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A disaster is a sudden event that seriously disrupts the functioning of a community or society and causes human, material, and economic or environmental losses that exceed the community’s or society’s ability to cope using its own resources. A disasters cause can be either natural or manmade (Maurer & Smith, 2012).

No matter if the disaster is manmade or natural, individuals can be affected both physically and emotionally. Exploring a person’s initial reaction to a disaster can provide insight into some dimensions of his/her spirituality. One’s first reaction usually consist of blame; either blaming the disaster as being human, natural, or related to God. Everyone has a spiritual dimension that motivates, energizes, and influences every aspect of life. Spirituality is a person’s way of being, thinking, choosing, and acting in light of their values (Barlow, 2015).

Although spirituality can differ for individuals, it appears that all people are spiritual beings. Studies have found that there is a connection between spirituality and health improvement. Spirituality can be expressed through ritual, religion, meditation, guided imagery, spending time in nature, and many other forms. Therefore, nurses should address patients/individual’s spirituality along with physical and emotional needs (Barlow, 2015).

Nurses can provide spiritual support by reaching out to individuals in need. Providing support for individuals experiencing pain, suffering, and other needs. Spiritual support can consist of gestures; such as praying, listening, offering reassurance, a simple touch, or perhaps providing a place for rituals. Patients as well as health care provider’s spiritual needs need to be addressed (Barlow, 2015).

Disasters affect all parties involved. It can affect all parties physical, emotionally, and mentally. Everyone’s spirituality should be cared for in order to reach a state of wellbeing. Persons must be cared for as a whole in order to have better outcomes.


Maurer, F. A., & Smith, C. M. (2012). Community/public health nursing practice: Health for families and populations (5th ed.). St. Louis, MO: Saunders Elsevier. ISBN-13: 9781455707621

Barlow, A. (2015). Spirituality in Nursing. Retrieved from

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