Benchmark – Patient’s Spiritual Needs: Case Analysis – healing and autonomy case study

In the light of the Christian worldview, nursing should be focused on providing total care on every aspect of the individual patient. This means that nurses should provide holistic and spiritual guided care that draws on the patient’s faith in God and how God relates to…

In addition to the topic study materials, use the chart you completed and questions you answered in the Topic 3 about \”Case Study: Healing and Autonomy\” as the basis for your responses in this assignment.
Answer the following questions about a patient\’s spiritual needs in light of the Christian worldview.
In 200-250 words, respond to the following: Should the physician allow Mike to continue making decisions that seem to him to be irrational and harmful to James, or would that mean a disrespect of a patient\’s autonomy? Explain your rationale.
In 400-500 words, respond to the following: How ought the Christian think about sickness and health? How should a Christian think about medical intervention? What should Mike as a Christian do? How should he reason about trusting God and treating James in relation to what is truly honoring the principles of beneficence and nonmaleficence in James\’s care?
In 200-250 words, respond to the following: How would a spiritual needs assessment help the physician assist Mike determine appropriate interventions for James and for his family or others involved in his care?
Remember to support your responses with the topic study materials.
While APA style is not required for the body of this assignment, solid academic writing is expected, and documentation of sources should be presented using APA formatting guidelines, which can be found in the APA Style Guide, located in the Student Success Center.
This assignment uses a rubric. Please review the rubric prior to beginning the assignment to become familiar with the expectations for successful completion.
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Benchmark Information
This benchmark assignment assesses the following programmatic competencies:
BS in Health Sciences 1.2; BS Nursing (RN to BSN ) 5.2
Assess for the spiritual needs and provide appropriate interventions for individuals, families, and groups.


Case Study: Healing and Autonomy

Mike and Joanne are the parents of James and Samuel, identical twins born 8 years ago. James is currently suffering from acute glomerulonephritis, kidney failure. James was originally brought into the hospital for complications associated with a strep throat infection. The spread of the A streptococcus infection led to the subsequent kidney failure. James’s condition was acute enough to warrant immediate treatment. Usually cases of acute glomerulonephritis caused by strep infection tend to improve on their own or with an antibiotic. However, James also had elevated blood pressure and enough fluid buildup that required temporary dialysis to relieve.

The attending physician suggested immediate dialysis. After some time of discussion with Joanne, Mike informs the physician that they are going to forego the dialysis and place their faith in God. Mike and Joanne had been moved by a sermon their pastor had given a week ago, and also had witnessed a close friend regain mobility when she was prayed over at a healing service after a serious stroke. They thought it more prudent to take James immediately to a faith healing service instead of putting James through multiple rounds of dialysis. Yet, Mike and Joanne agreed to return to the hospital after the faith healing services later in the week, and in hopes that James would be healed by then.

Two days later the family returned and was forced to place James on dialysis, as his condition had deteriorated. Mike felt perplexed and tormented by his decision to not treat James earlier. Had he not enough faith? Was God punishing him or James? To make matters worse, James’s kidneys had deteriorated such that his dialysis was now not a temporary matter and was in need of a kidney transplant. Crushed and desperate, Mike and Joanne immediately offered to donate one of their own kidneys to James, but they were not compatible donors. Over the next few weeks, amidst daily rounds of dialysis, some of their close friends and church members also offered to donate a kidney to James. However, none of them were tissue matches.

James’s nephrologist called to schedule a private appointment with Mike and Joanne. James was stable, given the regular dialysis, but would require a kidney transplant within the year. Given the desperate situation, the nephrologist informed Mike and Joanne of a donor that was an ideal tissue match, but as of yet had not been considered—James’s brother Samuel.

Mike vacillates and struggles to decide whether he should have his other son Samuel lose a kidney or perhaps wait for God to do a miracle this time around. Perhaps this is where the real testing of his faith will come in? Mike reasons, “This time around it is a matter of life and death. What could require greater faith than that?”


Question 1

In the light of the Christian worldview, nursing should be focused on providing total care on every aspect of the individual patient. This means that nurses should provide holistic and spiritual guided care that draws on the patient’s faith in God and how God relates to us as both spiritual and physical beings. Nursing interventions also ought to be formulated in a manner that they uphold the spiritual needs, help patients to connect and complete the procedures successfully, respect their privacy, reassure, comfort and employ observation of religious beliefs and integrate them in care.

