Spiritual Issues During Disasters                                                                  


Spiritual issues surrounding a disaster

Natural or man-made disasters tend to awaken spiritual issues that lead individuals, communities, and health care providers to question many things in life such as why certain things happen. This is because they result in injuries and even the loss of lives. These questions arise from the deep spiritual values that individuals hold dear in life and can result in either a deep concern or great comfort. At its worst, a disaster can result in spiritual distress accompanied by feelings of anger, bitterness, depression, and even fear. There also arises the issue of blame based on the individuals’ belief structure in which he views the world through. Is God to blame? Where was He when all this happened? Some humans tend to seek spiritual guidance in handling the disastrous situation while some make their judgment based on spiritual components whereby in most religious doctrines,  natural disasters occurrence are viewed as a punishment to man due to a violation of spiritual principles and laws. Disasters significantly disrupt people spiritual lives and therefore nurturing their spiritual needs impacts a lot to their holistic healing (Aten, O’grady, Milstein, Boan, & Schruba, 2014).


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Role of a nurse in spiritual care in disasters: A community health nurse can assist in the spiritual care of individuals, communities, self, and colleagues through providing physical, emotional and spiritual human needs. The nurse should help to create a healing environment for both physical and spiritual self, concerning human dignity. He or she must also develop caring relationships with the patients and their families together with being empathetic to the families affected by the loss of their loved ones in order instill back hope, faith, and honor. Also, should genuinely listen to the victim’s story and be ready to share teachings that address the individual’s specific needs. In this case, the nurse must be sensitive to self and others by nurturing individuals’ beliefs and practices. The nurse, in general, should apply compassionate and emotional care programs based on spiritual components in assisting the victims to cope, through the caring journey to the road of healing and recovery (Aliakbari, Hammad, Bahrami, & Aein, 2015).


Aliakbari, F., Hammad, K., Bahrami, M., & Aein, F. (2015). Ethical and legal challenges associated with disaster nursing. Nursing ethics22(4), 493-503.

Aten, J. D., O’grady, K. A., Milstein, G., Boan, D., & Schruba, A. (2014). Spiritually oriented disaster psychology. Spirituality in Clinical Practice1(1), 20.


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