Holistic Nursing Care: Provision of Spirituality with Patients

Monday, 22 July 2013: 1:30 PM

Joyce Miller, DNP, RN, WHNP-BC, FNP-BC
Sharon Cannon, EdD, RN, ANEF
Carol Boswell, EdD, RN, CNE, ANEF
Kelly Moseley, DHSc, MSN, RN
School of Nursing, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Odessa, TX

Learning Objective 1: The learner will be able to discuss how often registered nurses integrate nursing activities specifically intended to support patient spiritual care.

Learning Objective 2: The learner will be able to identify specific tasks and comfort level nurses perceive as being included with the provision of spiritual care.


Spirituality care for patients is paramount for optimal wellness and health promotion. Nurses believe they are inadequately prepared to provide spiritual care to their clients. The purpose of this research project was to identify practice competencies and challenges with the ability to incorporate the patient's cultural and spiritual preferences, values, and beliefs into health care. To meet these expectations within the work setting, an understanding of what specific tasks nurses perceive as being included with the provision of spiritual care as well as an appreciation for different tasks that nurses feel comfortable providing is needed.


This project utilized a quasi-experimental design using the validated Spiritual Questionnaire to access registered nurses (minimum sample size = 75) in Texas. The Spirituality Questionnaire was a 28 item 4 level Likert scale tool. The tool asked the participant to document how often during the last month they provided an activity with the intent to offer spiritual care. A convenient sampling was provided through a link on Survey Monkey to nurses belonging to Texas Nurse Practitioners and Texas Nurses Associations. The project proposal was approved through the university’s IRB.  Completed surveys (N=135) were entered into SPSS for analysis using frequencies and Mann-Whitney U-test. 


Findings indicate that healthcare professionals are less than comfortable with provision of holistic care. Measures such as listening, providing support for spiritual practices, arranging for spiritual mentor visits, assisting with spiritual challenges such as living with illness, or assisting spiritual beliefs that are pertinent to health status for their patients were reported concerns. 


This research project reveals that regardless of the level of proficiency, nurses report they are not prepared to provide comprehensive spiritual health care. Academic and clinical applications should incorporate more emphasis on spirituality and holistic care.