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July 12, 2018


You are working in an ICU where a 16-year-old girl is in critical condition after an auto accident. Her mother comes in and begins to sing, sprinkle tobacco around the bed, hang eagle feathers and crystals around the room, and move her hands back and forth above the girl’s body. The girl’s nurse tells the mother that visiting time is over and that she should take all these dirty things out of the room. The mother insists on staying by the bedside and says that if she had placed rosary beads or Bibles in the room she would not have been questioned.

What cultural and spiritual issues are evident in this situation?

Cultural care is a type that involves the delivery of care in a non-conventional where care should be delivered in a way to accommodate the patient’s preference. The way that transcends cultural boundaries and considers a client’s culture as it affects health, illness and lifestyle, communication, dietary preferences, and dress are influenced. In this case, hang eagle feathers and crystals around the room can be accommodated if it will not interfere with scientific care.

Apply cultural competence to this case

Cultural competence is the ability of nurses to understand and address the entire cultural context of each client within the realm of the care they deliver. The nurse should be able to allow cultural exceptions for the patient and her mother. The patient’s mother’s faith was tied to the artifacts that she brought and will help the girl get better the moment she sees those things.

Discuss complementary therapies evident in this situation

In this situation, the mother is applying holistic/cultural care to the conventional scientific care the nurse is providing. This accommodation is will enhance nurse-patient interaction and relationships.

How would you incorporate spiritual care?

Nurses can provide spiritual care by attending to several important spiritual elements. This includes supporting the patient’s spiritual beliefs and needs and individualizing spiritual care to the patient. I would start by taking cues from the patient including but not limited to asking for the patient’s preferences. Also, supporting the patient within the limits of their faith and share encouraging thoughts or words.

How would you approach this situation?

I will approach this situation with caution and respect. I will create accommodations with the hospital policy in mind. By attending to the patient’s several important spiritual elements. The patient’s family acknowledges the higher powers and believes in the intervention of higher power. I will not stand in the way.

What principles would guide you?

I will base my guide on the ethical principles of patient-centeredness, holism, discretion, accompaniment, and tolerance. These are the core principles that guide spiritual care.


Hodge, D. R., & Limb, G. E. (2011). Spiritual assessment and Native Americans: establishing the social validity of a complementary set of assessment tools. Social Work, 56(3), 213–223.https://doi-org.resu.idm.oclc.org/login.aspx?direct=true&db=mdc&AN=21848086&site=ehost-live

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