Inaddition to being a religion, Muslims regard Islam as a lifestylewhich promotes forgiveness, mercy, as well as peace. Although Islamacknowledges nursing, there are various rules, practices, andbehaviors which should be put into consideration. Health carepractitioners should have a clear awareness of values and beliefs ofMuslim patients so as to offer best care. The amplification ofAmerican Muslim population means that nurses and practitioners linkedwith health care system would continue to increasingly encounter morepatients requiring care, encompassing those with chronic and acuteterminal illness (Metropolitan Chicago Healthcare Council, 2006).
Muslimsrecognize the separateness of women and men in the entire lifefacets. With regard to this, Muslims choose to receive care frommedical practitioners who are of similar sex and if probable, fromfellow Muslims. According to Islamic teachings, the relationshipbetween women and men is controlled. In the majority of Muslimnations, male medical practitioners provide care towards malepatients, while female medical practitioners provide care towardsfemale patients (Ott, Al-Khadhuri & Al-Junaibi, 2003).Nevertheless, Muslims recognize that receiving care from persons ofthe same sex is not always probable. As a result, a number ofrestrictions are relinquished while performing medical examinations(Nursing Times, 2002). For instance, in case of an emergency state,the main concern is directed towards preventing harm and savinglives, and not on similar gendered care practitioners. Islamicpractices are also used when death of a patient takes place in ahealth care system. For instance, the body should remain covered allthe time. Besides, the body should be touched by care providers ofsimilar sex. Prayers are provided while the Quran is recited by amember of the deceased family (Ott, Al-Khadhuri & Al-Junaibi,2003).
Muslimand non-Muslim nurses are permitted to clean Muslim patients.Nonetheless, social conventions reign with regard to gender, modesty,as well as body parts (Nursing Times, 2002). Social and culturalpermissibility determines what is regarded as acceptable by Muslimsociety. For instance, while offering care, Muslim patients areusually washed or cleaned by a close member of family who is of asimilar sex. Muslims do not regard sickness as Allah’s punishment.During this time, patients seek assistant from Allah with prayer andpatience, plead for forgiveness, and read the Quran more frequently(Metropolitan Chicago Healthcare Council, 2006).
Accordingto Muslims, health care practitioners should understand theirresponsibility about family and patient issues and communicate thesame to the involved parties to enhance critical decision makingprocedures. They should also reassure and console the sick, togetherwith his or her family to enable them acknowledge the state ofillness of their loved one. If probable, practitioners should alsolook after the needs of the family outside the medical facets(Metropolitan Chicago Healthcare Council, 2006).
Ethicistsemploy a variety of principles. They encompass holiness of life,preserving the faith of the patient, mitigation of suffering,respecting the patient’s sovereignty whilst providing optimalmedical care, and being truthful and honest while offering medicalinformation. While providing care to Muslim patients, some of themost significant aspects put forth include the following.
Respecting the privacy and modesty of the patient by knocking the door before entering and announcing one’s arrival.
Avoiding touching while talking
Limiting eye contact
A number of Muslim women prefer to always cover their entire body apart from the face, feet and hands. Besides, several medical examinations may be carried out without the need to remove the gown. As a result, hospice gowns are required to be long enough with lengthy sleeves. Some healthcare systems may lack such clothing, and this implies that they should permit Muslim women to wear their own clothing.
Islam does not prohibit patients from receiving treatment from persons of the opposite sex. Nevertheless, the importance of giving the patient a practitioner or a nurse of similar sex is recommended. This is vital particularly when the patient considers it so. Alternatively, a female patient should be observed by a male practitioner in company of another female or her husband if probable.
(MetropolitanChicago Healthcare Council, 2006)
Accordingto Ott, Al-Khadhuri & Al-Junaibi (2003), parents should ensurethat their sick children are taken to hospital for check up andtreatment. In this case, both parents are necessitated to followmedical as well as nursing recommendations. They should also seekspecialized clinicians who can offer the best care for the children.
Muslimwomen are highly recommended to study and practice nursing. They areencouraged to seek employment in nursing besides offering nursingcare to both non-Muslims and Muslim women inside or outside herfamily. In spite of this there are a number of constraint andconditions which should be considered in her practice. As with allother religions, beliefs and practices of Muslims entail a wide rangeof tradition, devotion, and rituals which differ from one person,community, family or country (Hillary, 2013). This means that Muslimof different countries or continents have different believes as faras the aspect of nursing is concerned. For instance, American Muslimshave different views of nursing compared to Muslims from SaudiArabia. This difference is as a result of integration of AmericanMuslims with other ethnic groups resulting in absorption of somebeliefs. Therefore, asking patients regarding their specific beliefs,values, and practices is considered vital in Islam. In Islam, caringis believed to go beyond the aspect of empathy. It encompasses beingaccountable for, concerned with, and susceptible to the needs of thepatients. According to Hillary (2013), the action of caring is splitinto action, thought, and intention principles. In general, nursingis viewed as a service both to Allah and to the sick. This philosophyis the main encouraging factor for most Muslim nurses andpractitioners.
Muslimwomen nurses or medical practitioners should abide by the conditionsset by sharee’ah. In addition, they should have consent of theirlegal guardian (shar’i). The consent should be given on theprovision that the responsibility towards her husband, children, andhome are not compromised, considering that these are her personalresponsibilities (fard ‘ayn) (Al-Munajjid, 2014). In Islam,personal responsibilities are believed to be of more priority ascompared to serving the community. Muslim women who wish to work innursing should also obtain consent from their husband. Muslim womenworking as general practitioners or doctors are controlled byregulations pointed out in Islamic readings. For instance, whileoffering care to non-mahram man, direct contact or touching should beavoided unless in emergency situations. While working in an absolutehijaab, women are not allowed to remain alone with male patients ortouch their bodies. In a nutshell, during medical treatment, Islamdoes not allow mixing of male and female (Al-Munajjid, 2014).
Ott, B. B., Al-Khadhuri, J., & Al-Junaibi, S. (2003). Preventingethical dilemmas: Understanding Islamic health care practices.Retrieved from http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/457485_2
Hillary,E. (2013). Nursingin Islam.Retrieved fromhttp://www.smvtz.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=65:nursing-in-islam&catid=33&Itemid=329
MetropolitanChicago Healthcare Council (2006).Guidelines for health care providers Interacting with Muslim patientsand their families.Retrieved from http://www.ispi-usa.org/guidelines.htm
NursingTimes (2002). Nursingwith dignity.Part8: Islam.Retrieved fromhttp://www.nursingtimes.net/nursing-with-dignity-part-8-islam/206284.article
Al-Munajjid,S. M. (2014). Rulingon Muslim women working as nurses and doctors.Retrieved from http://islamqa.info/en/286
InitialQuestion: What do Muslims think about nursing?
Question:what are the practices and beliefs of Muslims regarding nursing?
Question: how should healthcare providers interact with Muslim patients andtheir families?