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Title: Towards Nursing Competencies in Spiritual Care
Author(s): VAN LEEUWEN, René
Journal: Studies in Spirituality
Volume: 19    Date: 2009   
Pages: 249-289
DOI: 10.2143/SIS.19.0.2043682

Abstract :
This article reports the outcomes of a doctoral thesis about spiritual care in nursing and the development of competencies of nurses in delivering that care. In nursing the holistic approach is emphasized which means that all aspects of human functioning should be considered in planning nursing care for that patient including the spiritual functioning of patients. Within the context of this study the following definition of spirituality is used: ‘The religious and/or existential mode of human functioning, including experiences and questions of meaning and purpose’. Spiritual care is understood as the care nurses provide so as to meet the spiritual needs and/or problems of their patients. The basic assumption in this study was that spiritual care is a part of the professional function which is supported by professional nursing organizations. There seems to be a gap between what is expected of nurses in theory and what is actually practiced. This raises questions about how the task of spiritual care in nursing can become clearer, and the level of expertise which should be expected from nurses. This study explored the content of spirituality and spiritual care in nursing and investigated the content of education in spiritual care and the learning effects of that education.

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