Spiritual Care in Nursing

Patients are missing out on important spiritual care, despite it being a nursing ‘fundamental’, according to 4,045 members of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) who replied to a survey undertaken by the RCN in March 2010, and newly published. 90% of them consider that providing spiritual care improves the overall quality of nursing care, and 83% feel that spirituality is an essential aspect of nursing.

However, the interpretation of what constitutes spiritual care is apparently a broad one, seemingly anything which complements the physical treatment of patients. 94% of nurses do not consider that spirituality involves attendance at a place of worship, while four-fifths hold that the need for spiritual care also applies to atheists and agnostics.

91% of respondents feel that they can provide spiritual care themselves by listening, and allowing patients time to discuss their fears, anxieties and troubles. But only 5% of nurses say that they can always meet the spiritual needs of patients. 80% therefore argue that spirituality should be covered in nurse education as a core aspect of nursing.

The most important spiritual needs identified by nurses were: having respect for privacy, dignity and religious and cultural beliefs (94%); spending time with patients giving support and reassurance (90%); and showing kindness, concern and cheerfulness when giving care (83%).

The RCN’s press release on the survey is available at:


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