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The healing power of prayer and its implications for nursing

Authors:
  • University of Nottingham/ Higerh Education Academy, UK

Abstract and Figures

Prayer is widely acknowledged in both ancient and modern times as an intervention for alleviating illnesses and promoting good health. There is increasing attention on prayer in health care, in both popular and serious discourse. Advocates exalt the healing power of prayer in health care, while critics are sceptical about this claim and its healing potential is put down to coincidences or its placebo effect. Consequently, a variety of empirical studies have attempted to test its effect scientifically with no conclusive results. There is evidence to suggest that some patients and healthcare practitioners believe in the healing power of prayer. Nurses may be called upon to pray with or for patients as part of holistic care. This article sets out to explore the role of prayer in healing and its implications for nursing. To achieve this aim, this article provides a review of discourses and evidence on the power of prayer in healing. Its implications for nursing are highlighted with some suggestions on how to respond to patients' spiritual needs. It is concluded that, although the evidence on the healing power of spirituality is inconclusive, there are indications that it has potential for the health and wellbeing of both patients and nurses.
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The healing power of prayer and its
implications for nursing
Abstract
Prayer is widely acknowledged in both ancient and modern times as
an intervention for alleviating illnesses and promoting good health.
There is increasing attention on prayer in health care, in both popular
and serious discourse. Advocates exalt the healing power of prayer
in health care, while critics are sceptical about this claim and its
healing potential is put down to coincidences or its placebo effect.
Consequently, a variety of empirical studies have attempted to test
its effect scientifically with no conclusive results. There is evidence to
suggest that some patients and healthcare practitioners believe in the
healing power of prayer. Nurses may be called upon to pray with or
for patients as part of holistic care. This article sets out to explore the
role of prayer in healing and its implications for nursing. To achieve
this aim, this article provides a review of discourses and evidence
on the power of prayer in healing. Its implications for nursing are
highlighted with some suggestions on how to respond to patients’
spiritual needs. It is concluded that, although the evidence on the
healing power of spirituality is inconclusive, there are indications that it
has potential for the health and wellbeing of both patients and nurses.
Key words: Healing n Prayer n Religion n Spiritual care n Spirituality
B
oth popular media and serious discourse on
spirituality and health exalt the healing power of
prayer in health care. While no one can provide
absolute proof that prayer is totally responsible
for healing, some health professionals cite incidents of
recovery that cannot be accounted for by other reasons.
Indeed, there is the claim (AQ1: Whose claim? Pls ref)
that when medicine fails God takes over when one prays.
In the context of emerging interest in the healing power
of prayer, this article aims to explore the role of prayer in
healing and its implication for nursing. To achieve this aim,
the discourse and evidence on the power of prayer and
healing are reviewed.
Aru Narayanasamy, Mani Narayanasamy
If prayer has the power of healing, then it would be logical
to conclude that nurses, as health professionals, could play an
important role by praying with, or for, patients when asked.
In other words, prayer should be part of holistic care; this
usually means care of the body, mind and spirit. Castledine
(1998) highlights the importance of prayer by asking health
professionals to consider ‘how it can find a place in today’s
modern healthcare world’. Castledine advances that prayer can
be a powerful resource to encourage reflection on immortality,
as well as aiding an awareness of wishes and desires.
(AQ2: Pleae give a short, fully referenced, paragraph
on the arguments against prayer in healthcare to
balance the argument. What are the arguments
against? Pls discuss)
The role of prayer in health care
Prayer is widely acknowledged in both ancient and modern
times as an intervention for alleviating illness and promoting
good health (Roberts et al, 2007). All the major religions,
such as Christianity, Judaism, Islam and Hinduism, use prayer
as a means to communicate with a god or deity (Dossey,
1996). Every religion believes in prayer for healing and refers
to it as prayer, while others call it cleansing the mind.
Prayer as an act or practice may vary but in crisis all
religions use it as recourse to their source of authority
(Stein, 2007). In the Christian church, for example, prayers
of intercession are part of the service with the congregation
praying for the health of someone who is sick or hospitalized.
Increasingly, churches are setting up healing ministries
to pray for individuals facing health crises, ranging from
physical ailments to emotional disorders. In Judaism, a prayer
for the sick is a regular feature where individual members of
the synagogue either call out the names of the individuals
who are ill or ask the Rabbi to announce them. Muslims
attending the mosque for worship ask the Imam to say a
special prayer for a person who is ill, with the congregation
affirming the prayer. Hindus pray for good health at the
temple gathering for worship or in shrines at their homes.
Prayer continues to be significant in many people’s lives
and it is estimated that 60% of the population in the UK
resort to prayer, and often in times of crisis (Wright, 2002;
Kelly, 2004). Narayanasamy and Narayanasamy (2006) report
that according to the 2003 Ipsos Market and Opinion
Research International (MORI) poll, 3 in 5 Britons (60%)
believe in God. One in five British people (18%) claimed
to be a practising member of an organized religion, with a
quarter (25%) as non-practising members (MORI, 2003).
