Underserved communities encounter a wide range of challenges in their daily lives, with nutrition being a major issue for a majority of these populations. This problem is amplified by the fact that these communities have limited access to fresh food, which makes it problematic to maintain balanced diets. Moreover, the lack of nutritional education reduces the possibility for these communities to sustain the right diet even when they find access to food. Nonetheless, it has been found that health and nutrition education improves dietary habits among low-income elementary and senior students. With this in mind, it is relevant for public health educators and other professionals to invest in nutrition education for underserved communities. Nurses also have a duty to help these communities to observe the right dietary habits. This is in line with the ANA code of ethics, as well as the advice provided by Biblical texts.
Nurses have a critical role to play in ensuring that patients from underserved communities have the right nutritional balance. This is true for both competent patients and patients with advanced conditions like dementia, who may be incapable of making decisions independently (Meier & Ong, 2015). This is in line with one of the fundamental components of ethical nursing, which requires practitioners to heal the whole person (Epstein & Turner, 2015). Nurses are responsible for promoting the physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing of patients. Although patients have the right to determine how they want their treatment, nurses have the duty of ensuring that they are mentally sound when they make these decisions (Epstein & Turner, 2015). Regardless of the mental status of patients, it is the duty of nurses to promote their physical wellbeing with the right nutritional advice. This is particularly relevant for underserved communities who may have limited education and knowhow on the right diet.
As a Christian nurse, it is important to seek the advice of Biblical text in order to determine the right way to go about nourishing the body. According to 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, it is stated that our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit. Thus, it is the duty of a Christian to take proper care of their bodies as they owe it to God to stay well nourished. This factor should inform a nurse’s practice. Considering that a nurse serves God by taking care of patients, he/she is mandated to help patients keep their bodies nourished as necessitated by the scripture. Thus, it is not enough for a Christian nurse to serve her nursing duties – he/she should go over and beyond in ensuring that patients’ bodies are well maintained, as they are temples of the Holy Spirit.
Another useful Biblical text that should benefit nurses in their practice is Proverbs 23:20-21. Here, King Solomon advises Christians to not be drunkards or gluttonous eaters of meat, as these habits lead to poverty. Nurses should make helping patients to overcome drunkenness a priority. This is particularly true for underserved communities, where substance abuse is commonplace. In accordance with the advice offered in the Bible, nurses should also take the initiative of warning patients against consuming red meat in large quantities.
Nurses have a duty to uphold the welfare of patients. Complying with ANA code of ethics stipulates that a nurse should promote the physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing of patients. To do this, nurses ought to help patients to make the right dietary choices. This is particularly true for underserved communities who may not have enough education on the same. Moreover, Christian nurses consult Biblical advice in order to determine the right way to take care of the bodies of patients.
Epstein, B., & Turner, M. (2015). The nursing code of ethics: Its value, its history. OJIN: The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, 20(2), 1-10.
Meier, C. A., & Ong, T. D. (2015). To feed or not to feed? A case report and ethical analysis of withholding food and drink in a patient with advanced dementia. Journal of pain and symptom management, 50(6), 887-890.