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Spirituality and spiritual care from a Careful Nursing perspective


  • Therese Connell Meehan RGN, PhD

    Adjunct Senior Lecturer, Adjunct Professor, Corresponding author
    1. Graduate School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health, Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand
    • School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health Systems, University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
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Therese Connell Meehan

School of Nursing, Midwifery

and Health Systems,

University College Dublin, Belfield,

Dublin 4, Ireland




To provide a brief historical background of spirituality in nursing and describe spiritual care from the perspective of the Careful Nursing philosophy and professional practice model.


The previously overshadowed role of spirituality in modern nursing has re-emerged and been widely debated. Less attention has been given to how spiritual care is implemented in practice.


Findings from historical research. Elaboration of a previously derived Careful Nursing concept and dimensions as a model of spiritual nursing practice values.

Key issues

In spite of the diversity of nurses' philosophical beliefs about spirituality, common ground can be found when these are translated into spiritual nursing practice values. Spiritual care in nursing is primarily expressed in the attitudes and actions of nursing practice guided by spiritual nursing values, particularly recognition of human dignity, kindness, compassion, calmness, tenderness, and nurses' caring for themselves and one another.


Spirituality is timelessly interwoven with nursing and health. Careful Nursing suggests a spiritual values model that could be useful in assisting nurses to reach a shared understanding of spirituality and a spiritual approach to nursing practice.

Implications for Nursing Management

Spiritual nursing values can be shared and developed in practical ways so that they become truly integrated into everyday nursing practice.

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