Addressing Spirituality in Healthcare

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Addressing Spirituality in Healthcare

A health care provider is not only a professional who provides medical treatment, but someone who provides a ministry of service. There are several health situations in which a health care provider can address issues of spirituality within the following groups: oneself, one’s patient, a patient’s family, and among one’s colleagues.Addressing Spirituality in Healthcare

When addressing the issues of spirituality within oneself, one should start off by performing research and obtaining basic knowledge of the different types of religions and spirituality. It is important that a health care provider brushes up on the traditional practices of religions, such as Buddhism, Islam, Judaism, Christianity, and Catholicism, etc. Are there medical practices that these religions are against? Many issues can surface when a patient is getting treated, especially in the hospital setting, end of life issues, such as life support and hospice often causing arguments between family members of the patient and the patient itself. As a health care provider, you need to know your stance on these issues and what guides your spirituality, so you can temper intolerances and educate yourself more in spiritual areas that pose problems for you.

When treating a patient, it is important to develop a solid rapport. Without overstepping your boundaries or breaking issues of confidentiality, find out what a patient likes to do and how they feel about certain medical practices. This can lead to them sharing their spiritual beliefs and customs with you. It is important to stay open and non-judgmental when talking to your patient.


Preparing yourself to address issues of spirituality with a patient’s family can prove challenging at times, especially if the spirituality of the patient’s family conflicts with the patient. Issues such as risky surgery, cancer treatment, Do not Resuscitate feelings, and hospice can create tension, especially when a family member wants to keep a patient alive on life support in spite of a patient’s opposing wishes. A good healthcare provider should explain a patient’s spiritual differences to family members with an air of respect and compassion. Patients and families can also disagree on mental health care, some groups such as Asian cultures, more reluctant to approve of counseling due to spiritual beliefs. A health provider should expect these issues and stay calm.Addressing Spirituality in Healthcare

Relating to one’s colleagues on issues of spirituality can be tough. While a staunch Catholic doctor may have issues with an Atheist doctor who is only guided by Science and evidence, as a health care provider, you must still respect each other’s spiritual beliefs. If you find yourself getting irritated and confused over a colleague’s beliefs, instead of starting an argument and avoiding that person, communicate openly and ask that person to explain their beliefs to you. You never know when you will have to treat a patient with similar beliefs to your colleague.

There are diverse spiritual practices throughout the world. However, as a health care provider, you need to address issues of spirituality that many affect one’s health care with patients, oneself, their families, and colleagues. These issues should be handled with respect, knowledge, and tolerance. Addressing Spirituality in Healthcare

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