This weeks’ blog is from Rohit Sagoo, Founder and Director, British Sikh Nurses , Community project with the Resuscitation Council UK.
Faith-based nursing is a phenomenon in the United States, yet it needs to be recognised in the United Kingdom1. Historically, nursing practice has been rooted in connection with culturally diverse faiths, spirituality, beliefs and values. Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing, was deeply influenced by her Christian faith. She believed nursing was a divine calling and emphasised the importance of compassion, selflessness, and service to others. In faith-based nursing, there is the notion that an acceptance of a higher power exists in the daily care interactions with patients and nursing teams. Faith-based nursing places a strong emphasis on providing holistic care, which includes addressing the spiritual needs of patients and guidance can be found from the Royal College of Nursing2. However, extending this care into the community is at the heart of contemporary community nursing. Faith-based nursing in the community provides a partnership that allows faith-based institutions to contribute to the broader healthcare system.
Understanding cultural and spiritual beliefs and practices is essential in delivering the appropriate care for individuals. By understanding the fundamental principles of an individual’s faith and nuances around cultural diversity, we can ascertain how faith-based beliefs influence health and well-being. Beliefs affect marriage, divorce, birth, death, and illness3.
Connecting communities with faith-based nursing involves establishing meaningful relationships between healthcare providers rooted in faith traditions and the communities they serve. Faith-based nursing interventions at religious institutions provide significant opportunities for meaningful social interaction and health promotion. For example, British Sikh Nurses, a faith-based nursing organisation, is partnering with the Resuscitation Council, delivering basic life support training to the ‘Sangat’ congregation at Gurdwaras across the UK. This nurse-led health education intervention helps build trust and rapport with the Sikh community. More importantly, it is an opportunity to provide health education that removes false narratives with myth-busting exercises for health and wellbeing. Initiatives like this help educate religious congregations on treatment medical care and encourage participation in discussions to help people cope with the illness. By integrating faith-based nursing with spiritual and holistic health, nurses can better represent and care for their communities4.
Faith-based nursing may include health education and screening at faith institutions and care for families outside of healthcare environments. Faith-based nursing can help alleviate family anxiety during life, death and stressful situations as nurses build a close alliance with congregation members and are often requested to support families managing severe chronic illnesses. By placing health promotion activities in places of worship, nurses can connect with a targeted group to disseminate key health messages and information. In this way, faith-based nurses advocate for routine healthcare initiatives such as health screening. This proactive approach to healthcare promotes early detection and prevention5.
In conclusion, making faith-based nursing inclusive involves ensuring that healthcare services provided within faith communities are accessible, respectful, and sensitive to the diverse needs of the congregations. More importantly, the assembly can connect with nurses of the same faith, culture and diverse background. This creates a safe and welcoming environment to recognise and address healthcare disparities within the faith community. Thus, providing targeted interventions to reduce inequalities in access to care and health outcomes is an option that nurses must consider in their practice. This approach leads to a more inclusive and patient-centred model of care.
- Anaebere, A. K. and DeLilly, C. R. (2012). Faith community nursing: supporting mental health during life transitions. Issues in Mental Health Nursing, 33(5), 337-339. https://doi.org/10.3109/01612840.2011.631164
- Wattis, J & Rogers, M., (2020) Communication: Spirituality in nursing practice, Royal College of Nursing, RCN Learn, https://rcnlearn.rcn.org.uk/Search/316-Spiritualityinnursingpractice
- Sessanna, L., Askew, Y., & Pomeroy, S. H. (2020). Faith community nursing practice and holistic nursing practice: a comprehensive and inclusive comparison of both specialties. Journal of Holistic Nursing, 39(1), 85-102. https://doi.org/10.1177/0898010120928620
- Donato, E., Green, L., Serwah, I., & Sousa, R. (2018). A faith community nursing initiative. Diversity of Research in Health Journal, 2, 88-101. https://doi.org/10.28984/drhj.v2i0.218
- Lentz, J. (2018). An innovative role for faith community nursing. Journal of Christian Nursing, 35(2), 112-119. https://doi.org/10.1097/cnj.0000000000000478
Weblink : British Sikh Nurses- www.sikhnurses.co.uk