A further quarter (24%) are spiritually inclined but do not
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British Journal of Nursing, 2008, Vol 17, No 4
Aru Narayanasamy is Associate Professor, Faculty of Medicine
and Health Sciences, School of Nursing, Queens Medical Centre,
Nottingham; and Mani Narayanasamy is Registered Nurse and
Freelance Author, Chilwell, Nottingham
Accepted for publication: February 2008
Prayer of transaction
In a prayer of transaction the person carries out a personal
dialogue with God; the individual establishes a relationship
with God and pours his/her heart out. The transaction
can range from the simple to the complex. According to
Koenig (1997), a leading medical authority on spirituality
and healing, this kind prayer brings the person closer to
God. Koenig claims that this kind of communication, as
with all relationships, leads to real love with capacity to casts
out fear, diminish worry and reduce stress. Prayer of this
state transforms the person in terms of a new outlook on
problems and situations, with insights into forgiving others
and receiving forgiveness for oneself. In this respect, Koenig
asserts prayer as a powerful medicine.
Prayer of petition
In a prayer of petition the individual makes a personal plea
to God (Gustafson, 1992). The therapeutic value of prayer
as petition is well illustrated in several pieces of literature
(Aldridge, 2000; Narayanasamy, 2006). In this kind of prayer,
the individual simply asks God to intervene and heal. Some
patients claim to derive great benefits from petitionary
prayers in terms of healing, hope, and feeling peaceful and
uplifted (Narayanasamy, 2006).
Prayer of submission
In a prayer of submission the individual submits to God; for
example, Narayanasamy (2006) recounts incidents of prayer
of submission that patients carried out. According to this
study, one patient reflected:
‘In my prayers, I submit everything to God, He
knows that I’m suffering and He will help me to
get through the crisis. He has responded to me,
answered my prayers …’
Intercessory prayer
According to Wakefield (1983), ‘intercession is prayer with, for
and on behalf of another person, group of people or event
have an allegiance to any organized religion, while 14% are
agnostic and 12% are atheist. In the US, even more people
turn to their spirituality as a means of coping, with 95%
believing in God (Gallup, 1990; Kaplan, 1996; Ikedo et al,
2007) (Table 1).
A US study found that 77% of Americans expected that
physicians respond to patients’ spiritual need as part of their
medical care (King and Bushwick, 1994). It is reported in a
qualitative study on spiritual coping mechanisms in chronic
illness, that patients expressed feelings of being connected to
God through prayer (Narayanasamy, 2006).
These findings have clear implications for health care as
patients may require nurses to respond with sensitivity to
their spiritual needs. Jacik (1986) described the nurse’s role as
an ‘inspiriting’ one, providing a sense of identity, worth, hope
and purpose in existence. It is ‘inspiriting’ for both patients
and nurses, as both experience a shared communion of
relationship in which healing and growth takes place. Prayer
can be a powerful spiritual coping mechanism for some
patients because of its properties of healing and comforting,
and can be a source to solace, inner strength, and resolution
to critical junctures in lives (Kelly, 2004).
What is prayer?
The Concise Oxford Dictionary (2007) defines prayer as
‘a solemn request or thanks giving to God or an object of
worship’. Connors (2005) claims that prayer inevitably takes
us into the mystery of God, which has a lasting effect on an
individual. This author alludes that through prayer people
create a relationship with God that opens them to some of
the mystery. The more they pray, the more they access this
power that is beyond any measures.
Writing from a Christian perspective in a book about
prayer in nursing, O’Brien (2003) suggests that during prayer
individuals focus their attention to the development of a
personal relationship with God. In developing the discourse on
prayer, O’Brien cites the ‘beautiful words of Francis De Sales:
‘Prayer is opening out our understanding to God’s
brightness and light, and exposing our will to the
warmth of His love It is a spring of blessings and
its waters quench the thirst of the passions of our
heart, and wash away our imperfections, and make
the plants or our good desires grow green and they
bear flowers (Power, 1993). (AQ3: Page nos?)
Types of prayer
The literature identifies several types of prayer with
theological discourses providing a diverse range of prayers
in Christianity. Other religious discourses also provide
various kinds of prayer, ranging from personal devotions
to corporate worships. O’Brien (2003) devotes a full book
to prayer in nursing, from personal prayers to intercessions,
using passages from the scriptures. This book remains a
useful source for Christian nurses praying for themselves and
others in the context of healing. The main types of prayer
(Table 2) prayers of transaction, petition, submission and
intercession appear to be significant in health and healing
(Narayanasamy, 2006).
spirituality
British Journal of Nursing, 2008, Vol 17, No 4
243
Table 1. American beliefs about prayer
Ninety-five per cent of Americans believe in God
Eighty-two per cent of Americans believe in the healing
powers of personal prayer
Seventy-seven per cent of Americans believe that God can
intervene to cure those with a serious illness
From: Gallup (1990); Kaplan (1996); Ikedo et al (2007)
Table 2. Types of prayer
Prayer of transaction Dialogue/communication with God
Prayer of petition Making personal plea to God
Prayer of submission Submitting to God
Intercession Praying for others
Types of prayer Description
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British Journal of Nursing, 2008, Vol 17, No 4
of the world, which is undertaken by an individual or even
the world’. Research increasingly indicates that healthcare
practitioners and lay people are called on to carry out prayers
of intercessions for others facing ill health. Church healing
ministries and other faith groups are actively engaged in this
type of prayer for the sick and the spiritually distressed with
testimonies of healing and recovery (Koenig, 1997).