In this case, the physician should allow Mike to continue making decisions that seem to him to be irrational and harmful to James. This is in accordance with the autonomy principle and as well the Christian worldview that is focused on respecting the spiritual needs of the patient. As such, the patient’s faith in God should guide the physicians practice. However, the physician should clearly explain the consequences of this decision as earlier observed on the patient. Moreover, James is the patient’s father and has a legal right to decide on James’s behalf regarding the kind of treatment he should receive. Therefore, regardless of the consequences, the physician is legally and ethically bound to respect the autonomy, dignity and respect for the beliefs and demands of the patient delivered through the father.

Question 2

Christian think about sickness and health as Gods will, suffering, punishment, a way to manifest God’s power over creation and triumph after suffering. For instance, Christians believe that there is always a reason for everything including illnesses, pain and suffering and that there exists a time and a season for everything that happens to humans (Ecclesiastes 3:1-3 ESV). This is to mean that illnesses are God’s plan that come with His timing and can only be healed at the right time set by God. They also perceive sicknesses as a punishment for sins committed (Romans 5:12) (Orr, 2015). On the other hand, spiritual healing is considered to be God’s manifestation of his powers over all evil after repentance and forgiveness of sin (Exodus 15:26). Therefore, sickness and health are God’s purpose for one’s life.

According to Christians, seeking medical intervention is allowed. According to Matthew (9:12), Jesus notes that the ailing need a physician. The Bible also refers to Jesus as the mighty physician meaning that Christians should derive the guidelines of treatment from the biblical principles which emphasize on healing through faith (Orr, 2015). In this case, I presume that the combination of spiritual and medical faith can produce positive outcomes on the patients.

As a Christian, Mike should hold his faith in God and expecting for his son’s healing. He should offer prayers in faith according to James (5:15 NIV) which states that, “And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up” (Mariottini, 2018). He should also follow the example of the woman who prayed for his severely ill son who dies and was eventually raised by Elijah through faithful prayers (1 Kings 17:20). However, he should understand that not all illnesses are healed spiritually considering that God does not always promise healing. In reference to Paul’s sickness with a thorn in his flesh and Elisha whom God refused to heal even with prayers offered in faith (2 Corinthians 12:7-9; 2 Kings 13:14).

Therefore, sound reasoning in James’s case should allow to also let James undergo the kidney transplant since his health was deteriorating as he continued to offer prayers in faith to ask God for healing. This still makes him a trusting Christian who incorporates both the spiritual and medical aspects of healing to save the life of His son since Jesus approves of medical attention for the sick and prayers do not always guarantee healing. By seeking medical intervention, he will uphold both beneficence and non-maleficence as he seek to cause no harm to James but rather benefit him by restoring his health.

Question 3

A spiritual needs assessment is a basis for provision of spiritual and effective care. It assists the nurse in holistic nursing care planning by allowing patients to identify spiritual resources, practices and beliefs that may impact their health positively.  However, the assessment discourages nurses from attempting to get patients to agree with them on specific issues and as well, prayers should not be a spiritual assessment goal. Open Invite, HOPE questions and FICA spiritual assessment tools are effective in eliciting the thoughts of the patient on the topic (Fitchett et al., 2019).

In this case, a spiritual needs assessment will help the physician assist Mike determine appropriate interventions for James and for his family or others involved in his care.  This will entail offering patients support through emphasis on empathetic listening, encouraging them to utilize spiritual traditions and communities resources for overall wellness, integrating patient’s faith precepts into treatment plans and also documenting spiritual preferences for future visits. The physician’s relationship with the patient, Mike and the family will also be strengthened thus providing an opportunity for growth, resiliency and personal renewal which could facilitate effective communication. On the other hand, spiritual assessment will promote the formulation of a comprehensive treatment plan for James which respects both the spiritual and medical needs.




Fitchett, G., Hoffmeyer, C., Labuschagne, D., Lee, A., Pierson, A. L. H., Pugliese, K., & Levine, S. (2019). A Quantifiable Spiritual Assessment Model in Palliative Care: Putting Two and Two Together for Improved Spiritual Care (TH320). Journal of Pain and Symptom Management57(2), 374.

Mariottini, C. (2018). A Christian Perspective on Illness. Dr. Claude Mariottini – Professor of Old Testament. Retrieved from

Orr, R. D. (2015). Incorporating spirituality into patient care. AMA journal of ethics17(5), 409-415.

The Bible Project . (2018, May April ). To understand sacrifice, we must understand evil. Retrieved from