Acute care nurses’ perceptions of spirituality and spiritual care: an exploratory study in Singapore: BWK Chew et al.

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Abstract

Aims and objectives

To investigate acute care nurses’ perceptions of spirituality and spiritual care and relationships with nurses’ personal and professional characteristics.

Background

Spirituality and spiritual care are often neglected or absent in daily nursing practice. Nurses’ perceptions of spirituality can be influenced by personal, professional and social factors and affect the provision of spiritual care.

Design

A cross-sectional, exploratory, nonexperimental design was used.

Methods

All nursing staff (n = 1008) from a large acute care hospital in Singapore were invited to participate. Participants completed a demographic form and the Spiritual Care-Giving Scale. Completed surveys were received from 767 staff yielding a response rate of 76%. Descriptive statistics and General Linear Modelling were used to analyse data.

Results

Acute care nurses reported positive perceptions of spirituality and spiritual care. Religion, area of clinical practice and view of self as spiritual were associated with nurses’ reported perspectives of spirituality and spiritual care.

Conclusion

Nurses working in this acute care hospital in Singapore reported positive perceptions of spirituality and spiritual care. Respondents tended to equate religion with spirituality and were often unclear about what constituted spiritual care. They reported a sense of readiness to apply an interprofessional approach to spiritual care. However, positive perceptions of spirituality may not necessarily translate into practice.

Relevance to clinical practice

Spiritual care can improve health outcomes. Nurses’ understanding of spirituality is essential for best practice. Interprofessional collaboration with clinicians, administrators, educators, chaplains, clergy and spiritual leaders can contribute to the development of practice guidelines and foster spiritual care by nurses. Further research is needed on the practical applications of spiritual care in nursing.

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