Undergraduate Nursing Students’ Spirituality and Perceived Ability to Provide Spiritual Care: A Mixed-Method Study

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Study purpose: This study’s purpose was to explore nursing students’ spirituality and perceived ability to provide spiritual care. Design and methods: A convergent mixed method, cross-sectional design was used. A convenience sample included traditional nursing students in their second quarter (n=53) and final quarter (n=43) attending a faith-based university and accelerated final quarter nursing students (n=45) attending a private secular university from two accredited nursing programs. Quantitative data were analyzed using a pairwise Spearman rank correlation and multivariate analysis of variance. Open ended questions were analyzed using content analysis. Results: Quantitatively, as a student’s spirituality increases, their perceived ability to provide spiritual care decreases. Qualitative findings revealed three categories: guidance to recognize spiritual needs, empathy and openness, and intertwined with religion. Conclusion: Quantitatively, nursing students reported their spirituality did not influence their perceived ability to provide spiritual care. Yet, qualitatively, students reported their spirituality assisted in their ability to provide spiritual care. However, students were unable to differentiate between spirituality and religion. Colleges of nursing need to ensure students learn the art of holistic nursing, which includes spirituality and religion along with opportunities to apply and reflect on their spirituality and perceived ability to provide spiritual care.

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Journal of Holistic Nursing

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