Healthcare Provider and Faith Diversity: Native American Spirituality, Buddhism, and Sikhism

Case Study: Healing and Autonomy
August 27, 2022
August 29, 2022

Healthcare Provider and Faith Diversity: Native American Spirituality, Buddhism, and Sikhism


This paper outlines an explicit view on the following diverse faiths in regard to healthcare provision: Native American spirituality, Buddhism, and Sikhism. It also elaborates on the spiritual perspective on healing as presented by the three faiths. The various ways of healing are also elaborated. These include meditating, trusting on healers, and praying among others. The perceptions of the healthcare providers and those that are cared for in reference to their diverse faiths are also addressed. The paper addresses the concerns of those cared for whether faith or healing is important. Secondary sources of data played a vital role in the extraction of information based on the Christian philosophy of faith compared to these three diverse faiths.


Healthcare providers encounter different people with diverse faiths when providing health care to patients. Therefore, they need to understand the roles of religion in providing healthcare services. It is evident that the diversity of faith in different people should be appreciated by all practitioners. The patients should also appreciate the religious background of the practitioners attending them. After analyzing the teachings of these faiths, the healthcare providers should be able to handle patients during the entire career.

Native American spirituality

The Native Americans do not consider spirituality as a religion even though they believe in spirits. They believe in spiritual healing. These people believe that their healing processes depend on the animal offerings, the use of herbs, the power of prayer, and the spirits that live among them. This conviction is different from many faiths in the world.

On their spiritual healing, these people believe that a person is healed physically only when his/her spirit is healed. In this light, they have special people who perform the function of a medicine-person. They argue that healing arises from one’s harmony with his/her body and the entire soul and mind. Healing is not effective until one believes that it is possible to be healed. This means that anybody who seeks physical healing must be attended by the spiritual healer prior to the physical healing. This shows how their belief in spiritual healing plays a great role in their physical treatment (Prieto, 2008).

The Native Americans also believe in prayers before they use herbs to cure diseases. They have spiritual helpers who intercede for them. This means that the spiritual helpers provide them with guidance and wisdom. Their totems provide energy, courage and wisdom to their spirits.

In the Native American, all these aspects of healing are clearly seen as contrary to those of other faiths including Christianity as they turn to God in all matters pertaining to health. Consequently, Native Americans give the healthcare providers a hard time during the treatment. This is due to their strong belief in spiritual cleansing before physical healing.


Buddhism is not only based on doctrines but also on spiritual practice. There are several fundamentals beliefs that are acceptable by the Buddhists. They are referred to as the Four Noble Truths (Side & Thupten, 1997). According to Side and Thupten (1997), these noble truths touch on the existence and the cause of suffering. The two notable truths are meditation and care about any living creature. Some Buddhists believe that people who become ill are those who are not focused. They believe that whenever diseases attack them, they can only be cured through meditation and use of herbs. Buddhists work harder in times of illness since they believe that their spiritual growth comes through struggle. Birth control measures are acceptable, but abortion is regarded as killing. They criticize modernization of the health systems, such as the use of modern Intensive Care Units (ICU’s), and believe that these systems are ill-suited for their patients.

Since Buddhists believe in meditation (Ospina, 2009) and herbs as the only cure to their diseases, a Christian care provider will have a difficult time handling such patients. Prescription of western medicines to them is unacceptable since they believe that the drugs will weaken their immune systems. Sick believers require a quiet place to meditate. This means that a health provider taking care of the patients should avoid noise and harsh lights.

Buddhists believe that peace of mind to meditate and administering herbs to boost their immunity are the most important aspects during healthcare services. This implies that they only value the work of healthcare providers from a religion giving them what is acceptable. Since Buddhists believe that sickness and death are inherited in life itself, they appreciate the truth about any diagnosis conducted by healthcare providers. Therefore, they accept all the medical examination results, prognosis, and treatment effects.

The healthcare providers who attend to patients irrespective of faith have received numerous criticisms from various religions. Some patients appreciate the work of such people while others perceive them as hypocrites. It is upon the healthcare providers from different religions, such as Christianity, to accept such patients.


This faith was founded by Guru Nanak Dev of India and believes in God alone. The fundamental beliefs of Sikhism are sincerity, sharing with the poor, helping others, independence and meditation (Grant & Mansell, 2008). They believe that one can become very close to God through reincarnation. Sikhs believe that having uncut hair is a clear indication of spirituality.

They value Western medicine as well as herbs. They are against the use of illegal drugs, alcohol and cigarettes (Grant & Mansell, 2008). Sikhs believe that these drugs will make them live a different life rather than that of God’s way.

Sikhs strongly believe in prayers. They know that God’s will is the key thing in their healing. This is a similar belief to that of Christians who also believe in prayers to God in times of illness.

The Sikhs have a different approach on how they are served by the healthcare providers. A Sikh avoids any cure that requires the elimination of body hair (Grant & Mansell, 2008). Sikhs also share some beliefs with the Christians. They both allow blood transfusion. Any attempt by the healthcare providers to get any information concerning sexual issues of a patient may not be possible among Sikh believers. They consider such issues as very private to be shared with anyone. Abortion, which is considered evil by Buddhists, is permitted in Sikhism during incidents of medical requirement.

The food that Sikhs should eat is also a factor to be considered by the practitioners (Grant & Mansell, 2008). The healthcare providers should also know the importance of the three books of prayer. For instance, the books should not be placed near a dustbin or under other material placed on it.

The nurses should understand the Sikhs’ 5 Ks which are; Kesh-uncut hair, Kara-a steel bracelet, Kanga-a wooden comb, Kaccha-cotton small, and the Kirpan-a steel sword. This will enable them attend to Sikhs with ease. Surprisingly, Sikhs prefer healthcare providers based in hospitals recognized by Guru Nanak’s as their faith will be recognized in such hospitals. However, this does not imply that they will not accept medical practitioners from other faiths.


This analysis depicts a strong belief that healthcare providers have experienced difficulties when ensuring proper performance of their duties. However, the roles of religion in societies must be appreciated. Their most important attribute is that all advocate for healthy living. Therefore, the healthcare providers should be trained in all aspects of religion before they start practicing.


Grant, N., & Mansell, D. (2008). A guidebook to religious and spiritual practices for people who work with people. New York: I Universe.

Ospina, M. (2009). Meditation practices for health: State of the research. Darby, PA: Diane Publishing.

Prieto, E. (2008). Home health care provider: A guide to essential skills. New York: Springer Pub. Co.

Side, D., & Thupten, G. (1997). The four noble truths: fundamentals of the Buddhist teachings. London: Thorsons.