Heron (1986) asserts that when intercession is considered,
the prayer should not only focus on the healing of the body but
on the healing of the spirit and mind as well. The spirit, mind
and body are interrelated (McSherry, 2001; Narayanasamy,
2006). Heron (1986) suggests that healing through prayer is
gradual and perseverance is required to achieve desired results.
This author (AQ4: Who, Heron?) observes that sometimes
sick people are not healed, only partially healed, because prayer
was insufficient or ceased prematurely (AQ5: How can you
observe that prayer is insufficient? What evidence?).
Narayanasamy (2006) attributes the miraculous recovery of a
patient from the brink of death in the UK due to intercessory
prayer carried out by relatives and friends in Australia (AQ6:
Why do you attribute this recovery to prayer? What
evidence do you have that prayer had anything to
do with this recovery?). Intercessory prayer can transcend
space and time and has no bounds (Dossey, 1993; Maier-
Lorntz, 2004). Woolmer (1997) asserts that persistent prayers
eventually get answered.
Prayer and its effects on healing
According to Koenig (1997) prayer in terms of personal
worship and devotion allow the body to heal naturally (see
Table 3).
Prayer appears to trigger mechanisms for counteracting
stress and promoting positive emotions by releasing the bodys
natural capacity for healing (AQ7: Says who? Pls ref). It
seems to activate the immune, hormonal, and cardiovascular
systems to heal disease, illness or injury. Scientific experiments
are being conducted to gain insights into these mind-body
mechanisms that are activated by prayer (AQ8: Where has
this come from? What evidence is there? Pls ref in
full). There has been a proliferation of research since the
late 20th century to the millennium charting the negative
effects of depression, psychological stress, and social isolation
on immune function, coronary artery disease, cancer survival,
and other disease outcomes (Keonig, 1997) (AQ9: You say
there has been ‘proliferation’ of research yet only give
one ref. Pls provide a couple more). Benson and Stark
(1996) claim that prayer evokes physiological responses such as
decreased heart rate, decreased blood pressure, and decreased
episodes of angina in cardiology patients. According to
Meisenhelder and Chandler (2000), prayer may induce stress-
reducing effects, such as decreased blood pressure or an increase
in the immune function. Koenig and Larson (1998) confirm
that there is an association between religious involvement and
fewer hospitalizations and shorter hospital stays.
In light of a positive link between religious activities, such
as prayer, and health benefit, experts (AQ11: Which experts?
Pls ref in full) in spirituality and health assert that people
of faith rely on prayer to make the supernatural possible.
However, research evidence is inconclusive on the healing
effects of prayer. The mysterious nature of prayer remains
elusive to the bounds of scientific experiments. However,
healing is more than cure, as sometimes healing of the mind
and spirit could happen without physical healing. Some of
the evidence on the healing effects of prayer is explored in
the next section.
Evidence on the healing power of prayer
Scholars have written extensively about the therapeutic value
of prayer (Gustafson, 1992; Benson and Stark, 1996; Koenig
1997; Aldridge, 2000). Emerging research evidence suggests
that prayer can be powerful medicine of healing (Dossey, 1993
(AQ12: This ref is not emerging evidence, it is 15 years
old. Pls provide more up-to-date ref to support this
suggestion)). It is estimated that 1200 studies examining the
relationship between religious activity (e.g. prayer) and health
indicate that more than half of such studies show a significant
positive connection.
Gustafson (1992) illustrates the petitionary and supplication
nature of prayers, and more recently Aldridge (2000) highlighted
the therapeutic values of meditative, intercessory and liturgical
prayers. According to Aldridge (2000), the search for evidence
in support of prayer may prove difficult. However, in general
evidence shows that those who prayed, or were prayed
for, felt uplifted and hopeful, and derived special strength
(Narayanasamy, 2006). The healing effects of intercessory
prayers, are well documented (Byrd, 1988; Dossey, 1999).
Byrd’s (1988) study is commonly cited in a variety of
discourses on the healing power of prayer. In this double-
blind study, a prayer group was instructed to pray for the
experimental group with coronary health disease patients,
while others in control group were not prayed for. At the
end of the study, the group that was prayed for derived huge
benefits. This group of patients required 20% less antibiotics
than the unremembered group. They were two and a half
times less likely to suffer congestive heart failure and the same
group of patients were less likely to suffer cardiac arrest and
left the hospital earlier. Harris et al (1997) found that faith
appears to be an important factor for stress reduction and
subsequently reducing cardiac morbidity. In another study,
Saudia et al (1991) found that 96% of patients pray to deal
with the stress of cardiac surgery, with 97% reporting that
prayer was helpful in their coping.
Harold Koenig conducted several studies on the effects of
spirituality on healing. In the US study of older adults at Duke
University, Koenig (1997) found that those who attended
Table 3. Prayer and its effects on healing
Prayer allows the body to heal
Prayer triggers mechanisms for counteracting stress and
promotes positive emotions
It activates the immune, hormonal and cardiovascular
systems to conducive to healing
Prayer evokes physiological responses such as decreased
heart rate, decreased blood pressure
Prayer is good for overall wellbeing
(AQ10:What evidence is there for any of this??? Pls ref)
British Journal of Nursing, 2008, Vol 17, No 4
245
spirituality
religious services were less likely to have undesirably high levels
of interleukin-6, a protein involved in immune response and
inflammatory factors, signifying a healthier immune system,
than non-attenders. In a further study involving 4000 adults,
Koenig and Larson (1998) found that those who prayed
daily and attended religious services weekly had 40% less
hypertension than those who did not pray or attended service.
