The Essence of Spiritual Care

hands"Nursing has been discussing spiritual care as long as I can remember," says Verna Benner Carson. "Yet confusion remains regarding what spiritual care entails."

She zeroes in on this foundational topic for Christian nurses in her just-published article, "What is the Essence of Spiritual Care?," which is free from the Journal of Christian Nursing, July-September 2011.

Carson broadens her definition of spiritual care with three overlapping modalities:

  • Ministry of Presence: Is the nurse inviting and reflecting the presence of Jesus with patients?
  • Ministry of Word: Is the nurse doing effective, simple spiritual screening, plus silent or direct prayer, such as asking the patient, "I make a practice of praying for each of my patients; is there anything you would like me to pray for you?"
  • VernaMinistry of Action: Is the nurse gently assisting with the patient's own spiritual practices and activities?

Read more about how a nurse's presence, words and actions can represent the love and compassion of Jesus to those needing physical and spiritual care.

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