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Caring Science and Islamic Philosophy of Care

Our current featured article is titled “Embodying Caring Science as Islamic Philosophy of Care: Implications for Nursing Practice” authored by Salma Juma Almukhaini, MSN; Lisa Goldberg, PhD, RN; and Jean Watson, PhD, AHN-BC, FAAN.  The article is available to download at no cost while it is featured, so we invite you to read the article and share your comments and responses in the “comment” section below!  Here is a message about this work from the primary author, Salma Almukhaini:

Salma Juma Almukhaini

The idea of writing this article started during my first semester, fall 2018, as a PhD student at the School of Nursing at Dalhousie University, Canada. I am an international student from Oman. I completed my Bachelor of Science in Nursing in Oman and my Master of Science in Nursing in the United States of America. During fall 2018, I was enrolled in the “Contemporary views of Nursing Science: philosophy, research, and practice” course, coordinated by Dr. Lisa Goldberg. The second class of the course was about understanding Caring Science. That was my first time to know about the Caring Science. That class was inspirational for me in so many ways. It inspired me to reflect on how I, as a nurse, provide care to my patients! What is the caring philosophy underpinning my nursing care! Despite the various caring theories that I have learned about in nursing schools, I knew that what guides my caring practice is my religion” Islam “ and the Islamic principles. I knew that Islam for other Muslims and me is not just a religion. It is a philosophy of life that guides every aspect of it. It guides how Muslim patients perceive their illnesses and how they act during such times. As a Muslim nurse, my love toward God ”Allah” is my main driver when I provide care to my patients, their families, others in my everyday life, and even when I provide care to myself.

The class inspired me to ask the question, “ what is the Islamic philosophy of care? And Is there any?. It inspired me to think more about the caring science, its philosophy, and the ten Caritas processes. I like Caring Science because it provides practical guides, through the ten Caritas processes, for nurses and teaches them how to provide genuine and authentic care and love to their patients. It asks nurses to transcend their egos to build a healing environment for their patients.

What was interesting is that I noticed many similarities between Caring Science and how I provide care based on Islam. At the same time, I realized that the God “Allah” who is central in Muslim patients’ lives is not well acknowledged in the Caring Science. The healing environment for Muslims can hardly be established without recognizing the importance of God “Allah” in Muslim patients’ lives, especially during illnesses and hard times.

I had a discussion with Dr. Goldberg about how Caring Science and Islam are similar in many ways and different in few. She encouraged me to read more about the Islamic philosophy of care and to compare it with the Caring Science. She further challenged me to go beyond that and think about how Caring Science could be aligned with the Islamic philosophy of care.

This topic was super interesting for me because Islam is now the most growing religion, and Muslims are all over the globe. Many questions came to my mind, such as how non-Muslim nurses could provide comprehensive care for Muslim patients if they are not aware of their unquie needs during illnesses, what illnesses and hardship mean to them and how these nurses could cultivate their Muslim patients’ self-care, and how they could build the healing environment for them?.

This article answers all the aforementioned questions. It thoroughly describes what Islamic philosophy of care is and what Caring Science is. It provides a holistic comparison, summarizing both similarities and differences, between the Islamic philosophy of care and the Caring Science (Table provided). In brief, both philosophies acknowledge the importance of self-care, human to human care, human to universe care, and verse versa. Unique to the Islamic philosophy of care is God “Allah” care. Additionally, both agreed that humans consist of physical, mental, and spiritual dimensions. According to the Islamic philosophy of care, in addition to these dimensions, Muslims have an ideological dimension. This dimension entitles that humans have duties toward God”Allah” and fulfilling that duties is the way to seek God’s care, which is fundamental for Muslims.

However, the article did not stop with the comparison; it goes beyond that to show how the two philosophies could be aligned. By embodying the Islamic philosophy of care in the ten Caritas processes of Caring Science, practical guides that could assist nurses, especially non-Muslims, to optimize their care for Muslim patients and provide care that meets their unique needs are summarized.

With the current influx of Muslim refugees and immigrants all over the globe, I could say that this article is timely and will advance nursing knowledge and practice toward Muslim patients. I want to conclude by saying that compassionate, non-judgmental, and patient-centered nursing care is a right for every patient regardless of their background, religion, color, race, or gender. Nursing is caring, and it is our responsibility as nurses to approve that it really is.

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