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Keywords:

  • caring;
  • critical theory;
  • cultural diversity;
  • ethics;
  • nursing theory;
  • religion;
  • spirituality

PESUT B. Nursing Inquiry 2013; 20: 5–10 Nursings’ need for the idea of spirituality

Spirituality is an idea that has sustained significant interest in nursing over the past quarter century. Extensive conceptual work has generated robust critique around clarity and professional jurisdictional claims. However, less attention has been paid to the challenges nursing has faced that have contributed to the spirituality quest. Reflecting on my own experiences as a scholar writing in this literature over the past decade, I suggest three challenges that spirituality has attempted to redress: to relate across difference in a globalized world, to be good in a world of uncertain morality and to find meaning in a disenchanted world. The idea of spirituality could be viewed as resistance against othering, against law based ethics, and against politics and power. But the impact of the idea of spirituality has yet to be determined and caution is in order. As important as this resistance is, nursing must refrain from creating a new world of insiders and outsiders and from minimizing the role of religious ethics in a globalized world. Spirituality, like its predecessor religion, will likely continue to play an enduring role in providing fundamental meaning for nursing work.