First, news that an upcoming Royal College of Nursing conference will include a focus on how licensed nurses deal with patients’ spiritual needs in mental health care.
The 3rd RCN Mental Health Forum Event is to take place on Friday 24 June 2011, in the Thistle Marble Arch, London. It will include a session called “Spirituality and religious care”, to be led by Dr Wilfred McSherry, Professor in Dignity of Care for Older People, from Staffordshire University.
An announcement about the conference states:
The Nursing and Midwifery Council expects nurses to be able to “make a holistic, person-centred and systematic assessment of physical, emotional, psychological, social, cultural and spiritual needs”. The guide says: “Spiritual care is a fundamental part of nursing currently much neglected through ignorance and misunderstanding.” It explains that the practice of spiritual care is about meeting people at the point of deepest need, and treating spiritual needs with the same level of attention as physical needs.
An example of attention being given to spiritual needs can be found in the Christian Science nursing care that has been practised in the UK for over 100 years, in which the spiritual care is considered to be as vital a part of support for the healing process as the practical care being given to patients relying on Christian Science treatment for healing.
A case study of a healing from the effects of an accident which illustrates the potentiality of the tender care of the kind of spirituality illustrated in such care has been published in the Christian Science Sentinel called Deep appreciation for Christian Science nursing care after serious accident.
Here is an excerpt…
I have always loved God, but had never really felt how much God loved me. This had been especially true since the untimely death of my husband just two months earlier. The tender care of the Christian Science nurses gave me the quiet that I needed as I deepened my understanding of the unbreakable connection between God and me, and His great love for all His creation…
While the spiritual care model identified by the RCN does not explore the potential of a carer’s spirituality to support patient recovery from the physical symptoms being exhibited, it is great to see this caring step of acknowledging the spiritual needs involved in cases being attended to by licensed nurses.