Faith and spirituality play a considerable part in people’s lives, especially when it comes to some periods in their life. It has been acknowledged that adolescence is the period when individuals’ spiritual values are formed, and these values usually persist in adulthood (Barkin, Miller, & Luthar, 2015). Haley (2014) examines different developmental frameworks as applied to faith development in teenagers. One of the concepts discussed by Haley (2014) is worth close attention. Nurses should consider the concept of three dimensions of faith development (orientation, disorientation, and reorientation).
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The dimension of disorientation is associated with adolescents’ clinical experiences, which is specifically true for patients with chronic conditions. Haley (2014) notes that disorientation occurs when individuals go through some devastating or overwhelming experiences. Learning about a serious health issue or having some clinical procedures are such experiences. During this period, adolescent patients are vulnerable, so nursing professionals should help them cope with the challenge they have to face.
As far as I am concerned, I will pay attention to an adolescent’s faith development who seems to be in the disorientation stage. In order to guide them to the reorientation level, I will first make sure I know a lot about the patient through the review of their history. My further step will involve conversations with the patient based on the results of my review. Some of the opening questions may be as follows. “Right now, do you feel comfortable talking about the higher power that guides people?” Another way to start the conversation can be linked to small talk or a discussion of some news. “Do you think there is the highest meaning in everything happening in the world?”
The conversations I had with a teenage patient were often aimed at her accepting the health issue she would have to cope with. This goal was achieved through the focus on major Christian values. The preliminary spiritual assessment helped me realize that the girl was likely to cherish them. At the same time, I always tried to remain open and encouraged the adolescent to speak freely without confining her answers to a specific domain.
The patient was in the process of transferring from the disorientation dimension to the reorientation stage. Although she did not practice any religion, she positioned herself as Catholic. She did not want to stress the fact that she did not really believe in God, but she often mentioned the highest power.
I believe my input was valuable for the patient and her faith development as she carved some of the spiritual pillars that would be helpful in her adulthood. I have to admit that I found it quite difficult to talk about the spiritual agenda of the patient. One of the most challenging aspects was the choice of the right words and proper moments for the talk. However, I witnessed the favorable effect of these conversations, which was rewarding.
Parks (2018) claims that modern people have to live in a world of information and communication. Adolescents often have little time to contemplate and search for their spiritual path. I tried to focus on the way the patient’s spirituality could help her in her life, especially when it came to health. We also touched upon such topics as life and death, love and hate, and family and peers. I noticed some traces of depression, but I also saw that the patient was becoming more positive, confident, and relaxed during her stay in the hospital.
Barkin, S. H., Miller, L., & Luthar, S. S. (2015). Filling the void: Spiritual development among adolescents of the affluent. Journal of Religion and Health, 54(3), 844-861. Web.
Haley, J. M. (2014). How do adolescents develop faith and how can nurses/nurse practitioners help? Journal of Christian Nursing, 31(2), 120-126. Web.
Parks, S. D. (2018). Faith development. In M. D. Waggoner & N. C. Walker (Eds.), The Oxford handbook of religion and American education (pp. 103-116). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.