Effective nursing leadership is the most important factors influencing maintenance of quality nursing care. Nurses need good communication and personal skills, ability and willingness to reflect upon and assess the effectiveness of their practice to tailor their nursing care to particular needs of individuals and their families. Additionally, it is also necessary that nurses ensure their practice respects and safeguards the privacy, dignity and emotional well being of the individual. Respecting the patients religious believes and communicating on the basis of these believes aids in creating an environment congenial for treatment. Therefore, it is essential for nurses to understand the cultural and religious diversity.
It is important to understand that diversity is all about understanding, respecting and valuing differences based on ethnicity, gender, color, age, race, religion, disability, national origin and sexual orientation. Nurses need to have a good knowledge of these diversities and use it to improve their communication skills. There are several researchers who have emphasized the need to educate nurses in spiritual care (Stranahan, 2001; Ross, 2006). In fact, researchers have identified nurses' attitudes towards their clients' spirituality as an important component of spiritual care and has it impact on their competency (Leeuwen and Cusveller, 2004; McSherry, 2006). There are also several studies that point out that the way a nurse relates to their own spirituality is an important predictor of the quality of the spiritual care they will provide to their clients (Highfield et al., 2000; Wasner, 2005).
There are several guidelines prepared for the purpose of guiding nurses to provide the highest standards of patient care within a diverse society. Spiritual needs are of prime importance in these guidelines. The first and foremost aspect to remember is that all patients should be treated equally, regardless of religion, gender, race or creed. Nurses need to give their clients free access to religious support with the prospect to practice their chosen religion when they are in the hospital.
Even as the patient is admitted to the hospital, it is the duty of the nurses to completely and accurately fill in details including the patient's religious beliefs. In case of certain orthodox clients it is important to consult the individual and/or their family about their special needs. Nurses should ensure appropriate dietary requirements and is important to contact the pantry department to make necessary arrangements. There are times when some patients will want to fast as part of their religious rituals, and it is important to make necessary arrangements for food outside the fasting period. For instance, if a patient belongs to Buddhist community, they encourage its followers to practice non-violence and be vegetarian. Hospital management and the nurses should help the patient get nutritious vegetarian diets.
Nurses during admission procedures, medical examination, treatment and ward rounds, need to give priority to the patient's privacy. There are occasions when it may be necessary to provide a place that is more private and where conversations cannot be overheard by others. For instance, a Christian client may request for a confession