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Health SA Gesondheid (Online)

On-line version ISSN 2071-9736
Print version ISSN 1025-9848


MONARENG, Lydia V.. An exploration of how spiritual nursing care is applied in clinical nursing practice. Health SA Gesondheid (Online) [online]. 2013, vol.18, n.1, pp.1-11. ISSN 2071-9736.

Spiritual nursing care is a significant concept for nurses as they are expected to provide holistic care to patients. Many nurses have difficulty to understand and integrate it into practice and consequently neglect this aspect of care. The study was conducted to explore and describe how professional nurses provide spiritual care to patients. A generic qualitative, explorative and descriptive study was conducted based on Symbolic Interactionism as the philosophical base. The population comprised professional nurses from a public hospital. Participants were recruited through purposive and snowball sampling methods. Data were collected through the use of individual, focus group interviews and observation. Data analysis methods utilised included the NUD*IST computer program, coding, constant comparison method and Tesch's guidelines on data analysis. Findings revealed that nurses struggled to conceptualise spiritual nursing care and to differentiate it from emotional, social or psychological care. However, prayer with or for patients and singing spiritual songs had the highest count of interventions perceived to be effective. Recommendations suggest that the scope of practice and curriculum of training of nurses be reviewed to consider how spiritual nursing care can be evidenced and realised both in the classroom and in the clinical setting. Spiritual nursing care is still a neglected and seemingly complex component of patient care. However, the scientific worldview practices, beliefs and insufficient statutory endorsement of such care hamper its realisation in practice.

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