Creating a spiritual tapestry: nurses' experiences of delivering spiritual care to patients in an Irish hospice

Int J Palliat Nurs. 2009 Jan;15(1):42-8. doi: 10.12968/ijpn.2009.15.1.37952.


This study aims to describe nurses' experiences of delivering spiritual support in a palliative care setting in the Republic of Ireland. The authors conducted semi-structured interviews with 22 nurses working in the area of specialist palliative care. A content analysis of the transcriptions revealed five sub-themes: understanding spirituality; the art of nursing in spiritual care; education and learning; the challenge of spiritual caring; and the dimensions of time. The resulting creation of a spiritual tapestry provided an overall theme. Nurses in this study were spiritually self-aware and placed a high value on the spiritual element of their caring role. Nurses described their individual understanding of spirituality and discussed how they recognized and addressed a patient's spiritual needs. Time was described as essential to the provision of spiritual support and appeared to be a significant resource challenge to the provision of spiritual care. The challenges of assessing spiritual needs and measuring outcomes of care were also reported. Participants in this study described the creation of a spiritual tapestry that 'weaves' together care and compassion with skills and knowledge in their nursing practice.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Awareness
  • Empathy
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Holistic Health
  • Hospice Care* / methods
  • Hospice Care* / psychology
  • Humans
  • Ireland
  • Models, Nursing
  • Models, Psychological
  • Nurse's Role / psychology*
  • Nurse-Patient Relations
  • Nursing Assessment
  • Nursing Methodology Research
  • Nursing Staff / psychology*
  • Pastoral Care / methods
  • Qualitative Research
  • Self Efficacy
  • Spirituality*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Time Factors