NRS 428 What spiritual considerations surrounding a disaster can arise for individuals, communities, and health care providers?

NRS 428 What spiritual considerations surrounding a disaster can arise for individuals, communities, and health care providers?

NRS 428 What spiritual considerations surrounding a disaster can arise for individuals, communities, and health care providers?

Individuals may feel despairing, the community will battle with trust, and healthcare practitioners will struggle with their competence. A person will feel hopeless in the event of a man-made or natural catastrophe since these events occur unexpectedly and we are unprepared most of the time. As human beings, we would always experience a feeling of despair, particularly if we lost all we had worked so hard for or a loved family member (Falkner, 2018). There may be a sense of mistrust in the community because, at our most vulnerable moments, we may ask why the community allowed it to occur or what they have done to assist us. Even the spiritual side of the community may be disturbed due to the current state of uncertainty and the potential for confusion or misunderstanding among members. In the sense that they were on the front lines during a catastrophe, the first witnesses to any damage, and, at times, the first to experience trauma, health care personnel will face an inner conflict (American Red Cross, 2020). In the event of a natural or manufactured calamity, health care personnel will need spiritual support from one another or the community in order to not only restore their drive and strength, but also to become spiritually healthy again.

As a community health nurse, you will be able to identify chances to successfully address the spiritual well-being of a person, community, self, and coworkers, therefore encouraging holistic care. During a crisis, it is crucial for a community health nurse to give spiritual support so that compassionate, tailored treatment may be delivered (Makwana, 2019). Spirituality should always be given top priority since, after it has been adequately treated, quicker healing and recovery from a calamity may be noticed in a person, their neighborhood, their workplace, and even in oneself. Providing emotional support and treatment in line with the religious preferences of persons impacted by a catastrophe is one of the spiritual issues that may emerge for individuals, communities, and health care professionals in regard to a disaster. Therefore, it necessitates the sacrifice of one’s religious interests and principles. Being neutral and offering support and care based on the beliefs and values of the afflicted is compassionate care (Falkner, 2018). For example, in the case of dead persons, supporting the family in executing the final rites according to the deceased’s and his or her family’s faith and culture.


Falkner, A. (2018). Disaster management. Community & public health: The future of health care.

American Red Cross. (2020) Spiritual Care Important Part of Red Cross Assisting in Disaster

Makwana, N. (2019, October 31). Disaster and its impact on Mental Health: A Narrative Review. Journal of family medicine and primary care.

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Spiritual care involves caring for the emotional and cultural needs of individuals. Disasters, whether natural or manmade trigger overwhelming emotions in individuals, communities, and health care professionals. Individuals and communities often struggle with feelings of loss, fear, anxiety, anger, and hopelessness. Healthcare professionals often struggle with feelings of helplessness and feeling unable to meet the needs of the community. For example, in the disaster of a flood, individuals may experience the loss of life, health, loss of homes, property, and businesses, feelings of fear, anger, and sadness. Health care professionals become overwhelmed by the needs of the community as they care for the health needs of the sick and injured. The entire community relies on the spiritual support of community spiritual leaders. Nurses can help provide spiritual support to patients and members of the community. While spiritual leaders would be considered the experts in providing spiritual care, offering spiritual support is considered part of the nurse’s profession (Papadopoulos et al., 2022). When caring for individuals, nurses provide spiritual support by listening to the patients/victims discuss their feelings, advocating for their needs, and seeking additional spiritual support from spiritual leaders as necessary (Falkner et al.). They can care for the community by helping organize events that offer spiritual support such as a candle lighting ceremony where the community comes together to reflect on their loss and hope for the future. Nurses must care for themselves by acknowledging their own level of distress and seeking support from spiritual leaders. Lastly, they care for colleagues by sharing with one another their feelings and needs and helping each other cope throughout the disaster recovery process. 


Falkner, A. (n.d.). Chapter 5 Disaster Management. In Community and Public Health: The Future of Health Care. essay. Retrieved July 19, 2022, from

Papadopoulos, I., Lazzarino, R., Koulouglioti, C., Ali, S., & Wright, S. (2022). Towards a national strategy for the provision of spiritual care during major health disasters: A qualitative study. The International Journal of Health Planning and Management37(4), 1990–2006. 

