Nurses are involved in the direct care of the patients and therefore play an important role in their treatment and well-being. As the nurses spend the entire day with the patients, they can clearly analyze and observe the needs of the patients and maintain their physical health as well as their spiritual well-being. The International Council of Nurses (ICN) Code for Nurses (2000) specified the role of nurses for promoting ‘an environment in which the human rights, values, customs and spiritual beliefs of the individual, family and community are respected’. Thus, nurses are expected to fulfill all physical, functional, social and spiritual needs of the patients and provide the help and support needed. All these components of patient care are part of best nursing practice models (Vance, 2008).
A sudden diagnosis of a serious, chronic illness like HIV/AIDS can change the lives of not only the patients but also their family members completely. People can question their spiritual values at the time of crisis. This is due to the complications, morbidity and mortality associated with HIV. As the disease progresses, the spiritual distress of the patients and the family increases as they have to go through a number of stressful events and they become frustrated coping up with their disease. Therefore, they have unique spiritual needs which should be identified and fulfilled and nurses are in an ideal position to support, encourage and console the patients and family members.
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