1. To report the findings from a prospective, longitudinal, correlational European study which:- describes undergraduate student nurses/midwives perceptions of spirituality/spiritual care, their perceived competence in giving spiritual care and how these perceptions change over time-explores factors contributing to development of spiritual care competency.
2. To report how
these study findings are being used to shape the future of spiritual care
pre-registration nursing/midwifery education across Europe.
is a key feature in healthcare policy and guidance internationally. Spiritual
care is expected of nurses/midwives yet nurses consistently report feeling
unprepared and want further education. Spiritual care is important to patients
but is often overlooked. We therefore sought to address the disconnect between
regulatory body expectation and the experienced reality of practicing nurses
and patients by conducting two studies.
Study 1 was a
prospective, longitudinal, multinational, correlational survey. A convenience
sample of 2193 undergraduate nursing/midwifery students (69% response rate)
enrolled at 21 universities in 8 countries completed questionnaires capturing
demographic data (purpose designed questionnaire) and measuring perception of
spirituality/spiritual care (SSCRS), spiritual care competency (SCCS),
spiritual wellbeing (JAREL) and spiritual attitude and involvement (SAIL) on 4
occasions (start of course n=2193, year 2 n=1182, year 3 n=736, end of course
n=595) between 2011-2015. Data were subjected to descriptive, bivariate and
competency increased significantly over the course of students’ study (+0.4,
p<0.01 on SCCS), which students attributed to caring for patients, events in
their own lives and teaching/discussion in university. Two factors were
significantly correlated with perceived spiritual care competency: perception
of spirituality/spiritual care, where a broad view was preferable (SSCRS
correlations range 0.32-0.55, p<0.01) and personal spirituality, where high
spiritual wellbeing (JAREL) and spiritual attitude and involvement (SAIL)
scores were preferable (SAIL correlations range 0.29-0.41, p<0.01; JAREL
correlations range 0.15-0.37, p<0.01). Students’ perceptions of
spirituality/spiritual care broadened slightly but statistically significantly
over the duration of their studies (+ 0.2, p < 0.01 on SSCRS).
We have provided
the first evidence that perceived spiritual care competence is developed in
undergraduate student nurses/midwives and that students’ perceptions of
spirituality and personal spirituality contribute to that development.
Implications for teaching and learning will be discussed.
Study 2 is an Erasmus funded project (2016-2019) using co-production and action learning. It will enable nurse educators/key stakeholders from across Europe to consider the research findings from Study 1 and, together with other available evidence/international best practice, to develop/test an innovative, flexible Spiritual Care Matrix for nurse/midwifery education which can be adopted by Higher Education Institutions across Europe.
1. Identify that
the 2 key factors contributing to development of perceived spiritual care
competency are the personal spirituality of the student and how they perceive
spirituality and spiritual care
2. Explore the
implications of these findings for teaching and learning in terms of
opportunities and challenges e.g. innovative approaches to learning and
3. To learn
about the Erasmus Project and consider becoming involved.
1. Ross L, Giske T, van Leeuwen R, Baldacchino D, McSherry W, Narayanasamy A, Jarvis P, Schep-Akkerman A. (2016) Factors contributing to student nurses’/midwives’ perceived competency in spiritual care. Nurse Education Today, 36, 445-451.
2. McSherry W and Ross L (2015) Spiritual shortfall? Nursing Standard, 29, 35, 22-23. April 29
3. McSherry W and Ross L (2015) Heed the evidence on place of spiritual needs in health care. Nursing Standard, 29, 38, May 20
|Publication status||Published - 20 Apr 2018|
|Event||RCN Education Conference and Exhibition 2018. - Newcastle Civic Centre, Newcastle, United Kingdom|
Duration: 20 Mar 2018 → 21 Mar 2018
|Conference||RCN Education Conference and Exhibition 2018.|
|Period||20/03/18 → 21/03/18|
- spiritual care
- spiritual competency