Student nurses perceptions of spirituality and competence in delivering spiritual care: a European pilot study

Linda Ross, René van Leeuwen, Donia Baldacchino, Tove Giske, Wilfred McSherry, Aru Narayanasamy, Carmel Downes, Paul Jarvis, Annemiek Schep-Akkerman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Spiritual care is expected of nurses, but it is not clear how undergraduates can achieve competency in spiritual care at point of registration as required by nursing/midwifery regulatory bodies.

AIMS: To describe undergraduate nurses'/midwives' perceptions of spirituality/spiritual care, their perceived competence in delivering spiritual care, and to test out the proposed method and suitability of measures for a larger multinational follow-on study.

DESIGN: Cross-sectional, multinational, descriptive survey design.

METHODS: Author administered questionnaires were completed by 86% of the intended convenience sample of 618 undergraduate nurses/midwives from 6 universities in 4 European countries in 2010.

RESULTS: Students held a broad view of spirituality/spiritual care and considered themselves to be marginally more competent than not in spiritual care. They were predominantly Christian and reported high levels of spiritual wellbeing and spiritual attitude and involvement. The proposed method and measures were appropriate and are being used in a follow-on study.

CONCLUSIONS: The following are worthy of further investigation: whether the pilot study findings hold in student samples from more diverse cultural backgrounds; whether students' perceptions of spirituality can be broadened to include the full range of spiritual needs patients may encounter and whether their competence can be enhanced by education to better equip them to deliver spiritual care; identification of factors contributing to acquisition of spiritual caring skills and spiritual care competency.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)697-702
Number of pages6
JournalNurse Education Today
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Europe
  • Humans
  • Pilot Projects
  • Professional Competence
  • Spirituality
  • Students, Nursing


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