Research presented by Puchalski on the role of spirituality in health care

The reading that I found most interesting was the research presented by Puchalski on the role of spirituality in health care. Up to this point in my nursing career, I have leaned toward the scientific approach especially working in the ER and dealing with a lot of acute and severe medical emergencies. In these cases, I have realized that the religious approach is essential when it comes to providing care and comfort to the friends and family members of patients who are experiencing life-threatening injury or illness. The statistics that Puchalski presented on the effectiveness of spirituality on mortality, coping, and recovery were eye opening. When you consider how spirituality can increase life spans, help relieve pain and stress, and improve recovery from illness and surgery, its benefits cannot be denied (Puchalski, 2001, p. 353).

The difference between disease and healing is discussed briefly in Gilbert Meilaender’s book, Bioethics: A primer for Christians. My view of his analysis is that doctors aim to cure disease which sometimes is not possible (i.e. terminal cancer), and their approach may have little to no effect on the loved ones of the sick and injured. Healing, on the other hand, is always possible for patients and their loved ones who have faith and trust in God. Meilaender (2013) argues, “they [medical caregivers] are lordly and awesome in their technical prowess, but they are not the Lord whom death could not hold” (p. 9).

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Comment 2

The aspect that I found most interesting in the reading is the polarity between the older and the newer nursing theories. The older nursing theories are associated with taxonomies and quantitative measures, whereas the newer more holistic nursing theories are more qualitative measures and softer phenomena (Shelly, J., 2006). The revolution in the approach of how we think about nursing and nursing interventions in association to ethical decision making relates to a belief that nursing as a profession is both  a science and an art-based profession, and the the new theories expand upon the concept. The other aspect that is interesting to me is using world views to challenge contemporary ethos by using philosophical clarity, religious sensitivity, and proportionate level of care for the sick and others who may need other forms of physiological and psychological interventions and/or wellbeing.

As medicine is traditionally considered a healing profession, and modern medicine claims legitimacy to heal through its scientific approach to medicine (Starr, P., 1982), the marriage of science and medicine has generally empowered nurses and physicians to intervene actively in the course of disease, to effect cures, to prevent illness, and to eradicate disease Hauerwas, S. (1990). In the wake of such success, nurses and physicians trained as biomedical scientists, have focused on the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease. In the process, cure, not care, became the primary purpose of medicine; as nurses and physician’s role have transformed to the “curer of disease” rather than “healer of the sick (Starr, P. (1982). Thus, healing in a holistic sense has faded from medical attention and is rarely discussed in the medical literature.

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