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Keywords:

  • defence force;
  • holistic nursing care;
  • military nursing;
  • Royal Australian Air Force;
  • spiritual nursing care

Spirituality has been the subject of numerous journal articles and books in recent years. Research into this topic has been conducted in many spheres of nursing practice with the notable exception of military nursing. This article goes a small way to addressing the apparent lack of research into spirituality in a military nursing setting by summarizing the findings of one study into this significant area of nursing care. The findings are derived from a mixed method quantitative/qualitative study of registered nurses in the Royal Australian Air Force. The major finding indicated that two distinct concepts of ‘family’ define the way in which this small group of nurses perceive, assess and implement care for the spiritual needs of their patients. These concepts comprise a traditional family structure and an extended military family structure that includes the person's unit and comrades-in-arms.