INSPIRING CHANGE: Finding room for spirituality in healthcare
Jessica Schaefer RN
Sherri Stonecipher BSN, RN
Irene Kane PhD, MSN, RN, CNAA, HFI

September 2012 
Volume 42  Number 9
Pages 14 - 16
  PDF Version Available!

IF YOU WERE TO ASK most nurses how their day is going, they might say they're too busy to answer. With all their clinical responsibilities, how can nurses even begin to make time for healing through spiritual mindfulness?According to some recent data, the more appropriate question might be, how can nurses not make time for spiritual mindfulness?1 If evidence to support healing via prayer and meditation is on the rise, why aren't nurses using this method to help patients heal?1This article describes a spiritual mindfulness quality initiative conducted in a University of Pittsburgh Medical Center cardiovascular ICU. The initiative identified and removed barriers to providing spiritual support, and helped nurses improve patient care by incorporating spiritual mindfulness into daily practice."Intercessory prayer," the act of praying on behalf of others, "is one of the oldest and most common interventions used with the intention of alleviating illness and promoting good health."2 Historically, the fabric of prayer and medicine were woven together, but evidence-based research on the healing power of prayer has been limited. A literature search of articles published from 1950 to 1995 produced only 212 articles about prayer-aided healing. But a search of articles published from 1995 to 2010 produced 855 such articles, suggesting that interest in the subject is on the rise. In one prospective study, a patient's sense of "reverence" (spirituality) predicted fewer complications and shorter hospitalizations, and those who prayed more often had reduced complications.3According to the National Institutes of Health, prayer is the most commonly used form of complementary and alternative medicine.4 The impact of prayer and meditation working in tandem with modern medicine to promote healing is gaining recognition.Patient-centered care is one of the foundations of the Quality and Safety Education for Nurses (QSEN) principles. To practice patient-centered care is to "recognize the patient

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