Spirtuality is defined as an aspect of humanity that refers to the way individuals seek and express meaning and purpose, the way they experience their connectedness to the moment, to self, to others, to nature and to the significant or sacred (Lalani, N., Drolet, J., et al., 2021). Most of the time people refer to themselves as spiritual, regardless if they believe in religion or not. Nurses encounter many different types of spirituality in their line of work and are required to respect everyone and their beliefs. When thinking about a disaster, whether it be man made or natural, in these circumstances, many people will be suffering and everyone will require different needs, including spiritual needs. As a community health nurse, you must understand how to accommodate during these types of situations. Disaster impacts physical, economic, spiritual, and psychosocial well-being, inducing traumatic responses among those affected, particularly those who are most vulnerable, including the poor, children and youth, immigrants and refugees, and disenfranchised groups (Lalani, N., Drolet, J., et al., 2021). Along with the trauma of experiencing a disaster, individuals and families often experience the loss of homes and community infrastructure, which makes the basic tasks of everyday life challenging, as well as loss of a sense of identity, meaning, and purpose—all of which impact overall health and well-being. Spirituality can help individuals cope during these tough times. Spirituality can be an important aspect of resiliency as it contributes to adaptive coping as well as personal growth and transformation following exposure to traumatic events and stressors, including disasters. Nurses working with the victims can advocate for the spiritual needs of patients by locating the chaplain whenever possible and facilitating the incorporation of spiritual practices that do not interfere with patient safety or the course of treatment to provide comfort (Falkner, A., 2018). In moments like this, nurses are a great source of comfort and support for victims and their families and can help facilitate the guidance that they need in order to start the heeling process.


Falkner, A. (Ed). (2018). Community & public health: The future of health care.

Lalani, N., Drolet, J., McDonald-Harker, C., Brown, M., Brett-MacLean, P., Agyapong, V., Greenshaw, A., Silverstone, P. (July 23, 2021). Nurturing Spiritual Resilience to Promote Post-disaster Community Recovery: The 2016 Alberta Wildfire in Canada. Front Public Health. doi: 10.3389/fpubh.2021.682558

Spirituality is an essential aspect of human existence and nurses interact with patients with varying spiritual needs. Therefore, caregivers need to consider the effect of spirituality on healthcare and are often needed to provide spiritual care to patients. The context of a natural disaster presents emergencies that include injured people, scared and disoriented people, and even panic in extreme circumstances where individuals have lost loved ones. In the context of a disaster, providing encouraging words can help improve the spiritual state of an individual and reduce fear (Burgos, 2019). Using the principals of proxemics and haptics provides an opportunity to console and reassure colleagues and patients to help provide comfort.

Providing unsolicited spiritual care is as negligent as not providing spiritual care. Therefore, the nurse should ensure that they seek consent from the patient to talk about and even participate in spiritual activities such as praying. Conducting an assessment of an individual’s spiritually and their needs ensures that the best support is provided based on the patient (Cherry et al., 2018). Nurses can provide spiritual care to their patients and colleagues by offering themselves to talk about spiritual matters. It is important to note that patients and colleagues do not need a new religion or form of spirituality but help to connect to their own spiritual practices. Communication should be sensitive and the nurse should actively listen and calmly respond while providing affirmations to patients and colleagues. The responses should reflect empathy and not include a nurse’s own spirituality or experiences. A nurse can also be useful by providing religious supplies such as bibles, crosses, and other items depending on religion where possible. It is essential to portray competence in understanding the various regions and forms of spirituality, and nurses can ask the colleague or patient to guide any process that they might need help with.


Burgos, G. (2019). Congruence between nurses’ caring behaviors and patients’ perceptions of being cared for during disaster responses. International Journal for Human Caring23(1), 80-90.

Cherry, K. E., Sampson, L., Galea, S., Marks, L. D., Stanko, K. E., Nezat, P. F., & Baudoin, K. H. (2018). Spirituality, humor, and resilience after natural and technological disasters. Journal of nursing scholarship50(5), 492-501.