Health Care Diversity

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Integrative Practice
The United States of America is “the most religiously diverse nation in the history” (Winslow, n.d., p. 2). With the immense growth in ethnic populations throughout the country, it is essential for health care practitioners to provide an integrative approach, to include a “whole person” care, as in body, mind and spirit. Any effort to increase the understanding of spiritual diversity and integrate these beliefs into daily standard practice, the patient is presented with opportunity of receiving spiritual sensitive care. Each person’s ideas and degree of spirituality differ, even amongst the same spiritual group or community. Therefore, each person’s care and spiritual involvement will differ. For simplicity, faith is being defined, as a strong belief in something for which there is no proof. Three deep seeded religions that America is being challenged, yet welcoming, into western medicine are the Islamic, Buddhist, and Native American practices. As key elements to each religion unfold and practitioners become more culturally competent and culturally sensitive, the alterations to holistic care will support the complete healing process; that of the body, mind and spirit. Islam is the religion of the Muslim people. This faith is based on the book of the Koran, revelations from the Prophet Muhammad. Islam originated from the Arabic word aslama, which is submission ("The definition of Islam," 2013). Therefore, Islam refers to the submission to the will of God, better known as Allah to the Muslim people. The teachings of Islam come not only from the book of Koran, but portions of the Holy Bible influenced the development of the religion. Today, the Islam faith continues to disagree with the scriptures found in the Holy Bible and has brought much confusion and animosity amongst Americans. This religion is one of the fastest growing in the world. The ignorance that most Americans perceive this religion to encompass must be better understood for acceptance in providing nonbiased health care. “Buddhism is one of the four largest religions in the world” (Winslow, n.d., p. 21). Around the 13th century C.E., Buddhism was introduced to the Thai people and became the foundation to the ways of life, nucleus of thought and political systems. “For Buddhism, a religion that denies the existence of one God or other creators, the world and all existences are believed to have originated from many causes that are governed by the natural law” (Paonil & Sringernyuang, 2002, p. 94). Buddhism is practiced through the application of the Buddha’s Dharma, or truth, with the goal of achieving nirvana, through precept practice and meditation practice. Meditation is the primary means of conditioning the mind from pain and suffering. It is recognized in the last of the “Eightfold Path” (Winslow, n.d., p. 21). Prayer and mantras are others means of daily devotion. Many Americans, excluding the cultural aspects of the religion, have adopted Buddhism. Today, there are more than five hundred Native American Nations, commonly called tribes throughout the United States. Native Americans do not recognize a central figure, such as Muhammad or Buddha, and do not have a book for learning the traditional religious practices. Practices are inherited from the word of the Elders and continue to be passed down from generation to generation. However, as the Native Americans become more “westernized”, many have incorporated the scripture of the Holy Bible and Christianity into their beliefs. The Native Americans recognize a higher power; also referred to as the Great Spirit, as the creator of all nature, include human form (O’Neill, 2004). Native Americans believe everything and everyone is connected and is of one Spirit. Although Native Americans seek modern medicine to aid in illness, the additions of traditional practices extend a sense of security. Founded in the early 1st century A.D., Christianity is the largest...
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