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Keywords:

  • nurse;
  • post critical;
  • religion;
  • spiritual;
  • Wulff

kevern p. (2012) Journal of Nursing Management 20, 981–989 Who can give ‘spiritual care’? The management of spiritually sensitive interactions between nurses and patients

Aims  This article considers the purpose of contemporary ‘spiritual care’ in order to help managers make informed decisions about its appropriate delivery in a clinical context.

Background  Although there are national policies in place concerning spiritual care, surveys indicate that nurses are reluctant to engage with the spiritual needs of patients.

Evaluation  A consideration of the character of spiritual care indicates the need to take account of the context of contemporary Western society. A model drawn from the social psychology of religion is used to analyse the different types of nurse–patient interaction available in the provision of spiritual care.

Key Issues  Although religious and spiritual commitments can vary widely, they are subject to the same pressures in a secular and pluralist social context. This enables some general guidelines to be developed.

Conclusions  Effective spiritual care requires a consideration of both the patient’s and the nurse’s implicit and explicit religious commitments.

Implications for nursing management  Nurse managers need to take account of the personal commitments of nurses when directing them to offer spiritual care. This article offers a diagnostic tool for deploying nurses in an appropriate way.