Spiritual perspectives, needs and nursing interventions of Christian African–Americans


  • Norma E. Conner PhD RN,

  • Lucille Sanzero Eller PhD RN

Norma Conner,
College of Nursing,
University of South Florida,
12901 Bruce B. Downs Blvd,
MDC Box 22,
FL 33612,
E-mail: nconner@hsc.usf.edu


Background.  Although the amount of literature on spiritual needs and care has increased, in practice there has been little change in how nurses assess spiritual need. This suggests that not all spiritual needs of patients are being addressed. Based on the assumption that spiritual needs vary by culture, this study focused on one subgroup, namely Christian African–Americans.

Aims.  The aim of this paper is to report a study examining spiritual perspectives, spiritual needs and desired nursing interventions during hospitalization identified by Christian African–Americans.

Methods.  A descriptive correlational design was employed. A convenience sample (n = 44) was recruited from three African–American churches. Descriptive statistics were calculated, and one-way anovas used to examine spiritual perspectives and spiritual values. Content analysis was used to analyse and summarize qualitative data. Instruments included the Spiritual Perspective Scale (SPS) and two open-ended questions.

Results.  The mean age of participants was 56 years (range 19–84). The majority was female (86%); 71% of respondents strongly agreed that they had spiritual needs to be met during hospitalization. Mean score for the SPS was 5·7 (sd = 0·36). Respondents used a total of 103 phrases to describe spiritual needs, based on three dimensions of connectedness: connectedness to God (50 phrases), connectedness to others (37 phrases) and connectedness to self (16 phrases). Desired nursing interventions included: participating in spiritual activities (n = 41); demonstrating caring qualities (n = 27); providing comforting measures (n = 13); providing reassurance (n = 9); recognizing the spiritual caregiver role (n = 7); and incorporating diversity in care (n = 3).

Conclusions.  The findings provide information for nurses to facilitate development of culturally appropriate spiritual nursing interventions.