Embedding compassion and spirituality into clinical education: A new approach.

Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation


The benefits of spiritually sensitive and compassionate health care are well documented and recognised by bodies that set professional standards. The EPICC Spiritual Care Education Standard describes the spiritual care competencies expected in undergraduate nursing and midwifery students. However, the best methods to develop such competencies are still being explored.
A conversation about the barriers to teaching spirituality in health professional education (a lack of teaching time, de-prioritisation within the curriculum and teaching lacking clinical relevance) developed the concept of ‘spotlight’ teachings. Spotlights are a couple of minutes spent considering spirituality, routinely built into every taught session. The spotlight content is based on the clinical subject taught during the class and fully integrates spiritual care competencies into existing curricula.
A mixed method, feasibility project was undertaken in an academic setting for student Advanced Clinical Practitioners, who received spotlights in their taught sessions over an academic year. An anonymous online survey, containing validated scales, was completed by a single cohort, pre and post intervention to identify changes in student’s knowledge, skills and perceptions.
Full analysis of the results is ongoing, but intermediate findings demonstrate the feasibility of this approach. Indeed, the project has been extremely well received by students and educators alike, resulting in some unexpected successes. Since spotlights were introduced there has been a noticeable increase in awareness of spirituality in the students and they are now (completely independently) including ‘spotlights’ in their own presentations. These achievements hint at the value of this method, it’s future possibilities and pave the way for future research.
Period17 May 2023
Event title7th International Conference of the International Network for the Study of Spirituality: Spirituality, Critical Reflection and Professional Practice in an Uncertain World: Incorporating a celebration of the Journal for the Study of Spirituality
Event typeConference
Conference number7
LocationWaterford, IrelandShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational