• concept analysis;
  • faith;
  • health as expanding consciousness;
  • theory

dyess s.m. (2011) Faith: a concept analysis. Journal of Advanced Nursing67(12), 2723–2731.


Aim.  This paper reports a concept analysis of faith.

Background.  There are numerous scholars who consider spirituality and religiosity as they relate to health and nursing. Faith is often implied as linked to these concepts but deserves distinct exploration. In addition, as nursing practice conducted within communities of faith continues to emerge, concept clarification of faith is warranted.

Method.  Qualitative analysis deliberately considered the concept of faith within the lens of Margaret Newman’s Health as Expanding Consciousness. Data sources used included a secondary analysis of stories collected within a study conducted in 2008, two specific reconstructed stories, the identification of attributes noted within these various stories and selected philosophical literature from 1950 to 2009.

Findings.  A definition was identified from the analysis; faith is an evolving pattern of believing, that grounds and guides authentic living and gives meaning in the present moment of inter-relating. Four key attributes of faith were also identified as focusing on beliefs, foundational meaning for life, living authentically in accordance with beliefs, and interrelating with self, others and/or Divine.

Conclusion.  Although a seemingly universal concept, faith was defined individually. Faith appeared to be broader than spiritual practices and religious ritual and became the very foundation that enabled human beings to make sense of their world and circumstances. More work is needed to understand how faith community nursing can expand the traditional understanding of denominationally defined faith community practices and how nurses can support faith for individuals with whom they encounter within all nursing practice.