1. Schoonover-Shoffner, Kathy

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How do religious nurses share their beliefs at the bedside? Concerns have been expressed about nurses assuring patients' desire and consent to talk about spiritual matters (Puchalski & Ferrell, 2010; Taylor, 2011, 2012) and about religious nurses sharing their faith at work (i.e., Barnum, 2011; Ufema, 2004). Christian nurses have gotten in trouble for sharing their beliefs with patients (Alderson, 2009; McCormick, 2009). But what is really happening at the bedside? When nurses talk about religion with patients, what do they think is appropriate? Are there certain aspects of nurses' religion, such as their prayer experience, that affects how they give spiritual care?

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Interest in spirituality is growing, publicly and in nursing (Timmins & McSherry, 2012). Nurses are supposed to give holistic care of body, mind, and spirit. Spiritual care is part of basic professional nursing education (American Association of Colleges of Nursing, 2008) and The Joint Commission (2015) encourages accommodation of patients' religious and spiritual beliefs. Yet evidence suggests spiritual care by nurses doesn't happen with regularity (Chan, 2010; Delgado, 2015). How often do nurses actually give spiritual care, and what part does their faith play?


I've pondered these questions with colleagues for years, wondering what's going on in the real world of nursing practice. We thought, Nurses can't just leave their religion in a locker when at work. How do their beliefs impact their practice? We decided to look for answers by asking as many nurses as we could about their spiritual care and religious beliefs. Specifically, we designed a study to ask nurses:


1. How frequently do you provide spiritual care? What interventions do you use the most?


2. What are your opinions about the appropriateness of talking about religion with patients?


3. What are your personal religious practices and beliefs?



Now we'd like to ask you to participate! You can share your thoughts and opinions by taking an online survey that aims to answer these questions. You can participate even if you are not very religious, just as long as you have some spiritual beliefs. And you can be any kind of nurse, just as long as you are presently working as a nurse somewhere.


Why be a part of this study? By sharing your views, you'll help inform nurse leaders and educators about what nurses think and do in the area of spiritual care. You may also find yourself thinking more deeply about your own faith and nursing practice. Completing all of the questions in our survey (about 30 minutes' worth) will earn you 40% off membership in Nurses Christian Fellowship USA or a 50% discount with Lippincott on your next subscription to JCN.


If you'd like to take the survey, go to and look for the box "Religion at the Bedside," where you'll find a link to more information and the survey. Thanks for your consideration!


Alderson A. (2009, January 31). Nurse suspended for offering to pray for elderly patient's recovery. Telegraph. Retrieved from[Context Link]


American Association of Colleges of Nursing. (2008). The essentials of baccalaureate education for professional nursing practice. Retrieved from[Context Link]


Barnum B. S. (2011). Spirituality in nursing: The challenges of complexity (3rd ed.). New York, NY: Springer. [Context Link]


Chan M. F. (2010). Factors affecting nursing staff in practising spiritual care. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 19(15-16), 2128-2136. [Context Link]


Delgado C. (2015). Nurses' spiritual care practices: Becoming less religious? Journal of Christian Nursing, 32(2), 116-122. doi:10.1097/CNJ.0000000000000158 [Context Link]


McCormick C. (2009, April 15). Nurse petitions to regain Hyannis hospital position. Retrieved from[Context Link]


Puchalski C. M., Ferrell B. (2010). Making health care whole: Integrating spirituality into patient care. West Conshohocken, PA: Templeton. [Context Link]


Taylor E. J. (2011). Spiritual care: Evangelism at the bedside? Journal of Christian Nursing, 28(4), 194-202. [Context Link]


Taylor E. J. (2012). Religion: A clinical guide for nurses. New York, NY: Springer. [Context Link]


The Joint Commission. (2015). The Joint Commission E-dition: Standard RI.01.01.01 The hospital accommodates the patient's right to religious and other spiritual services. Washington, DC: Author. [Context Link]


Timmins F., McSherry W. (2012). Spirituality: The Holy Grail of contemporary nursing practice. Journal of Nursing Management, 20(8), 951-957. doi:10.1111/jonm.12038 [Context Link]


Ufema J. (2004). "Are you saved?" Insights on death & dying: Religious beliefs. Nursing, 34(9), 29. [Context Link]