Spirituality in Nursing Education: Knowledge and practice gaps

Gulnar Ali, Michael Snowden, John Wattis, Melanie Rogers

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Nursing philosophy is fundamentally based on an ethos of holistic care. However,
spiritual aspects of care are often neglected. There are questions about how spirituality is currently approached and to what extent student nurses feel competent in assessing and delivering spiritual care in practice. A literature review (1993-2017) was performed, using a systematic approach. From the themes identified in the literature review, five major knowledge and practice gaps were noted in nurse education. These were: lack of ontological integration; lack in phenomenological understanding; lack of support and environmental constraints; curriculum structure and unprepared Faculty.
Developing competency to deal with spiritual issues in nursing education is still a
challenge. Issues of conceptual clarity and articulation around the ontological and phenomenological aspects of nursing must be addressed to prepare nurses to provide truly holistic care, including spiritual and existential issues. Adequate preparation, environmental support for both nursing educators and students, and explicit representation of spirituality in the nursing curriculum will facilitate this. An emphasis on the philosophical underpinnings of nursing care is needed to rebalance existing nursing education to embrace caring for spiritual needs as part of holistic care.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-49
Number of pages23
JournalInternational journal of multidisciplinary comparative studies
Issue number1-3
Publication statusPublished - 20 Dec 2018


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