RELI 448N Discussion Health Care in Spirituality 

RELI 448N Discussion Health Care in Spirituality 

RELI 448N Discussion Health Care in Spirituality 

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. 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.

Stay Well Everyone, 


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

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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.  

RELI 448N Discussion Health Care in Spirituality 
RELI 448N Discussion Health Care in Spirituality 

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

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

In your initial post, you indicate that you would describe spirituality as the aspect of a person following a certain belief system in terms of living and thinking. I concur with this point of view because it shows how thoughts and daily activities contribute to influencing a person’s way of life. One of the major interesting aspects that you note in the post is that the role of spirituality when dealing with healthcare issues depends on what a person believes. This is true in that nurse professionals are expected to make sure that they guide their patients to connect their belief systems and the actual experiences they undergo in their lives (Dezorzi et al., 2019). The views that you present are vital in that they help to understand how nurses can ensure that they support their patients in dealing with pain. This can be achieved by making sure that they encourage the patients to have hope, despite the challenges they encounter relating to their health (Baldacchino, 2017). These are some of the major concepts that I learned from the film as well.


Baldacchino, D. (2017). Spirituality in the healthcare workplace. Religions8(12), 260.

Dezorzi, L. W., Raymundo, M. M., Goldim, J. R., & de Oliveira, C. A. V. (2019). Spirituality in the continuing education of healthcare professionals: an approach to palliative care. Palliative & Supportive Care17(6), 662-667.

I chose Option 1 and watched Spirituality, Suffering, and Illness Video. After viewing this film, I would define spirituality as the ability for one to find their soul and match it with the meaning, purpose, and happiness of their life. Spirituality plays a big part in health care issues and decision making. I currently work in an ICU and constantly see people suffer, receive hard diagnoses, and have to contemplate their life and choices with their family members. I think understanding your own spirituality allows one to make easier health care decisions and allow their suffering to be less. But perhaps a younger person or someone who has not contemplated their own spirituality who just received a very difficult diagnosis or is extremely ill may suffer and have a more difficult time healing, accepting the news, and making health care decisions.

The Trinity model has three concepts: Suffering, Beliefs, and Spirituality. According to Wright, the Trinity model concepts all intersect to describe the meaning of life and purpose (2007). By asking one’s beliefs, nurses can help relieve suffering and explore the best ways to emotionally handle suffering. Wright states to “connect suffering and spirituality as a way to soften suffering and invites healing” (2007). By intersecting and relating these three concepts, nurses can help patients lessen their suffering and hope to find their spirituality.

In this film, the speaker greatly suggests it is up to nurses to “soften suffering”. Wright suggests that nurses beat around the bush when it comes to asking patients about their illness and suffering when really, we should be going into these conversations with our patients head-on. And by doing this we can help facilitate the softening of suffering. I understand where the speaker is coming from, I would say some healthcare workers probably do not ask these kinds of questions head-on and maybe some do. Personally, I don’t always feel comfortable asking patients about these kinds of questions. I fear more that it will make them suffer more and currently while families are not allowed in the hospital, it just kind of pushes the fact that they are alone in their face even more. I believe there is a happy medium. And typically, I get the patients who are at the end of their illness and who in my opinion probably have had these thoughts or conversations with their loved ones. That’s what I hope at least. This video did open my eyes to better understanding how we as healthcare professionals can better assist our patients in lessening their spiritual suffering and I am open to trying these tactics to see if I can better help my patients.



Lorraine Wright, & Insync Communications (Producers), &. (2007). Spirituality, suffering, and illness: Conversations for healing. [Video/DVD] Lorraine Wright. Retrieved from

Your post is amazing. Thank you for being an ICU nurse. I hope you have support for yourself to help you through suffering. ICU nurses see a lot of heartache as you mention. God bless you and your work. 

I really liked when Dr. Wright said “talking is healing” (Wright, 2007). I totally agree with her. Talking and social support can soften one’s suffering. Being an oncology nurse, I like to hear when my patients have moral support from family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, or anyone that is there for them. As nurses we like to translate our beliefs into interventions that would have potential for healing for our patients. I lost my husband at young age to cancer many years ago. I always tell my family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, my children friends, and others I would not be where I am if it wasn’t for their support, kindness, love, caring, and thoughtfulness. I received my nursing degree after my husband died. My support system took my very deep suffering and turned it into a softer suffering. Dr. Wright hit home with me and her concept of her Trinity Model explained what I went through. I find it spiritually that I was meant to take this class and to come across this video and for me to understand my suffering process. Now I will bring her Trinity Model during my assessment with my patients.


