Health Care Provider and Faith Diversity

Health Care Provider and Faith Diversity

HLT 310

Grand Canyon University

Health Care Provider and Faith Diversity

Abstract

When dealing with health care, in whatever capacity as a doctor, nurse, or care provider the care provided is for patients from many diverse populations. All providers must be properly prepared go not only to care for their medical needs but also their cultural and spiritual/faith needs, as well. Medical personal must at least have a basic knowledge of their patient’s spiritual/faith needs no matter what kind of health care setting they are in. This paper will explore the spiritual/faith needs of those patients who practice either Christianity or the Muslim faith, and how the knowledge of both of these aids in the healing not only of the medical issues of these patients but also having the knowledge of their spiritual practices contributes and aides in the healing or the dying process in health care for patients of these two faiths.

Health Care Provider and Faith Diversity

When it comes to health care, there are many other things to take into account other than just the treatments and billing aspects of medical care. Religious aspects comes into play when treating patients and this is an important topic, mainly because some religions do not allow certain medical help unlike some other religions. It is important to follow their religious beliefs because a patient’s religious beliefs need to be taken very seriously when caring for those types of patients. The topics that are going to be explored in this essay are the Christian faith and the Muslim faith and how their religions play a role and how their religion plays a factor and shapes their view or philosophy on health care and other treatments.

Christianity

Christianity is one of the most well-known and commonly observed religions worldwide. Christianity was born when the founder of Christianity, Jesus, was born and approximately four B.C. Jesus is the son of God, the Creator of the universe. In the beginning there was absolutely nothing and God decided to create the world and the entire universe. Over the span of seven days, God created everything in the world from the heaven to the earth and everything in between and on the final day He saw that His creation was good and He rested. The Christian faith believes in one true God in three persons, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Everything anyone needs to know about Christianity can be found in the Holy Bible. The Bible was written by many different authors, who were inspired by God to record His message of love to humanity. There are four main themes that the Bible explores. The creation of the world, the fall of humanity into sin and separation from God, Gods plan of redemption for humanity and lastly the restoration of humanity when God sends His son Jesus back to earth. The Bible also serves as a guide or manual about how to live your life the way God intends for His people. A large or one of the most important keys to living a life glorifying to God is to follow the Ten Commandments. The first four commandments deal with our relationship with God while the last six have to do with our relationship with His people and His creation. Some examples would be to love God with all your heart and to have no idols and some others would include not stealing, no murdering. Later on in the New Testament of the Bible, the life of Jesus and His teachings are abundant. Jesus often told stories and parables that taught how to live and to spread the love of God to others. The main goal of Jesus time on the earth was to spread the love of God and to ultimately die for the sins of humanity in order to restore the relationship between God and humanity. Through the death of Jesus, everyone has the opportunity to receive the free gift of salvation and to have eternal life in heaven with God after they die.

Spiritual Perspective on Healing

The reason that there is pain and suffering in the world today is due to the fall of humanity when Adam and Eve disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden. Since that day humanity was separated from God and had to endure punishment that included working in order to eat, disease, painful childbirth, and ultimately death. The Christian perspective on healing includes prayer for healing. The Christian God is not a passive God and yearns for a personal relationship with all of His people. Prayer is a way of communicating with God, who is listening every second of every day. Prayers are always answered and are answered one of three ways. God will either say yes, no, or wait. In terms of Christians praying for personal healing or for healing for someone else, God always answers those prayers. It is great when He answers yes and sad when he answers no, but when He answers no, it is because He has something better planned. For believers who do not receive healing and face death actually have a life of eternity in Heaven with God where there is no crying, no pain, and no death.

Along with prayer, it is important for Christian believers to rally around the sick and to encourage them and offer moral support. Jesus Christ in the New Testament of the Bible healed many and offered them comfort and compassion. Following the example of Jesus Christ, some of the greatest preachers of the Bible, Paul and Peter, preached about praying and lifting up the spirits of those who were sick and poor. A promise that Jesus makes in Matthew 11:28 says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

Important to Christian Believers

Maintaining good health and receiving great health care is important to everyone, and there is no difference when it comes to Christians. One of the things that is important for Christians regarding health care is that they are treated with respect and honesty. One of the things that has become popular and legal in many states across the country is the idea of abortion and euthanasia or physician assisted suicide. Christians believe in the sanctity of life and that humans were created in the image of God, therefore making it wrong to have abortions or engage or support the idea of physician assisted suicide. In some situations an abortion might be necessary in order to save the life of the mother and some Christians will choose not to have an abortion. As a health care professional, all the options must be presented to patients, but ultimately it is up to the patient to make a decision for themselves. Regardless of religion these decisions must be respected although that view might not always make sense or seem reasonable.