In a study of 157 hospitalized adults with moderate to high
levels of pain, prayer as an adjunct to pain medications was
reported by 76% as the most common self-reported means of
controlling pain (Koenig and Larson, 1998).
Although there is evidence to suggest that prayer produces
positive effects on patients, Swinton (2000) points out that
the research on the healing power of prayer is inconclusive
and he calls for extensive empirical investigations in this area
of spirituality. Critics of prayer research point out that positive
evaluations of the effects of prayer may be subjective, open to bias,
and therefore questionable scientifically in validity of findings.
For example, although Harriss (1997) study of intercessory
prayer found that prayer benefited patients, the length of stay
and time spent in the cardiac unit were not different between
patients receiving prayer and those who did not. Harriss study
did not inform participants that they were receiving prayers
and this could be perceived as unethical because peoples right
to information has been compromised. However, Koenig
(1997) is dismissive of such criticisms, maintainings that Harris
conducted a well-designed study and the difference in the
outcomes of the two groups was small. Harris’s study offers the
lead for other studies of prayer and healing.
A recent systematic review on intercessory prayer for the
alleviation of ill health casts doubts about the effectiveness
of prayer (Roberts et al, 2007). This study included 10
randomized controlled trials (RCTs) out of several that
fulfilled the inclusion criteria for systematic reviews. The
findings of this study suggest that the result of the prayer
studies included in the review should not be interpreted with
confidence. The only study that showed prayer as effective
is for women hoping for successful in vitro fertilization
treatment (AQ13: Pls provide ref for this study). The
study found that most of the data are equivocal and calls
for further research into prayer and its healing potentials.
Overall, one needs to treat the findings of this systematic
review with caution as it included only a small number of
studies on intercessory prayers. The systematic review omitted
qualitative and other related studies, especially other types of
prayers with convincing results on the power of prayer.
The monitoring and actualization of noetic trainings
(Mantra) II investigation, based on an extensive, well controlled,
multi-site study on prayer and healing, showed no significant
effect on outcome in 748 heart patients (Krucoff et al, 2005).
The study calls for caution when prayer is being used for healing.
However, there was a methodological problem in that multiple
interventions were used in one arm of this 2 randomized
study so the effects of touch therapy, for instance, could not be
controlled from those of music and imagery. However, there
was no clinically significant effect of these interventions either.
The other criticism was based on the grounds that this study
was trying to investigate immeasurable phenomena such as
prayer and healing involving a higher power (Maier-Lorentz,
2004). In other words, it is difficult to study the work of God or
faith because these entities are inconsistent with the scientific
paradigm by definition.
While the controversies over the healing power of prayer
in light of contradictory findings continue, in general most
studies indicate that the devout tend to be healthier. However,
the reasons for this are not always clear since healthy
people are more likely to visit places of worship and lead
healthier lifestyles. Churches, synagogues, mosques, temples
and ashrams may provide incentives for people to take better
care of themselves. In the main, prayer, worship, meditation or
the comfort of being prayed for, evokes bodily responses that
tend to lower blood pressure, reduce stress hormones, slow
the heart rate and induces potentially beneficial effects.
Implications for nursing and healthcare
practice
Although the evidence is so far inconclusive, it is also indicative
that there is a close association between prayer and healing.
Prayer evokes the body-mind responses that promote healing
in the broader sense. Apart from physical healing, prayer
appears to promote the healing of emotions, inner feelings
and relationships that may be more profound than physical
healing. Koenig (1997) encourages healthcare practitioners
to be involved in prayer for healing. Spiritual history or
assessment of patients with acute and chronic illnesses should
be part of the care interventions. It is paramount that health
professionals ascertain what role a patient’s faith and prayer
plays in helping them to cope (or hindering it). It should be
part of the routine that if spiritual needs are identified, there
should be referral to the staff of the Department of Spiritual
and Pastoral Care (Table 4).
Should nurses and health professionals pray
for or with patients?
This is a difficult question that the author (AN) is frequently
asked when running spiritual care sessions for healthcare
practitioners. It is controversial in that nurses and health
professionals should not be forced into taking this role;
however, requests for spiritual care and prayer should not be
ignored either. If nurses are willing to pray, they should be
encouraged and supported by their colleagues. In spite of some
scientific scepticism over the results from studies measuring
the effects of prayer on health and healing, it appears that
some doctors and nurses include this aspect routinely in their
practice (Maier-Lorentz, 2004).
