was meditative and spiritua - The Times of India Blog - August 8th, 2020
- God is always with us, even when we don't recognize him - CatholicPhilly.com - August 8th, 2020
- Support in the time of pandemic - Brattleboro Reformer - August 7th, 2020
- PMs Ayodhya speech: It was technically pitch perfect, but there was little that was meditative and spiritua - Economic Times - August 7th, 2020
- Swamiji and Politics - The Statesman - August 7th, 2020
- Mercury opposing Pluto, Full Moon Mysteries and Spiritual "Walk-ins"! - BlogTalkRadio - August 7th, 2020
- One in Christ, one with the people of Lebanon - CatholicPhilly.com - August 7th, 2020
- Lord Ram temple will boost the Religious/Spiritual tourism: Tourism Minister Prahlad Singh Patel - Odisha Diary - August 5th, 2020
- Spiritual Formation at Bethel Seminary: A Life-changing Journey - Bethel University News - August 5th, 2020
- Ayahuasca 'spiritual enhancers', arthritis cures and 'bone' wine: The disturbing rise in the illegal jaguar trade - The Independent - August 5th, 2020
- Words of Faith: The oneness of humanity, a spiritual truth - Frederick News Post - August 5th, 2020
- Physiotherapist authors book on mental and spiritual health - New Era - August 5th, 2020
- unWrap - Physiotherapist authors book on mental and spiritual health - New Era - August 5th, 2020
- SPIRITUALLY SPEAKING: Look to the sky and behold its wonders - Wicked Local Wareham - August 5th, 2020
- Ujjvala Radio - The Yamas and Niyamas 08/04 by SURN Host | Spirituality - BlogTalkRadio - August 5th, 2020
- Dailt Spiritual Leader Should Have Been Called To Ayodhya Event: Mayawati - NDTV - August 5th, 2020
- Spiritually Speaking: A trip to the movies - Wicked Local Walpole - August 5th, 2020
- Distinguishing between the individuality of spirituality and unity of religion - Ke Alakai - August 4th, 2020
- Faith Sparks: Positive Aspects of Technology Can Enhance Spirituality - Diocese Of Norwich - August 4th, 2020
- No expendable generation: On the spirituality and strength of our vulnerable elders - The San Diego Union-Tribune - August 4th, 2020
- Coronavirus, mental health, and the spiritual life: A priest psychologist offers tips from St. Ignatius - The Catholic Telegraph - August 4th, 2020
- Local doctor discusses spirituality in the age of COVID-19 - WJTV - August 4th, 2020
- Ministering to spiritual needs on the front lines of COVID-19 - VAntage Point Blog - August 4th, 2020
- Uplift Your Spirit With The Spiritual Performance Of Yishay Zimrah In His Divine Number 'THE ONLY WAY' - Daily Music Roll - August 4th, 2020
- 7 Reasons Why Finding Love Is Important For Spiritual Growth - YourTango - August 4th, 2020
- Hampton Lutherans spiritual guidance perseveres through pandemic - York News-Times - August 4th, 2020
- Marilyn Hagerty: In some ways, it's been a bummer of a summer - Grand Forks Herald - August 4th, 2020
- This Is Your Captain Speaking, The Retail Sales Recovery Will Be Delayed - Retail Leader - August 4th, 2020
- Virtual Destination Mekong Summit to offer recommendations and insights for travel businesses during COVID-19 to prepare for a balanced tourism... - August 4th, 2020
- COVID-19: 115 countries are still closed to travelers - The Jakarta Post - Jakarta Post - August 4th, 2020
- 'Moments in Time' Sends a Subtle Message That No Photographer Should Miss - Fstoppers - August 4th, 2020
- Bubble waffles: The uniquely Hong Kong snack that's popping up around the world - CNN - August 4th, 2020
- Blue Apron Partners with New York Chef & Television Personality Amanda Freitag to Inspire Home Cooks to Revamp Their Fall Routine - PRNewswire - August 4th, 2020
- Emirates Resumes Flights to Kuwait City and Lisbon, Expanding Its Network to 70 Destinations - Al-Bawaba - August 4th, 2020
- The garden of spiritual wisdom - The New Indian Express - August 3rd, 2020
- Coronavirus, mental health, and the spiritual life: A priest psychologist offers tips from St. Ignatius - Catholic News Agency - August 3rd, 2020
- The Spiritual Opportunity of Working on Your Own Racism - Patheos - August 3rd, 2020
- Suikoden Creators On Making A Spiritual Successor To The Classic JRPG - GameSpot - August 3rd, 2020
- Stevie Nicks Is the Spiritual-Warrior Leader We Need: Wear a Mask and Stay In - Rolling Stone - August 3rd, 2020
- Understanding Hinduism: 4 Vedas the fountain heads of spirituality - Tehelka - August 3rd, 2020
- A Transporting New Exhibition Explores the Possibility That All Things Are Imbued With Spiritual LifeSee Artworks Here - artnet News - August 3rd, 2020
- 3 things to watch this weekend: Reese Witherspoon's spiritual sequel to Big Little Lies - News Lagoon - August 3rd, 2020