NR 506 Week 3 Discussion:

RELI 448N Week 8 Discussion: Health Care in Spirituality

RELI 448N Week 8 Discussion: Health Care in Spirituality

RELI 448N Week 8 Discussion: Health Care in Spirituality

Required Resources

Read/review the following resources for this activity: 

  • Textbook: Chapter 12 
  • Lesson 
  • 1 video (noted in options) 
  • Minimum of 1 scholarly source (in addition to the textbook/lesson) 

Initial Post Instructions

For the initial post, respond to one of the following options: 

Option 1

Watch the following video: 

For the initial post, address the following: 

  1. How would you define spirituality after viewing this film? What is its role in dealing with health care issues? 
  1. Discuss the Trinity Model by describing the relationship among the 3 primary concepts: suffering, belief and spirituality. 
  1. In what ways does the film suggest that a healthcare professional can facilitate the “softening of suffering”? How does this relate to your own worldview? 
  1. Discuss one key learning you gleaned from this film and how you can apply it in your professional practice. 

Option 2

Watch the following video: 

For the initial post, address the following points: 

  1. What is spiritual assessment as defined in this video? Why is it important for health care professionals to understand how to use it? 
  1. Do you agree or disagree with the film’s premise that a health care professional’s personal spirituality (or lack) affects his/her ability to assess spirituality in another? Explain your reasoning. 
  1. Choose one of the spiritual assessment questions reviewed in the film and answer it personally, based on your own beliefs and experience. 
  1. Discuss one key learning you gleaned from this focus on spiritual assessment. Demonstrate how you would apply it in your professional practice. 

Follow-Up Post Instructions

Respond to at least two peers or one peer and the instructor. Further the dialogue by providing more information and clarification. Note: This week you can focus on peers who chose the same option as you or also engage with those who chose the other option – your choice! 

Writing Requirements 

  • Minimum of 3 posts (1 initial & 2 follow-up)  
  • Initial Post Length: 300-500 words 
  • Minimum of 2 sources cited (assigned readings/online lessons and one outside scholarly source)  
  • APA format for in-text citations (include page or paragraph) and references  


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This activity will be graded using the Discussion Grading Rubric. Please review the following link: 

Course Outcomes (CO): 3, 4 

Due Date for Initial Post: By 11:59 p.m. MT on Wednesday
Due Date for Follow-Up Posts: By 11:59 p.m. MT on Saturday 

We have reached our final discussion board of this class.  For this discussion, you have two videos to view, and you are to choose one of the videos to focus on and address what is being discussed in the videos.  

You may begin posting on Sunday 12/13/20. Please make your TWO posts each week on any of the eight days allotted from preview Sunday to closing Saturday that work with your schedule. Both posts may be on the same day, but what is most important this week is the fact that all posts must be completed by Saturday 12/19 at 11:59 pm MT. 

A strong initial thread for this weeks discussion board should really focus on answering each of the sub points that are being asked concering the videos topic. Don’t forget to seek out and cite at least two sources. 

     After viewing the film Spirituality, suffering, and illness: Conversations for healing, I have completely changed my definition of spirituality.  Before viewing this film, I believed that spirituality was how a person practiced or didn’t practice their religion.  This film made me realize that spirituality is not only different for everyone, but it doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with religion.  In the film, Dr. Wright stated, “everyone has a spirituality, but not everyone has a religion.”  Our textbook states, “ Individuals now assemble elements of different belief systems to create their own spiritual system (Malloy, p.499). 

     The role of spirituality in health care issues is endless.  By looking at a person’s spirituality a nurse can better map a plan of care that will be more specific and one that a patient may actually participate in and follow.  Taking the time to find out what is important in a patient’s life or gives their life meaning can only enhance a patient’s participation in their care and ultimately lessen their suffering.  Dr. Wright also calls this softening a patient or family’s suffering.  She explains that a patient’s beliefs, suffering, and spirituality are all interrelated or linked in the Trinity Model.RELI 448N Week 8 Discussion: Health Care in Spirituality

What a person believes directly relates to their spirituality.  Their spirituality than in turn will have a direct effect on their suffering. Health care professionals can use therapeutic communication to help bring out a person’s illness story. By asking questions, to help a patient connect their beliefs with their spirituality a health care professional can understand if the patient’s beliefs are enhancing or softening their suffering.  Once this is determined, a patient can be encouraged to have more spiritual counseling needed.   

Sometimes just talking about their suffering makes a dramatic impact on the Patient.  Dr. Wright believes, “talking is healing”. I believe everyone has a story and if given the opportunity they want to talk about it. However, I have learned in my own nursing practice, not everyone tells their story in the same way.  It takes time and patience to get people to talk.  Sometimes you might be the nurse to initiate the conversation, but it may be another nurse on the next shift that actually makes the connection with the patient. This is the beauty of nursing.  Each one of us can make an impact. 

     The biggest take away from this film for me is learning that religion is not spirituality.  It seems like such a simple thing to understand, but I really didn’t get it until I watched this video.  I am ordering Lorraine Wrights’s book because I would like to learn more about helping to soften suffering and hope that I can pass this along to the other nurses on my unit.  We see a lot of cancer patients on my unit recovering between rounds of radiation and chemotherapy complications.

These patients often received palliative care or Hospice consultations and I think if we can help facilitate a healing conversation and soften the patient and families suffering, they may be more willing to accept the help from Palliative or Hospice services. According to Evidence-based Practice, “There is increasing evidence that religious and/or spiritual beliefs help patients cope with fear and anxiety caused by illness” (Heering, 2018). This is so important to me professionally and personally.  It gives my life meaning and purpose to help someone find peace in facing their illness and sometimes even their death. 


