Relationship of nurses’ spirituality to their understanding and practice of spiritual care

Authors

  • Loretta Yuet Foon Chung,

    1. Loretta Yuet Foon Chung PhD RN RM RSCN Assistant Professor School of Nursing, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hung Hom, Kowloon, Hong Kong
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  • Frances Kam Yuet Wong,

    1. Frances Kam Yuet Wong BSN MA PhD RN Professor School of Nursing, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hung Hom, Kowloon, Hong Kong
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  • Moon Fai Chan

    1. Moon Fai Chan BSc PhD Assistant Professor School of Nursing, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hung Hom, Kowloon, Hong Kong
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L.Y.F. Chung: e-mail: hslchung@inet.polyu.edu.hk

Abstract

Title. Relationship of nurses’ spirituality to their understanding and practice of spiritual care

Aim.  This paper reports a study to examine the relationship of nurses’ spirituality to their understanding and practice of spiritual care.

Background.  Continued debate surrounds the concept, practice and teaching of spirituality, highlighting the complexity and importance of understanding spirituality and the delivery of spiritual care. Spirituality is defined in this study as the relationship with the self and a dimension beyond the self.

Method.  A convenience sample of 61 nurses from a part-time Bachelor of Science degree programme in nursing in Hong Kong, more than half of whom reported their religious affiliations, completed a newly developed, 27-item five-point Likert scale questionnaire. The data were collected in 2002. Descriptive statistics were calculated. Correlations were used to determine relationships among self, understanding and practices of spiritual care. The Mann–Whitney U and Kruskal–Wallis tests were used to examine differences between demographic variables and spirituality, understanding and practices of spiritual care. Multiple linear regression was used to determine factors contributing to understanding and practices of spiritual care.

Findings.  A positive statistically significant correlation was found between self and the following three variables: dimension beyond self (r = 0·35, P < 0·001), understanding of spiritual care (r = 0·57, P < 0·001), and practice of spiritual care (r = 0·26, P < 0·05). The relative contributions of self to understanding (beta = 1·06, |t| = 10·74, P < 0·001) and practice of spiritual care (beta = 0·68, |t| = 3·62, P = 0·001) were statistically significant. There was no statistically significance difference between any of the demographic variables and understanding and practice of spiritual care, except for a negative relationship between religious affiliations and the dimension beyond self (P < 0·001).

Conclusion.  Through continuously seeking self-awareness and connecting to a dimension beyond the self for inner resource, the contented whole self will be able to provide spiritual care.

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