Spiritual Well-Being Predicts Nurse Compassion Levels
Priscilla Mondt, PhD, MDiv, LPC, Fresh Roots Family Counseling
Space for the sacred in the care of the sick begins with healthcare professionals. While medical care has a long history of spirituality, the focus has evolved to an ethical limitation of cultural competency with focus on the patient rather than the spiritual substance of the caregiver. This study was conducted pre-pandemic. Its focus was reinforced as the pandemic exposed a need to address mental health components for healthcare professionals without regard to impact on patient care. That is, to view healthcare professionals as human beings in need of their own mental health interventions; to view healthcare professionals as the patient. This study selected the nurse population as central to the care of the sick and representative of the field. Nurse culture is global (Biro, 2012) making for generalizability across the field. Nursing literature addresses nurse mental health from the perspective of public safety (e.g., patient safety) and financial multipliers (i.e., patient satisfaction) without consideration to individual mental health factors (Fradelos, et. al., 2014). This study addressed nurses as an at-risk population in need of appropriate counseling interventions and investigated how spiritual wellbeing impacted compassion levels in the nurse population. Discovery of a large gap between reported nurse mental health struggles and seeking help highlights an alarming void. Bivariate regression analyses investigated the relationship between spiritual wellbeing and compassion levels (satisfaction and fatigue in the form of secondary trauma stress and burnout). This study found spiritual wellbeing predicts compassion satisfaction and burnout suggesting that effective inoculation against burnout is enhancement of spiritual wellbeing. Spirituality is a cultural competency for counselors that appears imperative to master. This paper is an empirical study that is interdisciplinary in nature incorporating three healthcare disciplines: mental health, spiritual care and nurses.