Meaning of spirituality: implications for nursing practice

Wilfred McSherry, Keith Cash, Linda Ross

Allbwn ymchwil: Cyfraniad at gyfnodolynErthygladolygiad gan gymheiriaid


Background.  This research outlines some preliminary findings emerging from a grounded theory investigation into the ‘meaning of spirituality’. These initial results raise some important questions about the terminology and language that nurses use regarding the term spirituality. It seems that many of the policy directives and statutory guidelines make two major assumptions regarding ‘spirituality’. Firstly, patients and nurses are aware and understand the concept, and secondly, patients may require their spiritual needs to be met. These preliminary findings suggest that a dichotomy is emerging between professional assumption and patient expectation regarding the meaning of spirituality.

Aim.  The study had one broad research aim, to gain a deeper insight into how patients, nurses, and people from the major world religions understand the concept of ‘spirituality’.

Design.  A qualitative research design was used involving a grounded theory method of inquiry. It was felt that this qualitative method would aid the investigation of this subjective dimension of peoples’ existence, enabling existing theoretical constructs and arguments to be tested.

Methods.  The constant comparative method was used throughout the data collection and analysis. Analysis was undertaken at two levels, ‘overview analysis’ and ‘line-by-line analysis’. This enabled the creation of categories and central themes.

Results.  Constant comparative analysis resulted in the formation of several categories and central themes. Two categories presented and discussed in detail are ‘definitions of spirituality’, and ‘diverse perceptions of spirituality’.

Conclusion.  It would seem that there is now an urgent need for nursing to evaluate and perhaps adjust its vision regarding what constitutes spirituality. Such an approach may serve to reduce the gap between policy and public expectation.

Relevance to clinical practice.  It seems that there may be no ‘precise’ terminology associated with the language used to define spirituality, raising possible implications for nursing practice and nurse education.
Iaith wreiddiolSaesneg
Tudalennau (o-i)934-941
CyfnodolynJournal of Clinical Nursing
Rhif cyhoeddi8
Dynodwyr Gwrthrych Digidol (DOIs)
StatwsCyhoeddwyd - 2004

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