Health care provider and faith diversity

The practice of health care providers at all levels brings you into contact with people of
a variety of faiths. This calls for acceptance of a diversity of faith expressions.
Research three diverse faiths. Choose faiths that are less well-known than mainstream
faiths or are less known to you, such as Sikh, Bahai, Buddhism, Shintoism, Native
American spirituality, etc. Compare the philosophy of providing care from the
perspective of each of these three faiths with that of the Christian perspective and your
own personal perspective.
In 1,250 -1500 words, summarize your findings, and compare and contrast the different
belief systems, reinforcing major themes with insights gained from your research. Some
of the questions to consider when researching the chosen religions are:

  1. What is the spiritual perspective on healing?
  2. What are the critical components of healing, such as prayer, meditation, belief, etc.?
  3. What is important to people of a particular faith when cared for by health care
    providers whose spiritual beliefs differ from their own?
  4. How do patients view health care providers who are able to let go of their own beliefs
    in the interest of the beliefs and practices of the patient? Compare these beliefs to the
    Christian philosophy of faith and healing.
    In your conclusion, describe what you have learned from your research and how this
    learning can be applied to a health care provider practice.

Health care provider and faith diversity

Nurses usually encounter all manner of challenges in their practice in health clinics
and hospitals. All manner of people raging from religion to cultural diversity come daily to
health centers to receive diagnosis and treatment as well. Narrowing down to religion
diversity, nurses ought to equip themselves with knowledge and understanding that
appertains to religion so that they can offer services effectively. The following is a research
on three of them and how it affects nursing professionals.
Buddhism

Buddhism is a religion whose origin is India but religion research has shown that this
religion is growing in the Western worlds, which include Europe and United States of
America (Sullivan et al, 2010), with more than three million followers worldwide. The
founder of Buddhism is believed to have gone for a long journey of clarification and so the
followers also are expected follow suit. Those who follow this religion believes that god
cannot be personalized and that everything in the world not constant (BBC, 2009).

HEALTH CARE PROVIDER AND FAITH DIVERSITY 2

It is believed that Buddha was born in royalty more than 2000 years ago and therefore
enjoyed all manner of pleasure. This was short leaved by his encounter with a person who
was living in poverty and therefore decided to identify with this group. He resulted to solitude
and silence, and in this meditation, he was enlightened (BBC, 2009). It can therefore be
argued that Buddhism is a religion that focuses mainly on self searching and deep intra-
reflections of life and its challenges, and how this can be addressed once and for all.

Suffering in Buddhism

Pain and suffering are fundamental factors in Buddhism that contributed to the
formation of this religion (Dessein, 2011). This is an indication that suffering is a major
doctrine that is widely taught in this religion. As a result, Buddha saw the importance of
addressing this problem of suffering and thus increased followership. Common sense will
therefore dictate that the people who followed Buddha’s footsteps eventually became the
followers of this religion that has been rampant in India. Since suffering is inevitable,
Buddha’s approach was to look for a long lasting solution to end human suffering, diseases
and sicknesses being presumed to be part of these diverse sufferings.

Sikhism

Unlike Buddhism which was founded more than 2000 years ago, Sikhism has been in
existences for a period of 500 years, enjoys a membership of twenty million and above from
all over the world. It is observed that this religion believes in the existence of only one God,
who should be worshipped with the deepest devotion demonstrated in the way of life of the
followers (Chilana, 2005). What is the meaning of the word Sikh? It simply means a follower
or a student of God who strictly follows the instructions of Sri Sikh Gurus (Murphy, 2007).

Beliefs

HEALTH CARE PROVIDER AND FAITH DIVERSITY 3

All Sikhs across the world believe in the deity of one God who is served by all people
of the world irrespective of which religion they come from. Brar (2011) observes that one of
the ways in which Sikhs ought to express their worship to God is through virtuous and
truthful living while avoiding sins and inducement into sin. It is also submitted that Sikhism
preaches the equality message in that people from all races, religion and sex, people are equal
in the eyes of God. In other words, men and women are all equal before God and therefore
this must be respected at all times.

Development of faith in God

The main activity that is much emphasized in this religion is the ability to develop
faith in God and experiencing him as well. They therefore rely on how God has created the
universe to build a stronger relationship with God. This resilience is attained when an
individual is able to meditate about God, living a life of honesty and being involved in
charitable deeds. It is therefore the duty of every Sikh to develop a personal relationship with
God as well as members of Sikh community. It is also the duty of every Sikh to serve people
because of the belief that serving people is equivalent to serving God. This can explain the
devotion and discipline they usually exhibit in their businesses and companies.

