In recent years, the place of spirituality in organisations has become increasingly discussed and advocated. On a personal level, this may involve achieving personal fulfilment or spiritual growth in the workplace. In the broader sense, spirituality is considered by many to be essential in an organisation’s interactions with employees, customers, and the community.
David R. Graber and James A. Johnson’s article describes a possible role for greater spirituality in healthcare organisations, whose cultures in recent decades have largely excluded spirituality or religiousness. This is the consequence of an analytical, scientific perspective on human health; a reductionist paradigm in biomedical research; and the inevitable bureaucratisation occurring in large healthcare organisations.
However, in recent decades, numerous scientific articles supporting a connection between faith or religiousness and positive health outcomes have been published. Because individuals seek meaning when experiencing severe illnesses, and humans universally respond to compassion and caring, spirituality among healthcare workers and managers appears highly appropriate.
The article describes organisational barriers to the greater inclusion of spirituality in healthcare and presents several approaches to developing a more caring organisation. These include eliciting extensive input from all staff and clinicians in identifying core or common values, ethics, and a philosophy of caring. Programs should ensure that the views of nonreligious staff and patients are respected and that clear guidelines are established for the extent and nature of affective or spiritual support for patients.
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