Nurses' and caregivers' definition of spirituality from the Christian perspective: a comparative study between Malta and Norway

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The aim of this cross-sectional comparative exploratory study was to explore the term spirituality as defined by four groups of nurses and two groups of caregivers from Malta and Norway.


Spirituality is a complex subjective concept which may or may not contain religiosity. Several factors may influence the individual's interpretation with implications to nursing care and nursing management.


Data were collected from six purposive samples using focus group discussions in Malta and Norway. The Taxonomy of Spirituality guided the study.


Four themes defined the term ‘spirituality’. Two differences were found between Malta and Norway. Connectedness with family and nature was emphasized more by the Maltese group while the Norwegian group identified both the positive and the negative energies of spirituality.

Implications to Nursing Care and Nursing Management

A clinical environment conducive to holistic care is needed. Inclusion of spirituality in the continuous professional development programmes may enhance understanding of spirituality and foster spiritual growth.


Irrespective of differences in cultures between Malta and Norway, commonalities were found in the definition and essence of spirituality in nursing care. Trans-cultural longitudinal research is recommended to explore further the definition of spirituality.

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