Like most professions, the practice of healthcare is highly dynamic. While mankind’s core beliefs and values have not changed fundamentally, the ongoing search for meaning is responsible for the constant yearning for satisfaction. Every time core beliefs are violated, it takes away a vital source of coping ability in the face of adversity and reduces levels of purpose and meaning. Man essentially is a spiritual being; he has a soul and lives in a body. The interconnection between these three components is revealed in the distress felt in the whole person when any aspect suffers. Unfortunately, the physical body, exposed to the gamut of environmental toxins, has been the most vulnerable to diseases. Medicine is God’s gift to enable man to care for and restore the diseased body to homeostasis.
Healthcare has been in the domain of religious institutions from the beginning. While within the control of the church, it was viewed and approached holistically because illness affects the whole person. When science and technology developed through time, however, the spiritual aspect of care for the sick took a back seat, and patients’ spiritual, emotional, and social needs received little or no attention. Interestingly, as revealed in the study, the Western world has had a resurgence of interest in the spiritual conditions of patients undergoing medical care.
From the results of the study, one important and compelling outcome is that a significant 55% of participants claimed no knowledge of professional hospital chaplains and were surprised that pastoral care services had been denied to them due to the absence or non-participation of this vital member of the interdisciplinary healthcare team.
This understanding highlights the need for urgent action to address: 1) The education of Nigerian citizens and especially medical professionals concerning the impact and contribution that professional chaplains bring to healthcare, demonstrated in Western hospitals, 2) A reversal of the deprivation of spiritual care for Nigerian patients whose religious values are a way of life, and 3) A recognition that professional chaplaincy is the bridge between the religious values of patients and medical practitioners in their shared goal of holistic healthcare.
|Advisor:||Flynn, James T.|
|Commitee:||Kennebrew, Gale F.|
|Department:||School of Divinity|
|School Location:||United States -- Virginia|
|Source:||DAI-A 82/7(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Spirituality, Health care management, Religion, Theology, African Studies, Social work, Pathology|
|Keywords:||Holistic healthcare, Meaning and suffering, Professional Chaplaincy, Psychosomatic social care, Religious beliefs, Spiritual values, Nigeria|
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