As this new year has begun, many of us have made resolutions for ’07; some of us have probably already broken them (like myself)! Well, one New Year’s resolution that I would like to encourage us all to practice is enhancing the spiritual aspect of the patient care. Now, you may be thinking, “Chaplain, isn’t that what you’re supposed to do?” and “Don’t you know how much we’re already doing? How are we suppose to do this?” What I’m about to share will not only increase the effectiveness of your patient care but also manage your own ability to handle the stress of both your professional and personal lives…that is, the 6 P’s of Spirituality!
Presence: Maintaining one’s full awareness to the patient, any visitors, and any needs or desires. This may involve responding to a page a few moments later to assure that the patient is all settled in or adjusting the patient’s bed and/or tray to avoid a sooner return.
Pause: Taking a moment to breathe and bring your complete focus to the patient with whom you are about to interact. You may wish to do this while rubbing your hands with the alcohol gel or while putting on an isolation gown.
Preparation: Clearing one’s mind of any distractions—professional and personal—to assure proper, effective care of your next individual patient. Keeping a “Things To Do” list in a small notebook that you can carry with you and meeting your own physical needs as they arise, such as having a snack or drink, are two possibilities that may assist in this process.
Posture: Carrying one’s self to affirm the dignity and respect of the patient. Direct eye contact and not watching the patient’s television reveals the primary focus for entering the room.
Power of words: Speaking terms and phrases that acknowledge, affirm, encourage, and maintain the individuality of the patient and his or her situation. Personally, I would encourage you to watch the “Power of Words” video located on the front page of our Intranet.
Prayer: Communicating with the Spirit for guidance, wisdom, and comfort in caring for each of your patients. This can be accomplished while driving to work, before entering each patient’s room, while sitting at the nurse’s station, etc.
While you may be just hearing of, learning, or continuing to use these six principles, the chaplaincy team is willing to assist you in further understanding and implementing these in your own ministry. May the 6 P’s of Spirituality guide you this upcoming year in becoming a more effective caregiver!