Spirituality and Cultural Assessment
On a broader perspective, spirituality is the urge of finding meaning to puzzles in the universe. It is also the need of individuals to have connections and relations with the higher power, as it is a key component in their quest for holiness. Spirituality gives life meaning and it enables people to understand the different occurrences taking place in their lives. Religions are normally the main tools through which individuals often express their spirituality. The most important aspect of spirituality is that it keeps people hoping at all times. With the knowledge about spirituality, it is important for nurses to understand what spirituality entails and how it affects their relations with patients. Spirituality affects a patient’s thoughts and feelings towards the medical situation affecting him or her at that particular moment.
Interacting with patients makes it easy for an individual to clearly understand the relation between spirituality and nursing. In my recent interview with a patient, I was able to learn several things about culture and spirituality. M.B. are the initials of my patient’s name who was a male aged 25 years. His responses helped me a lot in understanding the relation that exists between spirituality and health care provision. His parents were both born in Mexico then relocated to New York, where he was born. The patient also has two sisters and a brother who, he says, is not close enough to him. He claims that his brother hates him for bringing misery to his mother. His sisters, however, do not feel angry towards him, but say that they will not come close to him due to the fear that he might hurt them. M.B. has two kids and maintains a close relationship with them. Although, their mother would not allow children to go anywhere close to him in his condition.
M.B. was a drug user confined at Victory Outreach Recovery Home due to his drug abuse problems. His drug problems have deteriorated even further, as he is having delusional thoughts about killing himself. The problems with drugs started at a very young age, and prevented him from reaching more than 9 grades at school. Seeing that the drug use was becoming too much, his parents kicked him out of the house and M.B. started living in the streets, where he has been living ever since. The frequency of drug use increased when he went to his new home, the streets. The patient’s relationship with his mother, however, is not totally ruined as he calls her every day, even though she kicked him out of their home.
M.B’s parents used to be staunch Christians and it is through them that M.B. became baptized and took his first communion. Although his parents were staunch Christians when he was growing up, it is five months now after he fully embraced religion in his own life. His love and commitment to his newfound love, that is religion, is evident as I could spot him several times holding a rosary during the day. M.B. suggested that he felt very calm and full of hope when he read a verse from the Bible. According to him, the Bible teachings will be very helpful in the future, as he intends to start a new life once he gets out of the recovery home. A new life will make him close to his two children, as it is something he has always wanted to do. Praying is the tool, which M.B. thought was vital for his recovering and getting out of the place. He felt that he had to be close to God, as his grace would work better than the medication and therapy sessions put through at Victory Outreach Recovery Home. For God to answer a person’s prayers, he or she should be in good terms with Him, and it is through this reason that M.B. regularly prays. In his prayers, he would ask for God’s forgiveness for all his sins and plead Him to heal him so that he may start a new life. One thing the patient liked about the place was that it facilitated Yoga, something which he says made him relax and not to worry too much. With all this information, it is fair to say that the patient was willing to discuss his spirituality.
M.B’s culture was diverse due to the fact that he was born in America in a family of parents who originally came from Mexico. During our discussions, he stated that his family used to observe special occasions such as birthdays, Christmas and Thanksgiving. The family used to slaughter a goat during special occasions, something which made him wish that they come every day of the year. M.B. does not like hospitals and their medicines reflecting his early age as his mother gave him folk medicine from a native Mexican medicine man. Although they were living in the United States, his parents taught their children Spanish, as they wanted them to keep their identity. The information that his mother used to visit a Mexican medicine man is a proof that the patient was willing to discuss his culture.
There was so much to learn about M.B’s spirituality, as he was open and straightforward when talking about it. One verbal message he gave relating to his spirituality was the importance of prayers to his recovery. He stated that praying was the tool, which he thought was vital for his recovering and getting out of the recovery home. He felt that he had to be close to God as, his grace would work better than the medication and therapy sessions put through at Victory Outreach Recovery Home. He also believes that following the teachings of Jesus will make him live by God’s commandments. He fasts twice a week in order to be close to God. He believes that fasting is the most appropriate sacrifice that will bring him closer to God. The Bible helps him know more about God, the things that He can do for those who believe and follow His commandments. According to him, one verse in the Bible is enough to make him recover hope while being in despair.
A non-verbal message can be traced in his conversation in the part where he discusses how his relationship with his family and kids has deteriorated. The need to have good relations with his family makes him not to despair and give up in a difficult situation. It pains M.B. that he is not allowed to be close to his two kids. He does not understand why his brother does not forgive him, despite the fact that the blood of Jesus has transformed him into a new person Another non-verbal message about spirituality given by the patient is that he maintains a close relationship with his mother, which is very helpful in his recovery process. She frequently called him. It is correct to say that she has become a significant source of encouragement for him when times seem hard.
Judging the verbal messages given by the patient, it is clear that God was his primary source of support during hard times. Trough prayers, he is able to connect with God, who is the most significant source of his strength. From the non-verbal messages, it is clear that family, especially his children, gave him encouragement and he was determined to change and overcome all the difficulties for them. It was clear that spirituality affected the verbal and non-verbal messages given by M.B. The patient believes prayers played a massive role in his overcoming the difficult times he faced, and that is why he is specific on what his prayers entailed. The way an individual is brought up largely affects his communication (Townsend, 2014). For instance, children brought up in homes where they do not have the freedom of expression tend to give non-verbal messages.
One spiritual intervention that seems to work well with the patient is constant prayers. The patient seems to have found hope because of having a spiritual connection with God. He has started practicing positive thinking and this is the reason why he has hope of amending his relationship with family members. Through prayers, he believes God will relieve him from the burden of substance abuse. People use prayers to communicate with God and the patient uses it to ask for things like forgiveness of sins and healing. Another spiritual intervention that is working for M.B. is Yoga. He categorically states that Yoga brings balance to his whole body, which is extremely useful in his quest to fight off the use of drugs. Meditating is another spiritual intervention used by M.B., which is proving to be very helpful. It is through meditation that he realizes how bad his life has become. After such revelation, it becomes M.B’s motive to return his life back to normal and the only way to do so is by overcoming the habit of drug use. Meditation makes him realize that the people he loves most in the world are slowly drifting away from him and, thus, he has to persevere his aim so that he could fight the drug use.
It can be correct to assume that the tradition of his family to slaughter a goat during special occasions gives M.B. hope that his family can go back to being happy once more. It gave him a sense of believing that if he changes to become a new person, his family members together with his own children will welcome him back to their lives.
Mental meditation is one of the spiritual interventions that would be of use to the patient. The meditation enables an individual not to judge him or herself. M.B. started the use of drugs at a very tender age and it makes him judge and blame himself all the time for occurrences in his life. Blaming oneself does not help with the rehabilitating program and, thus, it is good for the patient to avoid it.
Living in the streets, where the rate at which people take drugs is high, is one of the reasons why the patient got deeper into the drug problem. Getting out of the streets would be a helpful cultural intervention. It would be the best for him to relocate from the place he used to live and cut ties with the friends who are likely to make him start abusing drugs again. In a view of getting a new life and changing for the better he must understand that there are several sacrifices he needs to do and losing some of his friends is one of them.