FaithNursing Inspiration

How the Holistic Care Approach to Nursing Improves Patient Outcomes

hospiNurses get their education at Concordia University-Portland because they want an education that addresses more than the mechanics of nursing. Knowing how to start an IV is one thing, but it requires much more skill to start an IV on a needle-shy patient and keep them talking so they don’t tense their arm. It takes a greater emotional intelligence to meet your patients where they are mentally and spiritually, and to help them address their larger needs outside of just medication and stitches.

Concordia nursing students come to our Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing program because they have generous hearts and hungry minds, and we teach our nursing students how to address patient care from a holistic perspective – body, mind and spirit.

What does “faith-based” mean in the context of a degree from Concordia University?

Our ABSN program incorporates the teachings and philosophies of Martin Luther, founder of the Lutheran church and historically a progressive figure in religious history. The Lutheran teaching philosophy requires students to be inquisitive and presses them to ask tough questions. Concordia’s ABSN program falls in line with these values by being rigorous and requiring students to question and investigate every subject they learn.

As you complete your simulation labs, you will find that your professors may end up asking you more questions than you ask them. This is to get you to think through the tenth step instead of just the first or second.

Part of the Lutheran philosophy followed by Concordia University educators is to allow your faith to guide you toward the places where your gifts will be put to best use. Concordia Portland will help you discover these gifts, and help you hone your caregiving skills so you can be the best nurse possible, no matter how your nursing career develops.

How does Concordia incorporate its faith-based element into the ABSN curriculum?

The core values of a Lutheran-based education are built around the ideas of using your best talents to serve the community as best you can, apply yourself rigorously to your work, and to be as inquisitive as possible.

When it comes to incorporating the Lutheran faith into the ABSN degree, you will take a fourth-semester course titled “Spiritual Caring and Ethics in Nursing Practice,” which will cover the legal and ethical implications of offering spiritual care to your patients in a hospital setting. The class helps students form an ethical framework to better treat their whole patient. This class will help you establish guidelines for treating holistically within the core philosophy of nursing. You’ll have a better understanding of how you can appropriately intervene in a patients’ overall care without violating HIPPA laws or reaching beyond the limits of nursing.

In other words, Concordia prepares its students to help patients with all of their needs. Whether it’s a visible disease or note, nurses need to address the disease not just symptoms. Ask around Portland hospitals and you’ll find that Concordia nurses really do set themselves apart. This is especially true regarding the way our nurses care about the quality of life of their patients in and out of the hospital.

Pain Management & Prayer

In a 2011 study, researchers in Belgium discovered that prayer in 202 religious Flemish patients had a moderating effect on pain tolerance, as well as a moderating effect on pain severity. The researchers focused on the stress of pain management and tried to discover whether pain tolerance was a mental or physical effect of prayer. They discovered that prayer was effective in helping manage patient expectations of pain, and reported lower levels of pain.

Having an understanding of the need for this kind of self-soothing practice will go a long way to making your patients feel more comfortable.

Mental Health

Starting second semester, courses will expose you to some issues surrounding nursing and mental health, covering things like depression and stress management. You will be able to put these issues and lessons into practice with your first clinical rotation in long-term care.

Depression is one of the worst, and often unnoticed, side effects of hospitalized patients. Your exposure to mental health issues in your mental & behavioral health courses will come into play in all areas of care, not just with your mentally ill patients.

An increase in healing and positive outcomes can be directly linked to stress, which affects everything from your immune response to the quality of sleep you get at night. Whether you’re the person in the hospital bed or not, the ability to “center” yourself with prayer is a powerful tool for allowing your body to heal itself without all those stress hormones getting in the way. Stress hormones such as cortisol have been proven in multiple studies to slow wound healing time as much as 25-27% in both animals and humans.

Faith-based Nursing and Your Mental Health

At the end of the day, nursing is just as challenging for you physically, emotionally and spiritually as it is for your patients. Concordia aims to prepare nurses who feel academically ready for the challenge, as well as spiritually called to the profession. It takes an extraordinary human to be a great nurse, with both logic and compassion, to put in the work and heart necessary to get the job done. The coursework reinforces the community-focused, generous spirits of Concordia’s nursing students. The reminder that their skills transcend simple bedside care bolsters our students.

Occasionally, you may feel emotionally overwhelmed by the situations you encounter through nursing. The spiritual aspect of Concordia’s ABSN program helps students navigate this as well. We want our students to go out and change the world and make the health care industry better. To do that, you have to take on the challenge one day at a time, and there will be the occasional moment when you need to be reminded that nursing is a special calling for a special kind of person like yourself.

Concordia’s Lutheran-based education prepares students to provide the best bedside care possible. Our goal is to help graduates connect with patients, form strong bonds, and offer exceptional care. If you’re ready to become a beacon of healing and hope for patients, contact an ABSN enrollment specialist today.

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