Health care provider and faith diversity

This paper identifies some of the religious practices of three religions, Sikhism, Buddhism and Shintoism. It is in partial fulfillment of the spirituality course in the BSN program and is designed to create greater awareness of some of the religions in our society of which little is known. Details of these religions are confined to traditional beliefs and practices as they impact nursing care. This assignment asked for this writer to express what has been learned from this research in the conclusion and how the learner can apply it to health practice.

The connection between a person’s spiritual wellbeing and his or her overall health is gradually being acknowledged and as a result some facilities have already put in place a chaplain and included spirituality in the plan of care. The foundation to personal wholeness is good spiritual health. Inside of every human being is something that yearns and searches for God because He created man to worship and be in communion with Him (Spiritual health,” nd). “Spiritual needs include meaning and purpose, love and belonging, hope and forgiveness and our spiritual health is affected by the degree to which each of those needs is met” (Spiritual health,” nd). One’s beliefs, values, and religious faith influence their spirituality (Spiritual health,” nd). “Providers should encourage patients and family members to interpret how religious beliefs may be pertinent to their hospital stay with regards to personal needs, interaction with staff, and decisions about treatment” (Ehman, J. 2012).

A Sikh at the Golden Temple of Amritsar, Punjab. Photo: Claude Renault. Spiritual Perspective on Healing / Components of Healing-Sikhism “Many Sikhs have a strong belief that prayer and faith are important elements of curing illnesses of the body and mind” (“Guidelines for health,” 2011). In times of illness, Sikhs pray to seek God’s help, uses God’s name (Waheguru) and recite or listen to sacred hymns (Gurbaani), to obtain peace, and to ask for forgiveness. Sikhs get physical and spiritual strength and nourishment from the sacred word (Guru Granth Sahib). “Even though Sikh patients may consider illness to be God’s will, they also believe that God is merciful and benevolent, and one may have to get medical treatment in order to get well” (“Guidelines for health,” 2000). Important Consideration for Sikh Patients by Healthcare Providers with Different Beliefs Respect for the Sikh patient’s modesty and privacy should always be upheld, you should knock on the door and announce your arrival. It is also important not to interrupt a patient who is praying to provide routine care. Touching should be kept at a minimum and done only when necessary as a mark of respect for the patient’s personal space. It is not uncommon for Sikh patients to request audiotapes of sacred music (Keertan) to be played in their room at the bedside. The healthcare provider should use sensitivity with regards to the importance of the Sikh’s 5 K’s, which “are religious symbols or articles of faith. The five K’s are Kesh (uncut hair), Kangha (a wooden comb), Kara (a steel bracelet), Kachhehra (underwear) and Kirpaan (a ceremonial sword)” (Sikhism and Christianity,” nd). These should never be taken off the patient without his/her prior consent. (Sikhism and Christianity,” nd). Sikh women may insist that their bodies be covered with more than a hospital gown and that the female patient wears a gown while examinations are being done and whenever possible the women should have a practitioner of the same sex. A private room for Sikhs may be provided and if possible, a room can be made available sensitive to the needs of persons of different traditions. Also, a local Gurdwara (Sikh place of worship) may be identified and a religious leader or a Granthi (Sikh Priest) to play the part of a valuable resource (“Guidelines for health,” 2000). Christianity and Sikhism

Christians acknowledge that God is a unity of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit and the bible teaches that God loves mankind and longs for man to know and acknowledge Him. Salvation requires that man be in and maintains a relationship with God. Fallen human beings need faith in Jesus to bring
about reconciliation. Acceptance of the gift of salvation by faith saves man and at the end of the world, man will inhabit heaven while evil men and satan will be in hell. Sikhism like Christianity shuns idol worship. However, they teach that there is only one God, disputing the Trinity. They believe in one supreme God who is impersonal beyond human knowledge. Humans are spiritual beings with flawed souls, but capable of becoming ‘saint soldiers’ by merging with deity. There is no heaven or hell or evil or Satan. “Sikhism believes in Karma-the law of cause and effect where each individual is responsible for his/her actions and the result obtained from it” (Sikhism and Christianity, nd). They believe that a person’s ego is the primarily responsible for suffering as anger, lust, attachment to material things and a sense of individuality comes from ego; hence, the desire to overcome ego. Sikhism also teaches that there are multiple ways to gain salvation. The soul is a part of God and at the end of life, which involves the cycle of life and death and millions of life forms it returns to the Divine source. Christians believe in faith healing as took place with the woman with the issue of blood who doctors had found incurable for twelve years. (Luke 8:43). Christians also believe that the healthcare teams exist to help with man’s health issues and Jesus made it plain that it should be sought as well when He told the story of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:30-37.

