NURSES KNOWLEDGE AND ATTITUDES
An online survey of nurses’ perceptions of spirituality and spiritual care
Article first published online: 9 MAR 2011
© 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd
Journal of Clinical Nursing
Volume 20, Issue 11-12, pages 1757–1767, June 2011
How to Cite
McSherry, W. and Jamieson, S. (2011), An online survey of nurses’ perceptions of spirituality and spiritual care. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 20: 1757–1767. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2702.2010.03547.x
- Issue published online: 10 MAY 2011
- Article first published online: 9 MAR 2011
- Accepted for publication: 16 August 2010
Aim. This paper presents the preliminary descriptive findings from an online survey commissioned by the Royal College of Nursing to ascertain members’ perceptions of spirituality and spiritual care.
Background. There is a professional requirement for nurses to achieve competence in the delivery of spiritual care and to assess and meet the spiritual needs of their patients. Recently, the area of spirituality has come under criticism bringing into question the role of the nurse with regard to the provision of spiritual care.
Design. A descriptive online survey was conducted with all Royal College of Nursing members to obtain their perceptions of spirituality and spiritual care in an attempt to identify what action they feel is required with regard to this aspect of nursing practice.
Method. An online survey consisting of a five-part questionnaire was developed incorporating the Spirituality and Spiritual Care Rating Scale. Members were asked to complete the survey during a three-week period in March 2010.
Results. Overall, 4054 Royal College of Nursing members responded, making this probably the largest UK survey ascertaining nurses’ perceptions of spirituality and spiritual care. Descriptive statistics, frequencies and percentages were used to identify key findings. A Cronbach’s alpha of 0·80 was obtained for the Spirituality and Spiritual Care Rating Scale. The preliminary analysis confirms that nurses across the full health economy in the United Kingdom consider spirituality to be a fundamental aspect of nursing.
Conclusion. The findings indicate that nurses recognise that attending to the spiritual needs of patients enhances the overall quality of nursing care. However, despite all the attention given to the spiritual dimension, the majority of nurses still feel that they require more guidance and support from governing bodies to enable them to support and effectively meet their patients’ spiritual needs.