Nurse Lecturers’ Perception and Teaching of Spirituality
Keywords:nursing and spirituality, health and spirituality, nursing curricula
AbstractThe concept of spirituality and its centrality within nursing’s philosophy of caring has been widely debated for the past three decades. Attempts have been made not only to define spirituality but also to examine the potential benefits that spiritual care may have for patients, such as the provision of hope in times of illness. Although UK nursing bodies have identified spiritual care as an area of nursing competency, there has been increasing concern recently about the discrepancy between the teaching of spiritual care and the delivery of it in practice. It is currently unclear whether spirituality is being taught in the classroom. Debates have centred on how a complex concept such as spirituality can be effectively incorporated within the curricula and what types of teaching methods should best be used, and how assessments are conducted in this area to demonstrate competency. This paper reports on the findings of a pilot study conducted in a university school of health studies. The aim of the study was to gain insight into nursing lecturers’ views on the meaning of spirituality and the methods of teaching and assessing it, within the undergraduate and postgraduate nursing programmes in the school. The findings revealed that nurse lecturers’ views on spirituality were diverse; there was a lack of formal preparation of lecturers to teach spiritual care; lecturers who attempted to incorporate spirituality into their teaching appeared to do so through a process of trial and error; and it was unclear how or whether spirituality was taught to students on a consistent basis either in the classroom or in clinical areas.
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