Nurses play extended role when faced with cultural beliefs

National 1 minute, 50 seconds

BRUNEI-MUARA

MANAGING patients and family members must be done with the utmost respect even when common cultural beliefs involving the supernatural is part of the process, according to a working paper presented during the second national nursing conference.

The working paper entitled, "A Reflective Account of the Concept of Melayu Islam Beraja Implemented at the Neurosurgical/Oral Maxillofacial Ward (Ward 9)" was penned by staff nurse Azharuddin Hj Ahmad.

Despite being absent for the presentation of his working paper, his work was presented by a representative who described the extended roles of nurses in dealing with cultural and religious elements.

"Apart from patients with neurologic-related symptoms such as restlessness, aggression, confusion and loss of consciousness due to the physiological challenges that have taken place, families also have their own beliefs as to why patients behave in such a way," read the paper that stated that there is common belief that the individual may have encountered the supernatural or 'jinn'.

"There are also accounts where they believe that the jinn has entered the patient's soul (and) is the causative factor for the unexplained symptoms."

In such accounts, nurses are to play an extended role where they are to alleviate the present anxiety while providing excellent care and treatment.

The working paper also listed that nurses are to provide reassurance and relevant information that related to the physiologic changes and expected symptoms relating to their ailments.

Additionally, they can inform patients and families of qualified ustaz to provide religious ritual as per request.

With such possibilities, nurses are to understand the 'added value' of the MIB concept in patient care.

Their extended roles also include detecting syiriq; balancing the permissiveness of conducted rituals to avoid causing distress to neighbouring patients, to advocate the patient and family's cultural and religious rituals that are available and permissible; and providing and assisting the patient with their daily routines such as prayer to prevent feelings of despair and loss of autonomy.

The paper provided several recommendations such as working with an ustaz under the Ministry of Health, or if needed, personnel from religious departments to ensure Islamic medicine or rituals are recognised while also having a legitimate hadith as a point of reference.

The Brunei Times