The efficacy of integrating spirituality into undergraduate nursing curricula

Nurs Ethics. 2014 Dec;21(8):929-45. doi: 10.1177/0969733014521096. Epub 2014 Mar 18.


Background: Attention to patients' spirituality, as a moral obligation of care, is now widely accepted in nursing practice. However, until recently, many nursing programs have paid little attention to spirituality.

Objective: The objective of this study was to identify the impact of two different curricula, used to teach undergraduate nursing students, on increasing nursing student awareness of spirituality in the care of patients.

Research design: A quasi-experimental post-intervention two-group design was conducted in 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 academic years.

Participants and research context: The study included a total of 130 volunteer senior-year students. The students were assigned as "the intervention group/integrated system" that were informed about spirituality or as "the control group/traditional system" that received no information on spirituality. Data were collected via a personal information form and the Spirituality and Spiritual Care Rating Scale was used to assess responses. The study was conducted at the Department of Nursing of the Faculty of Health Sciences, Cumhuriyet University, in Central Anatolia/Turkey.

Ethical considerations: Permission to conduct the study at the nursing school was obtained from the schools' management teams. The rights of the participants were protected in this study by obtaining informed consent.

Findings: The results revealed that the intervention group had a higher mean score on the Spirituality and Spiritual Care Rating Scale than did the control group. The students in the intervention group defined the terms of spirituality and spiritual care more accurately than did the control group students.

Discussion: Nurses are professionally and ethically responsible for providing spiritual care. Nurses' competence in meeting the spiritual needs of their patients should be improved by undergraduate education on spiritual care. Nursing scholars reported a significant difference in the knowledge and attitudes toward spirituality of nursing students as a result of the integration of spirituality into the undergraduate nursing curriculum.

Conclusion: Spirituality should be more widely included in nursing education.

Keywords: Nursing education; spiritual care; spirituality; teaching spirituality.

MeSH terms

  • Curriculum*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nurses / psychology*
  • Schools, Nursing / standards*
  • Self Efficacy*
  • Spirituality*
  • Students, Nursing*
  • Turkey