Spiritual Heritage of Nursing

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Spiritual Heritage of Nursing

Abstract
For over 150 years now, professional nursing in the secular Western world has been trying to disentangle itself from anything religious. From the post-Enlightenment emphasis on science and reason to the women’s movement, the nurse’s efforts to elevate nursing practice to the status of profession and to prove herself intellectual among the scientifically practicing physician, has nearly drown the historical spiritual intentions of nursing. The purpose of this paper is to discuss and honor the spiritual heritage of nurses, providing a chronological overview of how the practice has evolved through Western Civilization.

Spiritual Heritage of Nursing
For over 150 years now, professional nursing (still in its infancy) in the secular Western world has been trying to disentangle itself from anything religious. We have come to prosper in this industrialized world we live in, and have reaped countless benefits from science and technology. Yet, from the post-Enlightenment emphasis on science and reason to the women’s movement, the nurse’s efforts to elevate nursing practice to the status of profession and to prove herself intellectual among the scientifically practicing physician, has nearly drown the historical spiritual intentions of nursing. Somehow, during the shifts in our culture and our society, we came to believe (in the world of medicine) that spirit was something to be avoided because science and reason could not explain it.
Opportunely, we are on the brink of a shift in paradigm. Healthcare seems to be returning to a more holistic and integrated view of humans. We are beginning to acknowledge that there may be a place for the spirit in medicine, after all. For example, The Joint Commission now requires healthcare teams to consider patients’ spiritual values and needs in the delivery of care. As a result,
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