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HIV clinic caregivers’ spiritual and religious attitudes and behaviors

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DOI: 10.4236/health.2010.27120    3,970 Downloads   6,853 Views  

ABSTRACT

Based on prior research, we hypothesized that staff in an outpatient clinic caring for an HIV patient population might rely on religious and spiritual frameworks to cope with the strains of their work and that their responses to a spiritual and religious survey might reflect work-related spiritual distress. Surveys were completed by 78.7% of staff (n = 59). All respondents scored in the "moderate" range for religious and spiritual well-being as well as existential satisfaction with living. The large majority agreed that the religious and spiritual concerns of patients have a place in patient care. Nurses, (88.2% of nurse respondents) viewed assessing the spiritual needs of patients as their responsibility, (p = 0.03). While 82% of HIV clinic respondents privately prayed for patients always, often or sometimes, this did not include physicians. Physicians in this clinic setting appeared to be less spiritual and religious, based on their survey responses, than coworkers and than US physicians in general. The majority of clinic physicians (78%) believed that God does not suffer with the suffering patients, in contrast to the majority of support staff (69%) and nearly half of the nurses, who believed that God does suffer with them, (p = 0.018). Contrary to our expectation, respondents did not report work-related spiritual distress, which may be related to improved therapies that can prolong and improve patients’ lives. Survey data revealed, however, a surprising level of engagement in and reliance on spiritual and religious frameworks among nurses and support staff. Whether the absence of measured spiritual distress is linked, in a causal rather than random manner, to spiritual and religious reliance by certain of these health care providers, is unknown.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Cite this paper

Catlin, E. , Guillemin, J. , Freedman, J. and Thiel, M. (2010) HIV clinic caregivers’ spiritual and religious attitudes and behaviors. Health, 2, 796-803. doi: 10.4236/health.2010.27120.

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