Connection: an exploration of spirituality in nursing care

J Adv Nurs. 1998 Apr;27(4):836-42. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2648.1998.00596.x.


This paper aims to explore the meaning of spirituality in relation to nursing care using concept synthesis. Walker and Avant give three ways in which concept synthesis can occur: discovering new dimensions to old concepts, searching for similarities and discrepancies among sets of related concepts, and observing previously undescribed phenomena. It is the first two of these methods which have been used here. The phenomena that emerged from a reading of the literature around spirituality were meaning, presencing, empathy/compassion, giving hope, love, religion/transcendence, touch and healing. These phenomena were studied in order to sort them into fewer categories. They all appeared to be products of a relationship, some physical (presencing, touch and healing), and others emotional (meaning, empathy/compassion, hope, love, and religion/transcendence). Some of the phenomena appeared to fit in both categories, especially healing, which could be of a physical or emotional/spiritual nature. Once the two main categories had been arranged, it was obvious that a split between psyche and soma was not appropriate for labelling the spiritual dimensions of nursing care, as the original definition of spirit was something which motivated the body. Spiritual care is inseparable from physical, social and psychological care because together they form the whole (Bradshaw 1994 p. 282). The two categories were then collapsed into one and given the label 'connection'.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Empathy
  • Holistic Nursing
  • Humans
  • Love
  • Nurse-Patient Relations
  • Nursing Care / psychology*
  • Nursing Theory*
  • Pastoral Care*
  • Psychophysiology
  • Religion*
  • Therapeutic Touch