Table 4. Prayer and its implications
for nurses
Spiritual history/assessment should be part of holistic care
interventions
Prayer should not be forced on patients or staff forced to
pray for patients
Prayer should be part of nursing care if spiritual needs are
identified
If nurses are willing to pray they should be encouraged if
patients need it
More research is needed on the care implications of prayer
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British Journal of Nursing, 2008, Vol 17, No 4
According to Koenig (1997) a brief episode of prayer
between the health professional and patient can be a great
comfort to the patient with the prospect of an improved
carer-patient relationship and the possibility of better health
outcomes in terms of healing. However, unsolicited prayer
by health professionals should be avoided as it is not only
unethical, but may evoke uncomfortable feelings with the
likelihood of adding to patients’ stress and damaging the carer-
patient relationship. In this regard, prayer should not be forced
on patients or replace nursing care (Castledine, 1998).
Prayer should not be undertaken without prior spiritual
history or assessment of patients spiritual needs. If patients
are religious and pray, then there is no reason why health
professionals cannot pray with them following consent.
Although there is a paucity of research into praying in
nursing, one unpublished study (University of Nottingham,
2007) suggests that out of 106 student nurse participants in
a study on prayer, 48% stated that they would pray with or
for patients, if requested. A further 53% indicated that they
regularly prayed. This is encouraging because student nurses,
as potential professionals, not only pray for themselves but
are prepared to pray for or with patients. Further research
is required to explore whether health professionals promote
prayer as an adjunct to conventional medical treatment and
care. In the caring world, prayer can be resourceful to enable
reflection on ‘our responsibilities, relationships and purpose’
(Casteldine, 1998). There is huge potential for spiritual growth
and development through prayer.
Conclusion
In this article a discourse on the healing power of prayer was
developed in light of emerging evidence. The evidence from
a variety of empirical studies remains inconclusive due to the
lack of appropriate measures to investigate the mysterious
nature of prayer. However, there is evidence to suggest that
prayer helps some people with beneficial health effects. The
implications of prayer in nursing and health care were
explored, with an outline of intervention strategies if patients
request prayer as a spiritual need. It is encouraging (AQ14:
Is this in the authors’ opinion that it is encouraging?)
that in one study student nurses as potential professionals are
willing to pray with or for patients. Although the findings of
prayer studies are indicative rather than conclusive, there is
scope for further research to explore whether various forms
of prayer as a spiritual activity may complement health care
and treatment as a source of comfort and support. Clearly,
there is scope for further research into the implications of
prayer in nursing practice.
BJN
AQ15: perhaps it would be worthh writing a ‘disclaimer’
to reiterate that nurses should only talk to patients
about prayer if they ask, otherwise it is unethical and
could be misconstrued. Also, something to remind
readers that BJN is not a ‘religious’ magazine, nor has
leadings towards any faith in particular, and that the
article merely reviews the evidece on the topic, rather
than advocates it as a means of nursing practice on
the whole?
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KEY POINTS
n There is an increasing interest in the healing power
of prayer in health care.
n There are claims and counter claims about its healing
potentials with inconclusive research evidence.
n Some patients and nurses believe in the healing power
of prayer and expect prayer to be part of holistic care.
n Nurses need be cognisant of patients’ need for prayer
as part of holistic care.
... The process of including such practices as part of a nurse's job description, however, faces at least two challenges: (a) the ever-increasing time and patient-care demands of the profession make it challenging for nurses to take time for what some describe as unrelated or extracurricular activities; (b) there seems to be a bias within the profession against the use of contemplative practices to enhance health and wellbeing (cf. Narayanasamy & Narayanasamy, 2008). This notwithstanding, a rapidly growing body of evidence indicates that practices like mindful body scanning, prayer, and meditative walking constitute beneficial forms of nonpharmacological intervention which can contribute to physical, psychological, social, and existential self-care (Irving et al., 2009;Lubinska-Welch et al., 2015;Narayanasamy & Narayanasamy, 2008;Puchalski & Guenther, 2012;White, 2013). ...
... Narayanasamy & Narayanasamy, 2008). This notwithstanding, a rapidly growing body of evidence indicates that practices like mindful body scanning, prayer, and meditative walking constitute beneficial forms of nonpharmacological intervention which can contribute to physical, psychological, social, and existential self-care (Irving et al., 2009;Lubinska-Welch et al., 2015;Narayanasamy & Narayanasamy, 2008;Puchalski & Guenther, 2012;White, 2013). Although Asian holistic healthcare practices such as acupuncture, Ayurveda, and Tai Chi have gained much Western acceptance and attracted further research, Dean (2001) points out that most Western professionals still view Asian healthcare management and Western healthcare management as two distinct disciplines, with hardly anyone proposing an integrated Asian-Western approach to healthcare. ...
... For those that are religiously (or spiritually) inclined, prayer has served as a primary means of experiencing consolation, healing, and hope (cf. Narayanasamy & Narayanasamy, 2008). Prayer, moreover, has been acknowledged in both ancient and modern times for its contribution to the alleviation of illness and the promotion of good health (Chandramohan & Bhagwan, 2019). ...
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Among all the groups and occupations that have been affected by the global pandemic, nursing professionals stand out as having been particularly hard-pressed due to the dramatic increase in the need for their services. Given the rising tide of coronavirus disease 2019 patients who require specialized medical treatment as well as the millions of others that are lining up for vaccinations, it can be assumed that many nursing professionals have had to endure such things as longer working hours, tighter schedules, and the intensity of a work environment in which failure of care and multiple deaths are the daily fare. This article proposes that nurses can avoid such severe consequences by taking up a regime of enhanced self-care management that enables them to achieve psychophysical balance and wellness. Three practices are highlighted in this regard: prayer, meditative walking, and the mindfulness practice of body scanning. Our suggestion is that these coping strategies will be both beneficial and healthful for nursing professionals in terms of enhancing their spiritual/existential resilience and meeting their own need for consolation as they navigate in an extremely difficult and demanding work environment.
