Spirituality and spiritual care amongst professional nurses at public hospitals in KwaZulu-Natal
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Introduction : Empirical research pertaining to spirituality has grown in the Western context, with a myriad studies, that have documented the salience of spirituality to health and wellbeing in relation to a range of issues such as HIV/AIDS, cancer and heart disease (Koenig et al. 2001:1189). It is against this backdrop that nursing scholars have begun to research the role of spirituality and spiritual care in nursing practice, in the Euro-American context. In South Africa research in this field is sparse, hence prompting the need for the current study. Problem statement : There is a huge gap in the South African nursing literature on spirituality and spiritual care, grounding the need for research in this area. Internationally however studies have grown focussing on the views of practitioners and faculty with regard to spirituality and spiritual care in nursing practice. Objectives : To explore the views of nurses at public hospitals in KwaZulu-Natal regarding the role of spirituality and spiritual care in nursing practice. To investigate nursing practitioners’ views on the salience of spirituality to patients. To investigate whether nurses utilize spiritually based activities in nursing. To investigate whether current nursing education and training has prepared nurses for spiritual care. Methodology : The study utilized a descriptive survey utilizing a cross-sectional design. A quantitative research design was utilized to survey nursing practitioners at selected public hospitals through a process of multiphase random sampling. Data was collected using survey questionnaires. Findings : Findings of this study have shown that nurses do accept spirituality and spiritual care as being part of their role. Participants (n=385) acknowledged that spiritual care is a component of holistic patient care. This aspect of care, they agreed, lacks the attention it seriously needs. In addition, majority of nurses considered nursing to be part of their spiritual path. Results indicated that the more spiritual nurses viewed themselves, the more positive their perspectives were towards providing spiritual care.