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Analysis of spirituality content in nursing textbooks

Publication year
McEwen, M.

Although most nurses believe spiritual care is an integral component of quality, holistic nursing care, they rarely address spiritual issues and typically feel unprepared to do so. One reason for nurses’ lack of preparedness to provide spiritual interventions is that their basic education only minimally discusses spirituality and related issues. This is compounded by the problem that only sporadic reference to spiritual care is found in most nursing textbooks. This study was conducted to analyze the content related to spirituality in nursing textbooks in order to determine where spiritual care is addressed and evaluate its adequacy. A total of 50 textbooks from a wide variety of nursing specialty areas were selected from the most recent Brandon Hill list. These books were examined to assess the percentage of pages discussing spiritual issues and analyze inclusion of core content essential for nursing practice. Although there was considerable variation among the books from all specialty areas, overall, hospice/terminal care, fundamentals of nursing, health assessment/health promotion, and transcultural nursing textbooks provided the most information about spirituality and spiritual care. Textbooks focusing on professional issues, medical-surgical nursing, maternal-child health nursing, critical care nursing, and community health nursing contained the least spiritual content. Suggestions are made regarding how to integrate spiritual issues and spiritual care in all nursing textbooks that pertain directly to patient care.

Research abstracts