A Phenomenological Study of Non-Muslim Nurses’ Experiences of Caring for Muslim Patients in Saudi Arabia
This study addressed three research objectives related to non-Muslim nurses’ experiences providing health care to Muslim patients in Saudi Arabian hospitals. These objectives included: first, understanding what it is like to care for Muslim patients considering both religion and culture; secondly, exploring what it is like being cared for by non-Muslim nurses. In order to address these objectives, the study has employed a qualitative approach, represented in hermeneutic phenomenology. The target groups in this study were Muslim patients and non-Muslim nurses who were interviewed using interviews and focus group discussions. The study found that religious, cultural and linguistic factors have a negative effect on non-Muslim nurses’ experience of care in Saudi Arabia, which included a personal impact, and a practical impact resulting from working practices. However, the results indicated that nurses had some problems with family members who interfered in decisions related to patients, and that they also encountered disrespect from patients’ relatives and friends. The study results indicated that non-Muslim nurses, to some extent, have an understanding of the different aspects and practices of Islam, such as praying, fasting and spirituality. The study results also revealed a significant relationship between spirituality (Islamic faith) and the provision of health care. Nurses believe that religious and spiritual practices have an effect on care. However, they failed to understand the importance of religion and spirituality to Muslims in general and patients in particular. The lack of training and orientation concerning specific issues of religion and culture negatively affected not only the communication between nurses and patients, but also the provision of health care. It was envisaged that this study would have a positive impact on the delivery of nursing training and education, because it highlights the need to tailor this to specific contexts. The study distinguishes itself from other studies conducted in the same field by investigating non-Muslim nurses’ and Muslim patients’ confusion between religion and culture. The study stressed an overlap between religion and culture in Saudi society, which consequently affected nurses’ provision of health care. It was essential in this study to investigate the differences between religion and culture, to see of non-Muslim nurses would understand religion and culture are not the same; while in some cases they complement one another, in other cases they contradict. Furthermore, the study addressed the issue of professionalism when caring for Muslim patients’ and non-Muslim nurses’ point of view. Although nurses claimed to provide healthcare in professional way, they were not fully aware of Saudi local culture or the impact of religion on patient’s daily life It can be concluded, in general, that non-Muslim nurses are facing challenges to providing healthcare to Saudi Muslim patients, due to a lack of understanding of the importance of cultural values and religious practices, and the lack of training and alignment on such issues.
- PhD