Gunder, S. &Herring H Spiritual needs of Hospitalized Patients. Evidenced-Based Care Sheet- CEU, 2018. 

Lorraine Wright, & Insync Communications (Producers), &. (2007). Spirituality, suffering, and illness: Conversations for healing.  [Video/DVD] Lorraine Wright. Retrieved from   https://video-alexanderstreet-              conversations-for-healingLinks to an external site. 

Molloy, M. (2020). Experiencing the world’s religions: Tradition, challenge, and change (8th ed.). McGraw-Hill 

Thinking more specifically about the discussions in Chapter 12, I’d like you to consider the ways in which religions change over time when faced with changes in social norms, and new understandings of the world. This has always been a challenge to religion. All religions around the world have had to face changes based on new knowledge of the world. Is this fundamentally problematic? If religions change/evolve, do they lose their potency to affect our lives? Can you incorporate the thoughts of one of the philosophers from week 1 in your response?

Religion vs spirituality is something I am sure a lot of people struggle with.  When discussing this topic with new patients during an admission visit (admission onto the hospice program) I always ask about religious affiliation and spirituality.  These terms are generally seen as one in the same I have come to discover to many people.  I take time to explain the difference because this sometimes determines their interest in having our chaplain visit.  Once they understand that spirituality can exist in the absence of religion they are more apt to explore this avenue.   

Thank you for your thought-provoking question. When considering the changes in social norms, the issue of abortion has been a challenge for religions.  Even when speaking to young catholic adults today, it seems that they are more aligned with legalized abortion, then with their church’s view of pro-life. Even the pope has eased up his views on birth control. It seems to me that as religions change and evolve they do lose their potency to affect our lives.  Karl Marx’s theory of religion reflects modern society today. Our textbook states, “for Marx religion was a symptom of the poverty and inadequacy of modern society, the need for religion, he thought would dissolve when society improved.” (Malloy, p.12 )  Although society is modern, I don’t necessarily agree that it is improved. 


Molloy, M. (2020). Experiencing the world’s religions: Tradition, challenge, and change (8th ed.). McGraw-Hill 

This film is well made and also helped me to understand spirituality, suffering, and illness better. As nurses, we are faced with life and death situations almost every time we work. It is amazing to see how as nurses we can make a great impact on our patients. Even in simple gestures, we can help to alleviate their suffering. I totally agree with Dr. Wright that “talking is healing”, I believe when people talk about their pain and suffering it somehow makes them feel a bit lighter to finally confide with someone. As nurses, we do have a great opportunity since we are at the bedside providing care at their most vulnerable state.  

Welcome to Week 8. 

I will post a few videos this week that will offer some “closing thoughts” about the study of religion in the modern age. If you have time, watch these videos and see what thoughts they generate. I’ll post videos on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday, so you can include some of your thoughts in your posts (just make sure you let us know which video you’re commenting on). 

I wish all of you the very best in your next chapters, whether that means graduation or more classes. 

After viewing option # 1 video, I would define spirituality as one who has a certain belief system and follows that way of thinking and living. In the same sense, “Individuals now assemble elements of different belief systems to create their own spiritual system” (Molloy, 2020 p. 499). The role of spirituality when dealing with healthcare issues depends upon what you believe. If you have a positive belief system, any health diagnosis will be dealt with in a positive manner.

The same applies to a negative belief system, one would have a negative outlook on their medical diagnosis. The Trinity Model which includes suffering, belief, and spirituality are all things a person may go through when experiencing a life-threatening medical diagnosis.  The relationship between them, is that when one suffers, their belief system is activated and their spirituality is practiced or increased. Those are the 3 areas of a person’s life that would be most important while enduring a life-threatening diagnosis or chronic diagnosis. The film suggests that a healthcare professional can facilitate the “softening of suffering” by allowing the patient to have a belief system, allowing the patient to explore their spirituality, and acknowledging who is the person that is suffering the most.

For an example: the patient who received the diagnosis should be the person suffering the most, however it may be the patient’s child, parent(s), spouse, or as simple as any one that loves the patient. The nurse can provide therapeutic communication, such as exploring how the patient feels about their diagnosis and how are they handling it. The nurse should provide positive coping mechanisms and listen to the patient.

In other ways, a nurse can be aware of body language, treat anxiety as suffering, coordinate the proper care, and allow the patient to make informed healthcare decisions (Sullivan, 2020). The perception I have when it comes to “softening of suffering” is the same. I practice Christianity and I deeply believe any type of positive affirmations, counseling, therapeutic communications are all factors that even outside of healthcare are positive coping mechanisms that can make a person’s spirit feel better even if they are not physically well. One key concept I learned is listening; sometimes listening is the key to make the patient feel better, even if it is for one day. 

Molloy, M. (2020). Experiencing the world’s religions: Tradition, challenge, and change (8th ed.). McGraw-Hill 

Sullivan, K. (2014). 6 ways nurse can reduce patient suffering. Fierce Healthcare 

 To continue our broader conversation this week, I’ll ask you a follow-up building on Molloy’s comments about consumerism, materialism, and technology in Chapter 12. From my own reading of many religious texts, capitalism appears to me to be radically at odds with most core religious values, but not everyone would agree. What is the fundamental issue that arises between a capitalist worldview and that of most religions, or is there one? (Maybe that is one of the most important questions for your follow-up). Can you find any sources that discuss this trend or this conflict, from either a positive or a negative view point? Is there a way to live in an increasingly capitalist society, while also maintaining “traditional” religious values?