A Willingness to Go There: Nurses and Spiritual Care
Aims and objectives: To describe rural and urban palliative/hospice care nurses’ communication strategies while providing spiritual care for patients and families at end of life.
Design: This qualitative study used Braun and Clarke's thematic analysis method.
Methods: As part of a larger multimethod study, this study shares the narrative descriptions from 10 experienced palliative/hospice care nurses. Individual, face-to-face interviews were conducted and lasted 45–60 minutes. Each interview started with the same lead-in questions, was audio-recorded and was transcribed verbatim. The research team used an inductive analysis approach and met several times reviewing and analysing the detected themes until reaching consensus.
Results: The primary theme, sentience includes the capacity to act, a willingness to enter into the unknown and the ability to have deep meaningful conversations with patients regardless of the path it may yield. Subthemes include: (i) Willingness to Go There, (ii) Being in “A” Moment and (iii) Sagacious Insight.
Conclusion: Nurses are integral in the provision of spiritual care for patients/families across the lifespan and at end of life. Nurses must feel confident and competent before they are willing to enter uncomfortable spaces with patients/families. Nursing curriculum must include purposeful engagement and focused debriefing in spiritual assessment and care.
Relevance to clinical practice: There is a dire need to prepare undergraduate and graduate students to assess and support a patient's spiritual needs. Addressing spiritual care content as a clinical and educational priority will promote a patient-centred approach for spiritual care and can further shape nursing curricula, policies, guidelines and assessment tools.
Journal of Clinical Nursing
DOI of Published Version
Minton, Mary E.; Isaacson, Mary J.; Varilek, Brandon Michael; Stadick, Jessica L.; and O'Connell-Persaud, Shannon, "A Willingness to Go There: Nurses and Spiritual Care" (2017). College of Nursing Faculty Publications. 57.