Recognizing and Assessing a Patient Spiritual Needs

Recognizing and Assessing a Patient Spiritual Needs

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For nurses, the path taken in self-exploration should ultimately lead to the patient. During client assessment, it is common and comfortable for nurses to dwell on the physical component. But, patients are not only biological but also psychological and spiritual. A nurse should approach the patient not only for the illness that has brought them to the hospital but approach them on how they are feeling regarding being institutionalize. Also, questioning a patient how has their illness affected them emotionally and spiritually. Just a nurse questions their own spiritual needs, a nurse must question a patient’s spiritual needs. Questions such as: do they see themselves as religious, do they have any beliefs that are incorporated into their life style, or are there any desires that need to be met while they are in the hospital? Beckman et al. (2010) stated that, “if one believes that spirituality permeates all aspects of the client and facilitates a better understanding of the connection of body, mind, and spirit, and then it is seemingly impossible not to be in contact with the client's spirituality” (p.138). Many nurses need to recognize the spiritual needs of patient, because patients use their faith in a supreme being to cope with their illness or that having their room fitted with amenities that are significant to them. When a patient is having a discussion with a nurse regarding spiritual needs, a nurse should always maintain eye contact (if religiously accepted), be at eye level with the patient and always maintain a non-judgmental and open mind. These few gestures will help the patient feel more at ease and comfortable with discussing further conversations such as their spiritually. At times nurses may find it difficult to assess a patient for spiritual needs depending on units they are on. Maternity, psychology and out patient clinics are to mention a few, though there may be some incidents where emotional and spiritual support is needed. Spirituality is often called upon more by patients during times of extreme life-changing events and crises. Oncology, ICU, and surgical floors are where many nurses may see the need for emotional and spiritual support. These are times when patients are most vulnerable, questioning life and God. Patients first diagnosed with a terminal cancer question why this is happening to them or that there is no God because if there were then they wouldn’t have cancer.

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Nurses should habitual apply a spiritual assessment on these patients because of their increase risk of being defenseless, in fear or discouraged. A patient may not know what to do, or what believe in. Preaching to these patients is not beneficial; nurses must not force their religious practices on patients. When a nurse can identify the spiritual needs of a patient then the nurse can help alleviate some of the distress or concerns and help enhance the patients wellness.,Discussion, Spiritual assessment is as much necessity in a patient as getting a complete head to toe assessment. A nurse should be aware of any emotional or spiritual needs the patient may have that the patients are unable to do for themselves. A nurse must never forget to assess a patient if they had pain and needed medication. A nurse should never forget to ask a patient if they need someone to talk to or need have someone sit and pray with them. Murray (2010) discussed that “many studies have shown the need for greater nursing education in performing spiritual assessments, as well as adding spirituality to nursing education programs”(p. 56). Most nursing schools include the subject of spirituality in the program of study. However, for some it is still a challenge to understand. The majority of nurses struggle to provide spiritual because it is rarely touch upon in the fundamental part of nursing. Murray (2010) also recommended educating nurses in “performing spiritual assessments, some of the mystery of what, how, and why will be eliminated, thus increasing the nurses' comfort level in performing the assessments” (p. 55). Murray (2010) implied “delivery of spiritual care by nurses in the hospital would be enhanced by the systematic approach of an assessment form that includes a conceptual framework and guidelines, along with the nursing intuitive process” (p. 55). Many studies have been done in various countries and on groups of specific patients but studies, graphs, and research cannot prove anything unless a nurse applies it without being directed to do so. Nurse should be educated as much about the emotional and spiritual care as they are in the physical and biological part of a patient. As nursing professionals Murray (2010) stated “that exploring their own sense of purpose and spirituality and discover what gives life meaning, they will become better able to understand and relate to their patients) (p. 53). ,Spiritually in its truest sense is needed in any patient’s life. Many patients may basis their entire medical decisions on their beliefs. Having a nurse recognize it and act upon is a greater challenge. Though nursing education, assessments and research has increase throughout the year, but there are still some gaps within the process. Nurses should continue to strive in educating themselves more on the lost assessment of patient’s spirituality. ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,.
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