Nursing the Spirit: Care, Public Life, and the Dignity of Vulnerable Strangers (Paperback)

Nursing the Spirit: Care, Public Life, and the Dignity of Vulnerable Strangers By Don Grant Cover Image

Nursing the Spirit: Care, Public Life, and the Dignity of Vulnerable Strangers (Paperback)

Email or call for price & availability

Illness and death have always raised profound spiritual concerns. However, today most people experience suffering and treatment in hospitals and other impersonal, bureaucratic facilities whose employees are expected to follow scientific, rationalized norms of behavior. How do professional caregivers--the nurses and other workers who tend to patients--navigate between science and spirituality?

Don Grant investigates the subtle ways that nurses at an academic medical center incorporate spirituality into their care work. Based on extensive fieldwork and an in-depth survey on spirituality, this book finds that many nurses see themselves as responsible for not only patients' physical health but also their spiritual well-being. They believe they are able to reconcile science and spirituality through storytelling and claim that they can provide more spiritual care than chaplains. However, nurses rarely talk about religion among themselves because they are concerned that their colleagues are uncomfortable discussing spirituality. Nevertheless, by seeking to honor patients' ultimate worth as human beings, many nurses are able to instantiate spiritual values of care.

Grant interweaves his experiences as a hospital volunteer chaplain and a living liver-transplant donor with empirical analyses of nurses' spiritual work. Developing a new understanding of the social significance of religion, Nursing the Spirit recasts the intersection of science and spirituality by centering the perspectives of the people who provide care.
Don Grant is professor of sociology at the University of Colorado, where he is a fellow at the Renewable and Sustainable Energy Institute and directs the Social Innovation and Care, Health, and Resilience programs. He is also a recently ordained minister in the United Church of Christ who works with communities to design programs that address injustices revealed by the pandemic and climate crisis. Grant is a coauthor of Super Polluters: Tackling the World's Largest Sites of Climate-Disrupting Emissions (Columbia, 2020).
Product Details ISBN: 9780231200516
ISBN-10: 023120051X
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Publication Date: May 23rd, 2023
Pages: 272
Language: English