Joy Freeman

I too have noticed more research on spirituality in the nursing literature.  Perhaps that is because they spend 12 hours a day at the bedside of their patients sometimes for more than one day at a time, they have a unique opportunity to engage conversation over a longer period and as patients get to trust them, open up more allowing them to perhaps be connecting the dots quicker.  I think too, perhaps they are able to look at this from a more humanistic perspective than necessarily religious providing for something more broadly connective. However, this does not mean we as spiritual caregivers get off the hook on doing research ourselves, I think rather it creates a unique opportunity for partnership in research.

I can’t speak to the openness of psychiatry really.  It is not an area that I connect to much.  Our hospital has only one psychiatrist on staff and he is VERY busy.  I do know he is greatly appreciative of our work as chaplains and has commented positively to me on what I am contributing to the outcome of patients that we are mutually seeing.  If I am in the room when he is rounding he will defer to me if he is able.  So there is a respect of what I bring to the table. I would say that generally I think there has been quite a bit of growth in recognition and research from the physician side of things to the importance of spirituality, particularly in the growth of the whole person model of treatment.

I am not super familiar with much of Frankl’s stuff, but from the general broad understanding I have I do agree the much of the hard work of any kind of crisis comes in the meaning making.  It is messy, non-linear, and hard.  In my experience there are lots of questions asked that do not have specific answers other than what the person doing the meaning making can create for themselves.  It is the meaning making that I think spiritual caregivers are uniquely equipped to come along side with.  Our skill set of being comfortable in the mess and ability to sit with the questions and not rush to answers and be journeyers with someone is invaluable.

Good thoughts Rick.  Thank you.