The Effects of a Spiritual Learning Program on Improving Spiritual Health and Clinical Practice Stress Among Nursing Students

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Background:Numerous studies have indicated an association between spirituality and health outcomes. However, little information is available about interventions that have been shown to enhance spiritual health and decrease stress.Purpose:This study examined the effects of a spiritual learning program (SLP) on nursing student-perceived spiritual health and clinical practice stress.Method:A convenience sample of nursing students currently enrolled at a nursing school in northern Taiwan were recruited to participate in this quasiexperimental study as participants to experimental and control groups via simple random sampling. Results from a spiritual health scale and a perceived clinical practice stress scale, together with the score for clinical nursing practice, were compared between the groups. Baseline data were collected from all participants. The experimental group participated in 8 weeks of 50-minute per week SLP, which included lectures, discussion, reflection, and spiritual practices. A second data set was collected from all participants after the intervention. A third data set was collected after all participants had performed 4 weeks of nursing clinical practice.Results:Participants were all women. Average age was 19.4 years (SD = 1.3 years). Generalized estimating equation analysis showed SLP to have a significant short-term effect on improving the total score for spiritual health (p < .01). Significantly greater improvement in clinical practice stress scores was also seen in the experimental group as compared with the control group (all p < .05). The experimental group obtained a higher score of the final clinical practice than the control group (t = 3.771, p < .001).Conclusion:The SLP may encourage participants to see stressors as meaningful events that are connected to individual life purposes. The program developed in this study may be used to improve spiritual health and reduce stress in nursing students’ clinical practice. This SLP may be referenced when designing similar spirituality-related courses and applied to nursing student counseling.

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