Investigation of Nursing Students' Attitudes Towards Death and Their Perceptions of Spirituality and Spiritual Care

J Relig Health. 2020 Aug;59(4):2177-2190. doi: 10.1007/s10943-020-01004-9.


Nurses are responsible for meeting the care needs of dying patients and their families, including their physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual assessment and care. The aim of this descriptive study was to investigate nursing students' attitudes towards death and their perceptions of spirituality and spiritual care. The study sample consisted of 237 second-, third- and fourth-grade nursing students. Data were collected using a "Personal Information Form", the "Spirituality and Spiritual Care Rating Scale (SSCRS)" and "Death Attitude Profile-Revised (DAP-R)". Number, percentage, mean, standard deviation and Spearman's correlation analysis were used for analysis. Participants stated that they had witnessed death before (73.8%), that spiritual care of dying patients and their families should be given special importance (93.7%) and that they feel incompetent in providing spiritual care (86.1%). Participants had a mean SSCRS score of 3.45 ± 0.43. They had the highest and lowest scores on the DAP-R subscales of "fear of death" (4.48 ± 0.83) and neutral acceptance (3.71 ± 1.21), respectively, indicating that they have a high fear of death and above average perceptions of spirituality and spiritual care. It is recommended that different teaching methods be integrated into the curriculum to help nursing students develop more positive attitudes towards death and improve their perceptions of spiritual care.

Keywords: Death; Nursing students; Spiritual care; Spirituality.

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Curriculum
  • Death*
  • Humans
  • Spiritual Therapies* / statistics & numerical data
  • Spirituality*
  • Students, Nursing* / psychology
  • Students, Nursing* / statistics & numerical data