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Empirical validation of a teaching course on spiritual care in Taiwan


Fu-Jin Shih, School of Nursing, College of Medicine, National Taiwan University, No. 1, Sec. 1, Jen-Ai Road, Taipei, Taiwan (100). E-mail:


Empirical validation of a teaching course on spiritual care in Taiwan

Aim(s) of study. The aims of this study were threefold: (a) to develop the first spiritual care program for master of science in nursing degree students (MSNDS) in Taiwan, since most of these students are or will be nursing leaders in clinical practice, education, administration, or research; (b) to facilitate the MSNDS in applying the contents of this program to care of their clients; and (c) to understand the MSNDS’ appraisals of the usefulness of the program in helping them provide spiritual care in clinical settings.

Background. The World Health Organization (WHO) (1998) proclaimed that health needs should include spiritual well-being in addition to physical, mental, and social domains. Nevertheless, many dominant medical educational systems have not yet encompassed spiritual care as part of their comprehensive or core curricula.

Design/methods. The methodological triangulation research design used in this project included various strategies of developing a novice course entitled ‘Spirituality in Nursing Practice’ which was given to the subjects over 18 weeks from September 1998 to February 1999. The course included classroom lectures, field trips, clinical implications, and presentation-appraisal. A convenience sample of 22 female MSNDS who were or had the potential to be nursing leaders from two schools of nursing in northern Taiwan was obtained.

Results. Four types of help were identified: (a) help in clarifying the theoretical concepts of spiritual care (100%); (b) help in providing a culturally bonded spiritual care plan (100%); (c) help in self-disclosure of the nurse’s personal value systems and spiritual needs (91%); and (d) help in clarifying the symbolic meaning and the impact of religious rituals (86%). The explicit spiritual care plans and an empirical example of spiritual care were provided.

Conclusions. This study presented the first spiritual care program for MSNDS in Taiwan. All subjects considered the course helpful in providing spiritual care for their clients in various clinical settings. The concept of spirituality is arousing great interest in the world, and this is evident in the spiritual care courses appearing in nursing curricula for nursing leaders in Taiwan.