CROSSROADS…exploring research on religion, spirituality and health – a publication of Duke University’s Center for Spirituality, Theology & Health.
Some of the topics addressed in this April issue are as follows:
- Religious Attendance and Suicide Rate in U.S.
- Spirituality vs. Existential Well-being vs. Well-being
- U.S. Clergy Beliefs Regarding End-of-Life (EOL) Discussions and Care
- Workshop on Mental Health for Religious Leaders & Educators
- Frequency of Nurses Taking a Spiritual History
Frequency of Nurses Taking a Spiritual History
The following is the short write-up that appears about spiritual history assessments taken by nurses. Their research shows that the spiritual beliefs, values and practices of patients are not routinely assessed by nurses, even those nurses who work in a Christian faith-based setting. This is unsettling, as Duke’s writeup. below, remarks.
Elizabeth Taylor Johnson and colleagues from the department of nursing at Loma Linda University surveyed 1030 registered nurses and advanced practice nurses working in the following settings: intensive care (ICU), hospice and palliative care, and Christian health systems. Nurses were also recruited from journal websites (Journal of Christian Nursing, etc.). Two of these settings targeted nurses who were highly likely to be Christian. Researchers assessed 17 spiritual care therapeutics in terms of frequency in the past 72-80 hours (past two weeks of full-time employment). Frequency was measured by the catergories of never (i.e., 0 times in past 72-80 hours), 1-2 times, 3-6 times, 7-11 times, and 12 times or more. One of the 17 items asked was the frequency that the nurse “assessed a patient’s spiritual or religious beliefs or practices that are pertinent to health.” Results indicated that 16.7% of nurses never did this, and 10.3% assessed spiritual/religious beliefs 12 or more times within the past 2 weeks of full-time work. Reseachers concluded that “Findings affirm previous research that suggests nurses provide spiritual care infrequently.”
Citation: Taylor EJ, Mamier I, Rici-Allegra P, Foith J (2017). Self- reported frequency of nurse-provided spiritual care. Applied Nursing Research 35:30-35
Comment: This is one of the few studies that attempts to assess the frequency of nurses taking a spiritual history. The particular groups of nurses that made up the sample (ICU nurses, palliative care and hospital nurses, and Christian nurses) makes it likely that these estimates are higher than for nurses in hospitals more generally. In other words, this is a “best case scenario.” Even so, the frequency is pretty low considering how many patients nurses care for during an 80 hour work period. Low, indeed, when JCAHO requires that nurses provide care that is respectiful for every patient’s personal beliefs and values. How exactly does that occur if patients’ most common beliefs and values, i.e., spiritual ones, are not routinely assessed by nurses?
You can read earlier editions of this newsletter or sign up to receive it at this link – Research on Religion, Spirituality and Health.
Read Other Blog Posts About the Research on Religion, Spirituality and Health
Page on My Website – What the Research Says About the Faith and Health Link
Page on My Website – The Connection Between Faith and Health