Attempting to fathom the unfathomable: descriptive views of spirituality

Semin Oncol Nurs. 1997 Nov;13(4):225-30. doi: 10.1016/s0749-2081(97)80015-0.


Objectives: To examine the various views of "spirituality and its uses in the disciplines of philosophy, theology, psychology, and nursing.

Data sources: Definitions and descriptions of spirituality and related terms from the disciplines of philosophy, theology, psychology, and nursing.

Conclusion: Although it is widely accepted that holistic nursing care incorporates care of the spirit, nursing's view of spirituality is influenced by varying paradigms. Nursing researchers are exploring spirituality. Spiritual care that is ethical and sensitive is an invaluable part of total patient care.

Implications for nursing practice: Appreciating various views of spirituality and recognizing the possible discrepancy between a nurse's and a patient's view of spirituality allows the reader to use such terms carefully and appropriately in providing sensitive patient care.

MeSH terms

  • Ethics, Nursing
  • Holistic Nursing*
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / nursing*
  • Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Philosophy
  • Religion and Psychology*