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

Wright, L. (Producer). (2007). Spirituality, suffering, and illness: Conversations for healing [Video]. Lorraine Wright Academic Video Online.

You provide an interesting description of the components of the trinity model. By looking at the specific definition of suffering, beliefs, and spirituality, a person is able to better understand how the model intersects multiple aspects of life and help to explore the best approaches that can be used to deal with people who are facing emotional challenges in connection to their physical health (Austin et al., 2018). I concur with you that the film encourages nurses to use the knowledge they have about the trinity model for the sake of their patients. In my practice, I would apply the knowledge I have about beliefs and spirituality to create significant hope in patients. I would try my best to make sure that regardless of the physical conditions of patients, they have hope for better patient outcomes (Palmer Kelly et al., 2019). What do you think is the major challenge that nurse professionals encounter while trying to incorporate spirituality concepts in their responsibilities?


Austin, P., Macdonald, J., & MacLeod, R. (2018). Measuring spirituality and religiosity in clinical settings: A scoping review of available instruments. Religions9(3), 70.

Palmer Kelly, E., Hyer, M., Payne, N., & Pawlik, T. M. (2019). A mixed-methods approach to understanding the role of religion and spirituality in healthcare provider well-being. Psychology of Religion and Spirituality.

            I chose option one for my last discussion of this class. I have viewed the video Spirituality, Suffering, and Illness Conversations of Healing, and found it highly informative. I would definitely describe Spirituality, after viewing this film, as feeling God closer to you than ever before. He becomes the center of your universe and material things have lost their luster. I would have to say that even a nonbeliever, will seek out a greater being to lean on in a spiritual way because dealing with health care issues is sometimes more than one can handle alone. The role of Spirituality in dealing with health care issues is learning how to listen. Give yourself to the Lord so that he may speak through you to be able to give the comforting word or touch that a patient longs to hear or feel at that moment.

            The Trinity Model describes the relationship among the 3 primary concepts: suffering, belief, and spirituality. “Although eclectic spirituality emphasizes the interrelatedness of all creation, it does not maintain that each person is automatically able to see interrelatedness. However, you can develop this ability, as well as acquire an attitude of respect and reverence, through a variety of contemplative practices”(Molloy, 2020, pp.503). Spirituality is considered one of the natural capacities of humans that has positive effects on individuals’ health. Believing that there is a power outside of one’s own that transcend understanding. Finally we have Suffering which can be felt less hurtful by talking about it. The relationship that I find within the Trinity Model is that they are all used in conjunction. The Belief of one person brings out the Spirituality in another and help decrease the suffering.

            The video mentions that suffering can be softened by talking about the illness and its fears and realizing that sometimes the person that suffers the most is not necessarily the one with the illness. In the situation discussed in the video, it turned out to be the mother of the person with the illness. One forgets that just because we have grown up it does not mean that we stop being somebody’s baby. I have worked in an Oncology Unit and I can assure you that the Spirit of God was always present in any room that I walked into. I learned to pray, laugh, cry, console, and even hold patients until their last dying breath. Therefore, I will have to say that this does not only relate to but is a part of my world as well as worldview.

The key learning that I received from this film is that talking is healing. I will attempt to make it part of my routine assessment from now on. I will hopefully be able to bring out the patient’s fears about their illness. If the illness is chronic, find ways to make it tolerable and if the illness is terminal than I will hopefully be able to talk to the entire family and help them understand the different stages that they will be going through and how to make it better. Help them understand that crying is not a sign of weakness, that it will help them find relief as well as praying.


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

            McGraw-Hill. to an external site.


I think crying is such a healing and powerful thing. I have found I cry the most easily when it is entangled with my spirituality. I think most of my tears are focused on feelings of over joyfulness and unconditional love. There is something about vulnerability, as you said Benjamin, that helps people feel safe and resolve hurts when the person receiving that information is open, empathetic, and nonjudgmental. As nurses, we have the privilege of meeting people in their most vulnerable situations and walking alongside them in their journey; nurses encourage, affirm, motivate, and offer loving hope for those who are in the worst position they may be in for their life. When you take time to reflect, it was a nurse who helped you in your first few moments of life and it will be a nurse that helps you in the final moments (hospice). This class has taught me more about others and has prepared me to help others in their spiritual journey through healthcare in their most vulnerable.