Spiritual Perspective on Healing / Components of Healing – Buddhism In Buddhism disease is divided into two areas, disease of the body and mind, the latter being very significant in Buddhism. Defilements’ is a term used to refer to the basic cause of all diseases. Demon (yakkha) and ghosts also cause illness. “Causes of suffering are divided into three components: ignorance (avijjā), craving (taṇhā), and clinging (upādāna” (Wichit & Luechai, 2002). Other methods of curing or reducing sufferings, in Buddhism, are not only medicines and other physical treatments but also Dhamma and mind practice. “The Seven Factors of Enlightenment or the Seven Limbs of Wisdom (Bojjhaṅga) is one Dhamma that is used to get rid of severe ailments and the Atanata word-rune is another verse used to prevent sickness or danger from demons especially for one who lives alone in a cave or forest ” (Wichit & Luechai, 2002). The effort of the Will and the Ten Contemplations (sanññā 10) are other Dhammas for curing diseases. The effectiveness of
these methods of curing is dependent on many factors especially the condition or state of the patient’s mind. There is no general application for all situations. Exceptions are made for monks who are sick and cannot properly function as the required. “For example, monks must not live separately from his three robes, even for one night, but there is an exception for the ill monk” (Wichit & Luechai, 2002). Buddhist principles do accept scientific and alternative therapies except the path to the Buddhist destination is blocked by them (Wichit & Luechai, 2002). Important Consideration for Buddhist Patients by Healthcare Providers with Different Beliefs Patients may express the need for quietness as they place a strong emphasis on “mindfulness,” for the purpose of meditation, especially during crises. For the same reason, analgesia is used very sparingly if at all as it is thought to cloud the mind. Some Buddhists may express strong, concern regarding having a practitioner from the opposite sex. Dietary restrictions are another area to be mindful of. Caregivers should lessen anything that may interrupt the patient’s thoughts or meditation in transitioning as death is viewed as a time of serious “transition,” with karmic implications. After death the patient’s body is kept for a number of hours, for the purpose of performing their religious rites. Caregivers should avoid jostling during transport of the body as the spirit does not immediately leave the patient’s body. Christianity and Buddhism

“Buddhism denies the existence of one God or other creators; the world and all existences are believed to have originated from many causes that are governed by natural law” (Wichit & Luechai, 2002). Buddhism believes in reincarnation based on deeds of the present life (Wichit & Luechai, 2002). “There are four paths or four yogas to attain salvation: Karma Yoga – Way of good works, Bhakti Yoga – Way of love and faith, Jnana Yoga – Way of knowledge, and Raja Yoga – Way of salvation” (What are the,” nd). Spiritual Perspective on Healing / Components of Healing-Shintoism “A weakened immune system by spirits who want to convey messages to human beings is often believed to be the cause illness; therefore, healing is a process of restoring the strength of the body’s resistance to illness” Kalland, (nd) . “This involves the removal of the cause for the spirit’s grievance, but it is often expedient, even necessary at times to get healing support from
other spirits. Thus healing often consists of two parallel processes, in addition to medical treatment” Kalland, (nd). A large number of spirits are believed by Shingû people to have healing powers. Some of these supernatural are capable of healing all kinds of illness.

Important Considerations for Shinto Patients by Healthcare Providers with Different Beliefs There is no practice that impacts nursing care. The main criteria for culturally sensitive nursing care includes showing respect for religious differences, showing respect for the individuality of the patient, keeping an open mind, making no assumptions, asking questions, and listening actively to verbal and non-verbal responses of the patient. Conclusion

Religious differences sometimes create a barrier to holistic care either because little is known of them or there is conflict between the beliefs of the patient and the caregiver. This study has caused me to learn about the specific practices and beliefs of the three religious groups and hence more equipped to provide holistic, culturally competent care.

Ehman, J. (2012). Religious diversity: practical points for health care providers. Retrieved from Griffith, Kristine J. (2009). The religious aspects of nursing care. Retrieved from Guidelines for health care providers interacting with patients of the Sikh religion and their families (2000). Retrieved from Guidelines for health services (2011). Health Care Providers’ Handbook on Sikh Patients. Retrieved from Renault, Claude. (nd). A Sikh at the golden Temple of Amritsar. Photo. Retrieved from Kalland, Arne, (nd) Facing the spirits: Illness and healing in a Japanese community. Retrieved from Sikhism and

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