A critical analysis of nursing: meeting the spiritual needs of patients



Nursing, over the past 2 decades, has been concerned with the development of theories which will inform practice and help to establish nursing as an emerging discipline The view that the individual is a biopsychosocial being has occupied a prominent position in the existing catalogue of nursing theories The literature reveals that, although some existing theories do acknowledge that humans do have the advantage of a spiritual dimension, very little significant work appears to have been done in this area This paper explores some of the difficulties in arriving at a definition of spirituality and goes on to examine the extent to which nursing theories incorporate the concept of spirituality Additionally, nurse education does not appear to prepare practitioners adequately to meet the spiritual needs of patients The paper concludes with a discussion of the potential for meeting the spiritual needs of patients in the context of the changes occurring in the British National Health Service