... He later evaluated its usefulness as a transcultural practice framework (2002) and the nurses' response to cultural needs, as well as their need for further education in the UK context (2003). Since then, Narayanasamy's research has focused on a variety of topics, but mostly with a focus on transcultural aspects and spiritual care in the mental health setting, as well as innovation in education, to cite a few (Narayanasamy, 2004;Narayanasamy et al., 2004;Narayanasamy, 2006;Narayanasamy & Narayanasamy, 2006;Narayanasamy & Narayanasamy, 2008;Narayanasamy et al., 2010;Nixon & Narayanasamy, 2010;Narayanasamy, 2014). ...
... He later evaluated its usefulness as a transcultural practice framework (2002) and the nurses' response to cultural needs, as well as their need for further education in the UK context (2003). Since then, Narayanasamy's research has focused on a variety of topics, but mostly with a focus on transcultural aspects and spiritual care in the mental health setting, as well as innovation in education, to cite a few (Narayanasamy, 2004;Narayanasamy et al., 2004;Narayanasamy, 2006;Narayanasamy & Narayanasamy, 2006;Narayanasamy & Narayanasamy, 2008;Narayanasamy et al., 2010;Nixon & Narayanasamy, 2010;Narayanasamy, 2014). ...
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Culturally sensitive care is an important component of professional and patient-centred care. Therefore, efforts must be made to improve nurses’ cultural competences, as this is the only way they can provide quality care to patients. In this process, they need to reflect on how their relationships are influenced by their own culture as well as the culture, values, and beliefs of their patients. At the same time, they also need to understand how patients’ bio-psycho-social needs and cultural backgrounds relate to their healthcare needs. In delivering culturally competent nursing care, nurses need to be aware of the fact that cultural beliefs, values, and nursing practice have a strong influence on how individuals perceive health and illness and how they believe health problems should be managed. Nurses need to be aware of the fact that health and well- being are culturally defined concepts and that patients can only achieve a sense of health and well-being when their cultural needs have been addressed.
... He later evaluated its usefulness as a transcultural practice framework (2002) and the nurses' response to cultural needs, as well as their need for further education in the UK context (2003). Since then, Narayanasamy's research has focused on a variety of topics, but mostly with a focus on transcultural aspects and spiritual care in the mental health setting, as well as innovation in education, to cite a few (Narayanasamy, 2004;Narayanasamy et al., 2004;Narayanasamy, 2006;Narayanasamy & Narayanasamy, 2006;Narayanasamy & Narayanasamy, 2008;Narayanasamy et al., 2010;Nixon & Narayanasamy, 2010;Narayanasamy, 2014). ...
... He later evaluated its usefulness as a transcultural practice framework (2002) and the nurses' response to cultural needs, as well as their need for further education in the UK context (2003). Since then, Narayanasamy's research has focused on a variety of topics, but mostly with a focus on transcultural aspects and spiritual care in the mental health setting, as well as innovation in education, to cite a few (Narayanasamy, 2004;Narayanasamy et al., 2004;Narayanasamy, 2006;Narayanasamy & Narayanasamy, 2006;Narayanasamy & Narayanasamy, 2008;Narayanasamy et al., 2010;Nixon & Narayanasamy, 2010;Narayanasamy, 2014). ...
... He later evaluated its usefulness as a transcultural practice framework (2002) and the nurses' response to cultural needs, as well as their need for further education in the UK context (2003). Since then, Narayanasamy's research has focused on a variety of topics, but mostly with a focus on transcultural aspects and spiritual care in the mental health setting, as well as innovation in education, to cite a few (Narayanasamy, 2004;Narayanasamy et al., 2004;Narayanasamy, 2006;Narayanasamy & Narayanasamy, 2006;Narayanasamy & Narayanasamy, 2008;Narayanasamy et al., 2010;Nixon & Narayanasamy, 2010;Narayanasamy, 2014). ...
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The chapter explores the definitions of globalisation, global health, and challenges associated with securing health in today's world. It describes the concept of global nursing and the migration of people and the impact it has on their health. https://kurumsal.ankaranobel.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/TRANSCULTURAL-NURSING-book.pdf
... He later evaluated its usefulness as a transcultural practice framework (2002) and the nurses' response to cultural needs, as well as their need for further education in the UK context (2003). Since then, Narayanasamy's research has focused on a variety of topics, but mostly with a focus on transcultural aspects and spiritual care in the mental health setting, as well as innovation in education, to cite a few (Narayanasamy, 2004;Narayanasamy et al., 2004;Narayanasamy, 2006;Narayanasamy & Narayanasamy, 2006;Narayanasamy & Narayanasamy, 2008;Narayanasamy et al., 2010;Nixon & Narayanasamy, 2010;Narayanasamy, 2014). ...
