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 Abstract

The medical practitioners encounter patients of diverse religions and spiritual inclinations in their profession. As such, it would be recommendable for a nurse or other medical practitioners to understand some of these spiritual perspectives in healthcare as they help greatly in the handling of patients. The big religions may not pose as many challenges since they are well known and understood. On the contrary, the smaller religions may pose these challenges since they may be known in the areas they are practiced. In this research, some of the smaller religions would serve the purpose of understanding the theme of this Research Essay.

 There are various faiths and beliefs in every religion, as well as dos and don’ts that govern every aspect of human life. In healthcare, these things also exist, and they govern the form of treatment a person is to receive. As such, the medical practitioners need to understand these things in order to offer services acceptable by the faith involved. The services need to integrate the patient’s faith and religion. Faith diversity and how it affects the healthcare will be as illustrated by the study of some of the smaller religions of the world (Custom Writing Tips, 2011). Such religions include Sikhism, Baha’ism and Buddhism.  The larger religions may have influences that are widely known, but the smaller ones may pose some challenges. The essay will begin by highlighting what these smaller religions entail and then how they influence healthcare.

Baha’i religion was founded about two hundred (200) years ago by Baha’u’llah. It has it that the humanity is a single race. Therefore, the nature of human diversity is worth of appreciation and acceptance as all were created equal. The main thing in life, as well as the principle of the human kind, is to serve God and to love Him as manifested through things such as reflection, prayer and serving the humanity. The religion also holds that all religions have the same source, one God (Kirstine, 2009).

Buddhism is one of the most diverse religions as it is divided into three categories. Each category holds beliefs, traditions and practices that are distinct. There is Theravada Buddhism that is mainly practiced in the regions of Burma, Laos, Vietnam and also Sri Lanka. The second category is the Mahayana Buddhism that is practiced in Korea, China and Japan. Lastly, is the Vajrayana Buddhism mostly practices in Japan and Tibet. More so, the religion is further diversified through the subdivisions of the three major branches. Buddhism was the religion taught by Buddha, who lived about 2500 years ago in India.  His teachings were mainly about health as he was known to be moved by the miseries surrounding old age, sickness and death (Harold, The living between religion and health, 2002). His belief was that life or human existence is a cycle of several lives. More so, the multiple lives are governed by our actions or deeds.

Sikhism religion originated from northern India, in a region known as Punjab. The people practicing this religion could be mistaken for Arabs or Muslims because of their headdresses and beards. They believe in the perishability of human physical body but the eternity of the soul. The soul is part of God, and life is His gift. Sikhism believe in discipline and mediation.

On the matters of healthcare, Sikhism believes that God is the ultimate healer, and he does so through medical science. As such, to accelerate the healing process and to increase the healing benefits, they have to meditate, chant God’s name as well as recite Shabds. Prayers, according to them, work to trigger the body to fight the disease naturally in that they boost the immunity of the body. Prayers give them strength of the spirit as well as of the body, and they facilitate cleansing. No one should disturb a Sikh patient when in prayer. They would, therefore, opt to pray and cite hymns as well as playing holy music for the patient. They believe that it is God, who brings about sickness for various purposes, but He remains caring, and He also can heal. These things, however, should not bar one from seeking medical attention. It is seen to have some similarities with Christianity who believe in healing through miracles. It is no different from Christianity in aspects like playing of music to the patient.

The Baha’i faith believes in consulting physicians and caretakers who are qualified. As such, the healthcare aspect of their faith allows for one to seek modern science as well as divine revelation. They, therefore, are believers of the two powers, that is, the spiritual healing and the physical healing. It is found to have some similarities to Christianity who displays devotional emblem of their faith. These symbols include the cross. However, some Christians believe solely in healing through miracles. The Baha'i religion allows for the clergy of other religions to visit the patients and to read them scripts of the Baha'i sacred writing, or other holy writings like the Bible or Koran. They do not have any problem with medical issues as blood transfusion. However, it is preferable for them that the patient should be handled by the same gender doctor but this is the patient’s choice. Christians do not consider such things as who treats them.

Buddhists believe in unmaterialistic life as well as to overcome suffering. They believe in doing good, avoiding harm, as well as mediation. They thus create confidence through mediation, something very important in the healing of the patient. They have their way of administering healthcare as outlines in the practices of Yoga. They practice Yoga to attain self confidence as well as the optimism that works to reduce suffering. As such, they believe in inwardly healing (Leslie, 2009). They have a belief that there is no God being who is responsible for their well-being and that it is the people who determine their health. They avoid contamination of the body and strive to keep it pure. Buddhists are in most cases opposed to the western hospitalisation. That belief contradicts the Christian faith that holds that God is responsible for the wellbeing of mankind. Illness could either be a punishment from God or it could be temptations.

The healthcare providers will know how best to handle patients of various faiths and beliefs when they understand these things. It is worth noting that the healthcare is highly influenced by the spiritual perspective. One would ask what are the important things to do for patients from certain beliefs. As found out in this research, one need not interfere with their religious practices. As illustrated by Sikhism, the patients ought to be left alone when in prayer or other religious practices. It is important to give room for them to practice these things as they play a crucial role in the healing process. For instance, they console the patient and give him or her strength of the spirit. The patients will view the caretaker who lets go of their beliefs for those of the patient as very kind people, who show devotion for the well-being of the patient (Harold, 2001).

In conclusion, the research gives profound lessons that the healthcare providers need to learn in order to handle patients from the diverse religious beliefs. One thing is that the spirituality plays a crucial role in the medical processes. That role is mainly to strengthen the patients in order that they can undergo the medical processes successfully. A person without bodily strength, as well as spiritual strength, may not withstand miseries or pain and suffering. Such patients may give up life and die.  It is the spiritual practices that restore this strength. More so, the patients sometimes have preferences in the treatment they are to receive that are in most cases dictated by the religious beliefs. The healthcare providers should strive to offer these preferences for the patient to feel at ease in the medical processes. It is always advisable for the healthcare personnel to do away with their beliefs and pay attention to those of the patient.

References

Custom Writing Tips. (2011, may 18). Healthcare in Relation to Faith Diversity. Retrieved June 26, 2014, from customwritingtips.com: http://customwritingtips.com/component/k2/item/7442-health-care-in-relation-to-faith-diversity.html?tmpl=component&print=1

Harold, G. (2001). Handbook of religion and health. New York: Oxford university press.

Harold, G. (2002). The living between religion and health. New York: Oxford university press.

Kirstine, G. J. (2009). The Religious Aspects of Nursing Care. Vancouver.

Leslie, D. (2009). Healing and transformation through self-guided imagery. USA.

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