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Religion, spirituality, or faith is one of the vital factors defining the culture and belief systems of people throughout the world. However, faith is often ignored in the medical field mainly because as doctors undergo their education and training, they are groomed to embrace a scientist's mindset when looking at things or patient conditions. Being a Christian and having been mentored spiritually, however, I feel that I am empowered to incorporate religion into my professional practice in chiropractic although some Christian values and ethical values might affect my profession.
Christian belief systems have molded my belief system, and I strongly believe in respect for life. Life is sacred and is given by God. It is only God who can take it back. Life is a treasure and God's most beautiful creation. In fact, God created man in His likeness, so we are supposed to treat life as being sacred and a reflection of God's image (Genesis 1:27). As such, my Christian belief system informs me that while practicing medicine, I should treat patients fairly. My focus will be protecting the life that has been created by God. I should not deny patients access to appropriate medical treatment or services as long as they are aimed at protecting life. Also, the Christian belief system that emphasizes the importance of life has encouraged me to be compassionate of the patient and never to cause distress. I will be practicing in a compassionate manner understanding the pain that the patient is already undergoing and that he or she has sought medical care to relieve the pain.
Also, being a Christian, I strongly believe in faith as a source of healing. There is a link between religion and healing. In fact, research has confirmed that prayer has value in healing process (Levin, 2016). For example, patients who pray together with the doctor or are prayed for show better recovery. The Bible encourages us as Christians to pray over the sick and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. We are supposed to offer such prayers in faith, and the Lord tells us that the sick shall be healed (James 5:14-15). There is no doubt that God heals and this reminds me that I should take prayer as part of my medical practice. If the patient is a Christian, I will gladly ask him or her to pray together and have faith in God that He will heal. However, if the patient is not a Christian, I will secretly pray for him or her, and in my faith, God will heal those that go through my hands as they seek to recover their strength.
Also, Christianity has impacted some values in my profession which I believe are good for me and my patients. These include hope, empathy, love, grace, service, and joy. Hope is what keeps us going and perhaps the engine behind medicine. For me, I will enthusiastically treat patients because I am hopeful that they will be healed and they will live a better life. Empathy is another core value that Christianity has cultivated in me. Empathy, in medical practice, is essential in enhancing the quality of patient-physician relationship for better patient outcomes (Eikeland, Ornes, Finset & Pedersen, 2014). I will embrace empathy to relate better to the patients and help them recover as quick as possible. Moreover, grace shall be a driving force in my practice which will power me to provide the patients with more than they deserve because Christianity is service to humanity. Likewise, service as part of my values will help me in focusing on the patient needs as I step out of self-centeredness into considering the feelings and lives of others. Service will allow me to realize the needs of others as being important as those of me. Besides, joy will be a value that shall enable me to enjoy my service to patients as well as making me create happiness with the patients. Joy will allow me to bring hope to patients by helping them see the different side of gloomy life they may have been forced into by illness.
Nonetheless, my Christian faith may put me into conflicting scenarios especially where advocating for patient access to appropriate medication comes into crossroads with ethical issues in medicine. For example, in chiropractic medicine, there are issues of stem cell which involve destroying the life of an embryo to save the life of a patient through therapy. While I value the life of the patient, Christian faith does not allow me to interfere with another life, and I think to resolve such ethical issues, I shall follow the Christian worldview regarding such medical practices.
It is clear that my Christian faith will have a huge impact on my practice. The Christian belief system shall help me embrace the beauty of life and tirelessly protect it through service to patients. Also, my belief in faith and healing shall be of value to my profession as shall incorporate prayer in healing. Equally, the Christian values that I have developed will be helpful in serving the patients in the most humane manner and in appreciation of the need to help them end suffering and come back to good health.
Eikeland, H. L., Ornes, K., Finset, A., & Pedersen, R. (2014). The physician's role and empathy-a qualitative study of third year medical students. BMC medical education, 14(1), 165.
Levin, J. (2016). Partnerships between the faith-based and medical sectors: Implications for preventive medicine and public health. Preventive medicine reports, 4, 344-350.
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