Iranian nurses’ professional competence in spiritual care in 2014

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Abstract

Background:

The holistic approach views the human as a bio-psycho-socio-spiritual being. Evidence suggests that among these dimensions, the spiritual one is largely ignored in healthcare settings.

Objectives:

This study aimed to evaluate Iranian nurses’ perceived professional competence in spiritual care, the relationship between perceived competence and nurses’ personal characteristics, and barriers to provide spiritual care.

Research design:

A cross-sectional study was conducted in the year 2014.

Participants and research context:

The study population consisted of nurses working in teaching hospitals in Kashan city. Using a stratified, systematic random method, 250 samples were selected from a total of 1400 nurses. An indigenous instrument was used to assess the nurses’ competencies in spiritual care.

Ethical considerations:

A research ethics committee approved the study. All the participants were briefed on the study aims, were assured of the confidentiality of their personal information, and signed a written informed consent.

Results:

Among a total of 250 nurses, 239 answered the questionnaire completely, and in total, 23%, 51%, and 26% had poor, moderate, and favorable competence in spiritual care, respectively. No significant differences were found between the mean competence scores of spiritual care in terms of gender, marital status, employment status, and level of qualification. Significant difference was found between nurses’ overall score of competence in spiritual care and receiving training on spiritual care, nurses’ position, and the ward they worked in.

Discussion:

Confirming the findings of the international literature, this study puts light on the situation of nurses’ perceived competence and barriers to providing spiritual care in Iran as an eastern and Islamic context.

Conclusion:

Three-quarters of the nurses had moderate or unfavorable competence in spiritual care. Due to the crucial role of spiritual care in quality of care and patient satisfaction, nurses should be trained and supported to provide spiritual care.

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