Nurses and healthcare chaplains: natural allies.
The collaborative relationship between nurses and chaplains in the health care setting is well documented. The authors review research findings including survey results demonstrating the importance of religion and spirituality in the general population and the importance of the religion and faith in people suffering illnesses. Nurses and physicians show marked differences in their attention to spiritual care as evidenced by nurses' higher rates of referrals to chaplains and the greater quantity of nursing research on sprirituality in professional journals. Three factors that might account for nurses' recognition of spiritual needs are: 1) the inclusion of spiritual care in the nursing curriculum, 2) personal involvement in faith communities and, 3) the historical influences of the nursing profession. Further research of this partnership and its effect on patient care should ultimately benefit the most vulnerable individuals in the health care setting.
Weaver, AJ; Koenig, HG; Flannelly, LT
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