Making Sense of Spirituality in Nursing and Health Care Practice: An Interactive Approach

Making Sense of Spirituality in Nursing and Health Care Practice: An Interactive Approach

Making Sense of Spirituality in Nursing and Health Care Practice: An Interactive Approach

Making Sense of Spirituality in Nursing and Health Care Practice: An Interactive Approach

Synopsis

What do we mean by 'spirituality'? How do we define it? Why are the spiritual needs of individuals important, especially within a health care context? This fully updated new edition considers these questions and their implications for today's holistic approach to care and support.

Excerpt

Why should a book on spirituality in health care be published, and why should it reach a second edition like this book? The fact that there is a demand for a second edition of this book seems to indicate that there is a need for it. But why should health professionals concern themselves with a concept like spirituality? This depends, of course, on how one sees health care. There is a fashion now to talk about more holistic care, although health services still tend to be dominated by the disease and curative models of health. The problem with holism is trying to define what the whole is. Where does one stop when considering a person and the way that they construct their health? Health includes so many different aspects of the person – it is not just their anatomy and physiology, but also their relationships with other people, institutions and society, as well as their personal sense of well-being.

Perhaps one way out of the problem of holism is to look at what makes us human. On the one hand, there are universals that make us human, on the other the differences between us in the ways that we make sense of the world. We all need to eat, to have shelter, to reproduce and to make sense of the world. But how we do these things can vary from individual to individual and community to community. Taking account of spirituality therefore not only recognizes it as one of the things that is important to us as human beings, but also recognises the differences in the ways that people interpret the spiritual.

Illness presents a threat to the identity of an individual as well as impacting on the quality of their life. The use of medical terms like HIV, schizophrenia, and epilepsy, as well as descriptive terms like obesity, carry a whole range of meanings that imply a moral judgement on a person's will-

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