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FOREWORD Natural disasters, wars, unemployment, the desire for a better life, travel, health tourism, education opportunities, and political asylum have all contributed to rapid geographic mobility in the globalized globe. As a consequence of this movement, individuals bring aspects of their own culture to the locations they visit, forming multicultural societies as a result of their interactions with the locals. Increased population movement has necessitated the health care requirements of individuals of varied cultural and ethnic origins, and the notions of cultural care, cultural compe-tency, and now cultural safety have gained importance within the health-care system and nursing education. In this context, in 2019, we began working on the BENEFITS-Better and Effective Nursing Education for Improving Transcultural Nursing Skills project with nurse researchers from Belgium, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Hungary, and Turkey. We developed a curriculum as part of the project to help nursing students receive a better intercultural nursing education. We have also developed an assessment tool to evaluate the effectiveness of this curriculum. We implemented this curriculum as an intensive training program with 25 nursing students from 6 countries and evaluated the results. We also started to implement this curriculum as a one-semester course in two universities in Turkey. In this process, we worked intensively, got very tired, sometimes we came to a consensus, sometimes we discussed for long hours. This books tries to summarize key information for students with an interest in Transcultural Nursing and how to improve their skills on a much needed field of our discipline. Of course, new information will continue to be added to the literature. There is much more to learn or talk about in transcultural nursing. We hope that this book will contribute to the nursing literature and support nursing students in their learning. We would like to thank all our project partners who contributed to the writing of this book, as well as our authors. We would like to thank our dear students for the beautiful experiences they had in this project and for immortalizing this experience with the narrative photographs they took in the last part of the book. We would like to thank our colleagues Angela Kyyd, Canan Öztürk, Sara Nissim and Alfonso Pezzella for lending their time to provide critical feedback on this book. You can see the comments of our valued reviewers in the last part of the book. Finally, this book, which is one of the primary outputs of the project, can be downloaded and used free of charge by all nursing students, teachers, graduate students and of course nurses and other healthcare professionals.
... Prayer is an important spiritual practice that may provide beneficial effects such as emotional healing, reassurance, and hope [27]. Spirituality may improve one's ability to cope with stressors associated with incurable, chronic, and disabling diseases [28]. ...
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Background This study aimed to investigate the prevalence of and the factors associated with the regular use of complementary therapies for Taiwanese patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Methods In this cross-sectional study, 351 patients with SLE were consecutively recruited from a regional hospital in southern Taiwan from April to August 2019. Demographic and clinical information, including the use of different types of complementary therapies, was ascertained using a self-constructed questionnaire. Disease-specific quality of life was measured using the Lupus Quality of Life (LupusQoL) questionnaire. SLE disease activity was assessed using the rheumatologist-scored Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Disease Activity Index 2000 (SLEDAI-2 K). Factors associated with the regular use of complementary therapies were evaluated using multiple logistic regression analyses. Results Of the 351 patients with SLE, 90.3% were female, and 60.1% were ≥ 40 years of age. The prevalence of the regular use of any type of complementary therapy was 85.5%. The five most popular types of complementary therapy used were (1) fitness walking or strolling, (2) Buddhist prayer or attending temple, (3) vitamin consumption, (4) calcium supplementation, and (5) fish oil supplementation. Multiple logistic regression analyses revealed that the significant and independent factors associated with the regular use of complementary therapies in patients with SLE were age ≥ 40 years (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] 2.76, p = 0.013), nonoverweight or nonobesity (aOR 0.29, p = 0.004), engagement in vigorous exercise in the past year (aOR 4.62, p = 0.002), a lower SLEDAI-2 K score (aOR 0.90, p = 0.029), and a lower score in the physical health domain of the LupusQoL (aOR 0.57, p = 0.001). Conclusions A high prevalence of complementary therapy use in Taiwanese patients with SLE was observed. Rheumatologists should routinely ask patients about their use of supplements to minimize the risk of interaction with medical therapy.
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I write this article as a postgraduate researcher undertaking a doctorate in Education, with an interest in research as a transformative process, and fascinated by the debate as to whether reality is objective or subjective. In reflecting on this, I recalled a significant incident that occurred when I was Professional Education Lead in an NHS hospital. I had been asked to work with a nurse, who had been disciplined as a consequence of talking about her Christian faith with a patient. The nurse was assuming that, in sharing experiences that were transformative for her, she might also transform the patient’s perception of her own illness and its meaning. As a Christian myself, I was caught in a situation where I could understand the conflicting perspectives of all key players, including the patient, her family, the nurse, and the NHS managers. I explore how I mediated my way through this situation, aiming to do justice to all perspectives, and the ethical dilemmas I faced when having to choose between personal and professional values. As a consequence of this incident, I have learned that, not only is transformation a deeply personal experience, but because it is either influenced by, or leads to, a specific world view, it supports the idea of reality being subjective rather than objective.
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The author of this timely study, who comes from a background in psychiatric nursing and hospital chaplaincy, is currently a lecturer in practical theology at Aberdeen. His achievement is to have written a practical and, in part, evidence-based study of the spiritual aspects of psychiatric practice,
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Spirituality as a coping mechanism can be observed to be a powerful resource in the provision of comfort, peace, and resolution for patients confronted with critical illness. While the exact machinery of spirituality in adaptation and adjustment to illness is enigmatic, the complementary benefits are clearly illustrated in the analysis of recounted personal experiences. Analysis of interactions with patients living the experience of coping with critical illness provides nurses with a means of reflection and transformational learning which improves and preserves the spiritual heritage of nursing care.