Hinduism

Hinduism is considered to be the oldest living religion in the world which takes
pleasure in its 900 million membership or followers. While there are several commonalities
with other related religion like Sikhism, Hinduism differs to some extent because it does not
have a founder, scriptures or a common statement of belief. It is important to note that most
of the Hindus believe in a God who is supreme and can be represented in other forms of
divinity originating from God himself.

Concepts

HEALTH CARE PROVIDER AND FAITH DIVERSITY 4

Hinduism revolves around several concepts of which three will be discussed. The
concept of the eternal self which has various interpretations, but the best suited interpretation
is eternal self as a servant of God. In other words, it inclines more towards spiritual aspect of
a human being than the material being. The other concept deals with the whole duty of a man.
It is argued that this is the reason as to why any society exists and therefore, the need to have
moral values or virtuous society is emphasized in this concept. The main challenge with this
concept is the various interpretations of meaning by different people, while on the other hand,
it provide opportunities for service to humanity as well as to God. The last concept is the
correlation between Brahman and God, where the former refers to magnificent power beyond
the universe or the power that hold up the entire universe (Nicholson, 2007). God on the other
hand is seen as the absolute being that is able to bring into being, keep going and tear down
the universe. One interesting thing about approaching God is that you can approach him in
any way, for instance, as a parent figure, a child, a woman, just to mention a few.
Correlation between Christianity and the three religions

All the three religions discussed above correlates with Christianity in one major area
which is service to one supreme God. However, the means in which this God is worshipped is
totally different. For instance, most Christians will consider prayer and fasting as a serious
discipline to observe in their journey of faith but this is not considered as an act of worship in
Sikhism. In addition, most Christians believe that God cannot be equated with anything in the
world but Hinduism religion allows the followers to relate with God in a way that is pleasing
to them.
Christianity is a religion that revolves around living holy and pleasing lives to God
and also believes in eternity. This concurs with the three above only to the extent of living
holy lives but they do not go beyond life after death. In my personal view, more light has to

HEALTH CARE PROVIDER AND FAITH DIVERSITY 5

be shed in some of the areas that have been highlighted above. The three religions are mum
on what happens after they please their god and what rewards they will attract when they die.
However, this outcome can be influenced by the biasness due to the fact that I am a Christian
by default.

Providing healthcare in diversity of faith

A Buddhist aims at putting to end all human suffering, likewise, Christians believe
that God is able to keep them from suffering through His son Jesus Christ. Considering these
two views, it indicates that spirituality can be related to physical and soul healing. For
instance, Christian’s faith allows people to be prayed for healing and restoration and in most
cases; those who are healed are given an opportunity to testify of what God has done. For
Christians, prayer brings healing. For a Buddhist, soul searching and meditation is what
brings healing. For a Hindu, giving back to the community and involvement in charity work
is what bring about healing.
Therefore in providing health care to people with varying faith, what matters most is
respect for the faith and appreciation that there are things that a person may not do because of
the professed faith. When this is achieved, people with varying faiths will feel secure and
may desire to learn more about other faiths. Jesus exhibited these characters in that he was
able to relate with the rich and the poor and as a result, his ministry was very effective.
Healthcare providers must then adopt such principles in their healthcare provision so that
every individual who comes to the hospital will feel that his religious and faith beliefs are not
violated.

Lesson Learnt

People’s faith must be respected regardless of which religion they come from. Since
their faith is not in a vacuum, it is important to provide services to people, starting point

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being their faith. It is after this respect that a health care provider can evangelize about the
personal faith without compelling the other to shift from one faith to another.

References

BBC. (2009, November 17th). Buddhist at a glance. Retrieved August 2nd, 2013, from BBC

  • Religions: http://www.bbc.co.uk
    Brar, S. (2011). Introduction. Retrieved August 2nd , 2013, from Sikhs.org:
    http://www.sikhs.org/summary.
    Chilana, R. (2005). Sikhism: Building a basic collection on Sikh religion and culture. The
    alert collector , 108-116.
    Dessein, B. (2011). Time, Temporality, and the characteristic marks of the conditioned:
    Sarvastivada and Madhyamaka Buddhist Interpretations. Asian Philosophy , 341-360.
    Murphy, A. (2007). History in the Sikh past. History and Theory , 345-365.

HEALTH CARE PROVIDER AND FAITH DIVERSITY 7

Nicholson, H. (2007). Two apologetic Moments in Sankara’s concept of Brahman. The
Journal of Religion , 528-555.
Sullivan, B. e. (2010). The Buddhist health study: meditation on Love and Compassion as
features of Religious Practice. Crosscurrents , 185-207.

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