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J Clin Nurs. 2017 Oct;26(19-20):3125-3136. doi: 10.1111/jocn.13660. Epub 2017 Apr 3.

Nurses' comfort level with spiritual assessment: a study among nurses working in diverse healthcare settings.

Author information

1
Azusa Pacific University, Azusa, CA, USA.
2
VID Specialized University, Faculty of Health, Bergen, Norway.

Abstract

AIMS AND OBJECTIVES:

To gain knowledge about nurses' comfort level in assessing spiritual matters and to learn what questions nurses use in practice related to spiritual assessment.

BACKGROUND:

Spirituality is important in holistic nursing care; however, nurses report feeling uncomfortable and ill-prepared to address this domain with patients. Education is reported to impact nurses' ability to engage in spiritual care.

DESIGN:

This cross-sectional exploratory survey reports on a mixed-method study examining how comfortable nurses are with spiritual assessment.

METHOD:

In 2014, a 21-item survey with 10 demographic variables and three open-ended questions were distributed to Norwegian nurses working in diverse care settings with 172 nurse responses (72 % response rate). SPSS was used to analyse quantitative data; thematic analysis examined the open-ended questions.

RESULTS/FINDINGS:

Norwegian nurses reported a high level of comfort with most questions even though spirituality is seen as private. Nurses with some preparation or experience in spiritual care were most comfortable assessing spirituality. Statistically significant correlations were found between the nurses' comfort level with spiritual assessment and their preparedness and sense of the importance of spiritual assessment. How well-prepared nurses felt was related to years of experience, degree of spirituality and religiosity, and importance of spiritual assessment.

CONCLUSION:

Many nurses are poorly prepared for spiritual assessment and care among patients in diverse care settings; educational preparation increases their comfort level with facilitating such care. Nurses who feel well prepared with spirituality feel more comfortable with the spiritual domain.

RELEVANCE TO CLINICAL PRACTICE:

By fostering a culture where patients' spirituality is discussed and reflected upon in everyday practice and in continued education, nurses' sense of preparedness, and thus their level of comfort, can increase. Clinical supervision and interprofessional collaboration with hospital chaplains and/or other spiritual leaders can facilitate tailor spiritual assessment of patients based on patient concerns and view of life.

KEYWORDS:

assessment; nurses' experience; quantitative approaches; questionnaire; spirituality; survey designs

PMID:
27917548
DOI:
10.1111/jocn.13660
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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