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During general anesthesia the possibility of subconscious perception of intraoperative events is a controversial subject. Some studies found that positive verbal suggestions, or music improved intraoperative relaxation and postoperative recovery. The aim of the current study was to evaluate the effect of prayer and relaxation technique applied while patients are under general anesthesia for open-heart surgery. A randomized, controlled, double-blind trial study included 78 patients who underwent cardiac surgery. During the surgery the patients used a headphone connected to a CD player. They were randomly divided into three groups. One group listened to prayer during the surgery, the other listened to relaxation technique and one, placebo. There was only one significant finding: the prayer group is less likely to believe that prayer would assist conventional medical treatments. Although not statistically significant, we discussed the length of stay (LOS) after surgery and the incidence of sternal wound infection.
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The therapeutic effects of intercessory prayer (IP) to the Judeo-Christian God, one of the oldest forms of therapy, has had little attention in the medical literature. To evaluate the effects of IP in a coronary care unit (CCU) population, a prospective randomized double-blind protocol was followed. Over ten months, 393 patients admitted to the CCU were randomized, after signing informed consent, to an intercessory prayer group (192 patients) or to a control group (201 patients). While hospitalized, the first group received IP by participating Christians praying outside the hospital; the control group did not. At entry, chi-square and stepwise logistic analysis revealed no statistical difference between the groups. After entry, all patients had follow-up for the remainder of the admission. The IP group subsequently had a significantly lower severity score based on the hospital course after entry (P less than .01). Multivariant analysis separated the groups on the basis of the outcome variables (P less than .0001). The control patients required ventilatory assistance, antibiotics, and diuretics more frequently than patients in the IP group. These data suggest that intercessory prayer to the Judeo-Christian God has a beneficial therapeutic effect in patients admitted to a CCU.
Article
Physicians rarely question patients about their religious beliefs. This lack of inquiry may be contrary to patients' wishes and detrimental to patient care. This study examines whether patients want physicians to discuss religious beliefs with them. Two hundred three family practice adult inpatients at two hospitals were interviewed regarding their views on the relationship between religion and health. Many patients expressed positive attitudes toward physician involvement in spiritual issues. Seventy-seven percent said physicians should consider patients' spiritual needs, 37% wanted their physicians to discuss religious beliefs with them more frequently, and 48% wanted their physicians to pray with them. However, 68% said their physician had never discussed religious beliefs with them. This study supports the hypothesis that although many patients desire more frequent and more in-depth discussions about religious issues with their physicians, physicians generally do not discuss these issues with their patients.
Article
We examined the relationship between religious attendance, religious affiliation, and use of acute hospital services by older medical patients. Religious affiliation (n = 542) and church attendance (n = 455) were examined in a consecutive sample of medical patients aged 60 or older admitted to Duke University Medical Center. Information on use of acute hospital services during the year before admission and length of the current hospital stay was collected. Frequency of church attendance and religious affiliation were examined as predictors of hospital service use, controlling for age, sex, race, education, social support, depressive symptoms, physical functioning, and severity of medical illness as covariates using logistic regression. Patients who attended church weekly or more often were significantly less likely in the previous year to have been admitted to the hospital, had fewer hospital admissions, and spent fewer days in the hospital than those attending less often; these associations retained their significance after controlling for covariates. Patients unaffiliated with a religious community, while not using more acute hospital services in the year before admission, had significantly longer index hospital stays than those affiliated. Unaffiliated patients spent an average of 25 days in the hospital, compared with 11 days for affiliated patients; this association strengthened when physical health and other covariates were controlled. Participation in and affiliation with a religious community is associated with lower use of hospital services by medically ill older adults, a population of high users of health care services. Possible reasons for this association and its implications are discussed.
Article
Of all the qualities a nurse should possess, perhaps the most important is compassion, particularly when nursing the critically ill and dying. It is not easy to define compassion. Sogyal Rinpoche (1992), a Tibetan monk, sums up what I personally feel is meant by compassion: ‘It is not simply a sense of sympathy or caring for the person suffering, not simply a warmth of heart toward the person before you, or a sharp clarity of recognition of their needs and pain, it is also a sustained and practical determination to do whatever is possible and necessary to help alleviate their suffering.’
This study adds to the existing research on religion and health by focusing on the specific practice of prayer and its relationship to health outcomes. The purpose of this survey is to examine the relationship of frequency of prayer to 8 categories of physical and mental health. The Presbyterian Church, USA, performed data collection as part of an ongoing research program. Members of the Presbyterian Church were randomly selected from the national population and surveyed by mail on their frequency of prayer and their health status, as measured by the Medical Outcomes Study Short-form 36 Health Survey. Self-reports of health indicated a high level of functioning overall for all 8 categories of physical and mental health. People who prayed more often scored lower in their physical functioning and their ability to carry out role activities, and higher in their reports of physical pain. However, people who prayed more often also had significantly higher mental health scores than did those who prayed less frequently, despite their physical health problems. This study supports the relationship of a high frequency of prayer with a more positive mental health. Various explanations of the results are explored.