PATIENT Dilemma: Anxiety or Spiritual Distress


Suitable for all levels. Short, versatile format that emphasizes the “art” and ethical aspects of practice. Help your students care and act more like a nurse with a patient who is anxious but may also be experiencing spiritual distress.


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Overview of Dilemma:

When a patient is anxious, could this represent something more than a primary problem of anxiety? In this dilemma, a patient who almost died after surgery is making excellent progress, but something may be wrong. Does his sudden onset of shortness of breath and feelings of anxiety represent a physical, emotional, or a spiritual problem? The nurse needs to think in action and determine the current nursing priority to provide needed care and support.

Key Components:

1. Develop “art” of Nursing

  • By emphasizing importance of caring, compassion, and spiritual care.

2. Develop Ethical Decision Making

  • By applying ethical decision making to real-life dilemmas of practice.

3. Develop Professional Behaviors

  • By emphasizing how a nurse acts as a nursing professional.

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