Islam

The religion of Islam like the Christian faith is one of the largest religions worldwide, especially so in the Middle East. The people who follow the Islamic faith are recognized as Muslims. The Islamic religion started sometime in the 7th century by a man named Muhammad. While Muhammad was meditating in a cave in Mecca he started to receive various visions that were said to be from God. The visions that Muhammad received led him to believe that he was being called to become a teacher and a prophet for God while starting a new religion, Islam. The literal translation of Islam means “submission,” and that is the bases and the structure for the religion. Similar to how Christians use the Bible as their guide and instruction manual on how to live their life, Muslims have the Quran. Over the period of approximately twenty-three years, it is believed that God had the angel Gabriel reveal verbally what the Quran was to contain. Within the Quran the five pillars of Islam is made clear and must be followed. First, there is only one true, universal God, named Allah. Second, all Muslims are required to pray five times a day while facing the holy city of Mecca where the founder of Islam, Muhammad, was from. Third, every single year all Muslims are required to pay a certain tax that is set up to help out the poor community. Fourth, during the season of Ramadan, Muslim are absolutely forbidden to eat, drink, smoke, or have sex from sunrise all the way to sundown. Lastly, every single Muslim who is able is required to make a pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca to visit the Kaaba, which is considered the holiest and most sacred places in the Islamic faith. Like many different religions, people can be very relaxed or very strict and extreme in their Muslim faith. Following the death of Muhammad, there was no successor and it led to controversy within the religion ultimately leading to a split of the religion of Islam. From this struggle for power the religion of Islam was broken up into the Sunnis and the Shiites. One aspect of the Muslim faith that has been very open for interpretation is the idea of jihad. Jihad translates to “struggle” or “holy war.” The religion of Islam is very peaceful, but there are extremists groups within the religion that take jihad serious and wage war against and acts of terrorism against non-believers of Islam (Ahmed, 2016).

Spiritual Perspective on Healing

The spiritual perspective on healing for a Muslim believer is unique and is very involved with their Islamic faith. Muslims believe that overall health and well-being are very important and extremely connected to the condition of a person’s heart. It is believed that illness and disease can be directly related to the fact that a person is having some kind of pain or struggle within their heart. Until a person can change what is in their heart they cannot be healed. This is where prayer and meditation come in, as it is a way to heal the heart and ultimately heal the body. Another popular belief among Muslims is that the mind is connected to soul. When someone has an internal struggle and the mind is unable to express that struggle, it can lead to the body becoming sick. This view is very similar to that of there being a problem with a person’s heart. Along with prayer and meditation, Muslims seek forgiveness for any wrongs they may have done, give more money to charity and to the poor, and make an effort to read more of their holy book, the Quran.

Important to Muslim Believers

There are many things for health care professionals to consider when they are caring for patients of the Muslim faith. First and foremost, Muslims value respect and their own privacy. In order to meet these needs it is important to always knock and to make sure to have arrivals announced. Muslims are very modest people and eye contact should be limited along with no physical contact when interacting or talking with them. In Muslim culture it is required that women dress modestly covering their entire body except for they feet, hands, and face. If possible, health care professionals should provide long gowns in order for the women to undergo examination. If long gowns are unavailable, it is important to allow the women to wear their own garments when undergoing treatment or examination. Lastly, when women are being examined by a male health care physician, the husband must be present. Although, not everyone may agree with the Muslim faith, it is always required that a health care professional treat patients with respect and compassion, regardless of religion (Abu-Raiya, 2015).

Conclusion

In the health care system challenges are faced when patients come in with a different religion or worldview and they clash with a health care professional’s own personal worldview. Christianity and Islam are some of the most practiced religions worldwide and have beliefs on healing and how they should receive health care. Although, they are different from each other they also have unique beliefs that do not make sense to individuals who share a different belief. It is critical that everyone and every patient, regardless of religion, is treated with the upmost respect and care in order to promote healing and well-being.

References

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Ahmed, M. (2016, April). Muslims and Medical Ethics: Time to Move Forward by Going Back. Journal of Religion & Health. pp. 367-368. doi:10.1007/s10943-016-0197-8.

Susan Berke, F., & Lourdes A., R. (2003). Religious Beliefs and Healthcare Necessities: Can They Coexist?. Human Rights, (2), 8.

LaMothe, R. (2013). The Spirits of Capitalism and Christianity and Their Impact on the Formation of Healthcare Leaders. Journal Of Religion & Health52(1), 3-17. doi:10.1007/s10943-012-9631-8

Pereira-Salgado, A., Mader, P., O’callaghan, C., Boyd, L., & Staples, M. (2017). Religious leaders’ perceptions of advance care planning: a secondary analysis of interviews with Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Islamic, Jewish, Sikh and Bahá’í leaders. BMC Palliative Care161-10. doi:10.1186/s12904-017-0239-3