1. Howland, Wendie A. MN, RN-BC, CCM, CNLCP, CRRN, LNCC
  2. Wong, Susan Ossanna RN
  3. Suriano, Beth L. RN, BPS, CNML, CNOR, RNFA

Article Content

Continuing education

Thank you for publishing "Designing a Nursing Care Plan for a Lifetime (July, 2012),* which gives readers a basic introduction to the concept of life care planning. All nurses should know how powerful the nursing process is for certified nurse life care planners working with patients with catastrophic conditions. Those who wish to learn more should visit the American Association of Nurse Life Care Planning's home page:

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Science, faith, or both?

I take issue with the article "Finding Room for Spirituality in Healthcare" (September, 2012).* Western medicine and nursing is based on scientific evidence, not "belief." While prayer may help some patients, in my opinion the scientific reason for this has to do with the brain-body connection, the placebo effect, and the benefits of relaxation and comfort that promote healing, not "communication" with a mythical being.1-3


To expect a nurse to participate in any spiritual support besides providing privacy for patients to practice their religion or beliefs (as long as they aren't dangerous to the patient or others) is unreasonable. Spiritual professionals such as chaplains can and should take on this responsibility.


-Wendie A. Howland, MN, RN-BC, CCM, CNLCP, CRRN, LNCC


Pocasset, Mass.


-Susan Ossanna Wong, RN


Orange, Calif.


-Beth L. Suriano, RN, BPS, CNML, CNOR, RNFA


Boca Raton, Fla.




1. Andrade C, Radhakrishnan R. Prayer and healing: a medical and scientific perspective on randomized controlled trials. Indian J Psychiatry. 2009;51(4):247-253. [Context Link]


2. Roberts L, Ahmed I, Hall S, Davison A. Intercessory prayer for the alleviation of ill health. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2009;(2):CD000368.


3. Jensen KB, Kaptchuk TJ, Kircsh I, et al. Nonconscious activation of placebo and nocebo pain responses. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2012;109(39):15959-15964. [Context Link]


I enjoyed reading "Finding Room for Spirituality in Healthcare." Tapping into one's spirituality can inspire a patient to heal, a nurse to become reengaged in the profession, a hospital to change culture, and a healthcare system to reinvent itself. Nurses have a unique opportunity to help patients access this inner strength to speed healing.


The future of healthcare depends on more than advanced technology and quality control initiatives. As nurses, we must be physically, mentally, and spiritually healthy in order to be open to the possibilities of tomorrow.


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