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Keywords

 

Authors

  1. Grant, Don PhD

Abstract

Researchers have performed limited studies regarding what nurses believe spirituality can do for their patients, the spiritual services they have offered, and under what circumstances. Because much of the extant research has only examined nurses involved in terminal care at different hospitals, it remains unclear upon which shared ideas and practices might nursing staff create a culture of spiritual care within a hospital. To address this situation, this study reports findings from a survey of bedside nurses at a university hospital.

 

Researchers have written much about the need to reintroduce spirituality in nursing, 1,2 calling it the "cornerstone of holistic nursing practice." 3 Less is known about what everyday nurses think of the matter. In particular, scant information exists regarding how nurses believe spirituality can help their patients, the spiritual services they have offered them, and under what specific circumstances. Studies also tend to examine a limited number of possible benefits, therapies, and situations, 4-6 focusing mainly on nurses involved in terminal care at different hospitals. 7,8 As a result, it remains unclear on what shared ideas and practices a nursing staff might create a culture of spiritual care within a hospital.

 

To begin to address this situation, we surveyed bedside nurses at a university hospital, seeking answers to the following questions:

 

1. What do nurses from the same hospital think are the benefits of spirituality for their patients?

 

2. What spiritual therapies, if any, have they provided or made available to patients?

 

3. Under what circumstances do they think spiritual interventions are appropriate?

 

 

Unlike previous studies, the goal here is not to advance a new paradigm of nursing, 9-12 develop new psychometric instruments for assessing spiritual needs, 13 or even define elusive concepts like spirituality. 14 Rather, the aim is more exploratory and sociological in nature-to provide new descriptive data on what an entire staff of nurses thinks about the efficacy of spirituality, the types of spiritual therapies they use, and when.