Importance of Spiritual Health in Patient Care

MBF uses tool to integrate spiritual care in partner facilities

“Health is not just the absence of disease, it is a state of physical, psychological, social and spiritual well-being” (World Health Organization, Precis of discussion, 1948).

Increased attention is being paid to providing spiritual care. Over the past 50 years, more and more researchers, healthcare professionals and educators have turned their attention to researching this aspect of care. Their analysis has shown a person’s health and well-being benefit when his or her spiritual needs are addressed within the hospital. Some benefits may include:

  • Shorter hospital stays
  • Improved pain management
  • Improved experience of their stay
  • Improved motivation to complete the tasks needed for healing
  • Improved management of cardiovascular needs i.e. heart rate, blood pressure

How can we best answer the call as healthcare workers, to meet our patient’s spiritual needs when many of us are unsure of how to integrate our faith and practice within the constraints of our daily schedules?

One option is the Saline Process training program. MBF has worked alongside our partners to implement this tool for integrating spiritual care in their hospitals. MBF’s overreaching goal is to develop a core team of trained staff within these facilities who can teach Saline Process, while empowering them to develop a strategy to train all their staff members and eventually, students.

In Matthew 5: 13-16, God calls us to be the salt and light of the world. IHS Global developed the Saline course to train healthcare workers on how to better care for the spiritual needs of their patients. The name comes from saline (or water containing salt), the IV solution administered to rehydrate patients and maintain water and salt levels. Participants are given resources to be salt (saline) and light for Jesus while treating the whole person. Through the course, they are better equipped to show the unconditional love of Christ as they witness to patients and co-workers regarding the truth of God’s Word.

This year, our partners in Malawi have trained over 50 team members. Since starting Saline Process training in April of 2016, MBF sponsored trainings have occurred at our hospital partners in Kenya and Malawi with nearly 200 staff trained and 28 of those have become certified to be Saline trainers.

Next week, our focus will continue on Saline Process training and its impact on nursing as participant experiences are shared.

We welcome your feedback and would love to hear from you regarding nursing news, issues and anything that you are involved in. If you have follow-up questions or suggestions, please email us at  [email protected] to share your information. 

Yours in Nursing,


Lisa D. Cole, MA, RN
MBF Center for Global Nursing Development