Transcending the physical: spiritual aspects of pain in patients with HIV and/or cancer

J Adv Nurs. 1998 Dec;28(6):1236-41. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2648.1998.00844.x.


Spirituality is an important though often neglected aspect of pain in patients with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and/or cancer, for both patients and nurses. The spiritual domain involves: (1) meaning, (2) hope and (3) love and relatedness. The author examines spiritual aspects of pain in persons with HIV and/or cancer, as supported by the literature. Understanding spiritual aspects of pain carries implications for nursing. One of these implications is that it is important for the nurse to be closer to his/her own spirit in order to be there for the patient in pain. Other nursing implications include spiritual assessment and interventions, such as presence, attentive listening, acceptance and judicious self-disclosure, for promoting comfort and diminishing pain.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • HIV Infections / complications*
  • Humans
  • Love
  • Morale
  • Neoplasms / complications*
  • Nursing Assessment
  • Pain / etiology*
  • Pain / nursing
  • Pain / psychology*
  • Pain Measurement
  • Pastoral Care* / methods
  • Religion and Psychology*