Spiritual Perspective, Mindfulness, and Spiritual Care Practice of Hospice and Palliative Nurses

Patricia Ricci-Allegra, PhD, RN, CPNP-AC/PC


Journal of Hospice and Palliative Nursing. 2018;20(2):172-179. 

In This Article


Sample Demographics

The sample (N = 104) primarily consisted of female (96.1%), white (99%) nurses ranging in age from 28 to 73 years (mean, 54.4 [SD, 8.36] years). Seventy participants identified as having a religious affiliation, with the majority being of the Christian faith (n = 64). Years of experience as an RN ranged from 2 to 54 years (mean, 26.83 [SD, 11.69] years), with a mean of 8.44 (SD, 7.48) years in hospice and/or palliative nursing. Advanced practice nursing experience ranged from 1 to 38 years (mean, 15.29 [SD, 10] years), with a mean of 8.95 (SD, 6.83) years in hospice and/or palliative care. This was a highly educated sample, with 60% of the nurses having a master's or doctoral degree. Almost two-thirds of participants had some type of spiritual education. Table 1 and Table 2 provide a breakdown of participants' personal and professional characteristics. Table 3 provides a list of sources where the nurses received education regarding spiritual care.

The SPS, MAAS, and NSCTS were found to be reliable in this sample, with Cronbach's α coefficients ranging from .91 to .93 (Table 4).

Spiritual Perspective Scale. Scores for the SPS can range from 1 to 6. In this sample, the mean score of 4.93 (SD, 0.96) indicates a strong salient spiritual perspective in the lives of these nurses. Nurses reporting a religious affiliation had higher spiritual perspective scores compared with nurses not reporting an affiliation (U = 392.5, P < .001, r = 0.54). Statistically significant relationships were found between spiritual perspective and age (ρ = 0.2, P = .046) and spiritual perspective and years of experience as an RN (ρ = 0.208, P = .039); however, these relationships were weak. No statistically significant differences were found regarding spiritual perspective for staff RNs and advanced practice nurses (U = 798.5, P = .591) and those who had received some type of education in spiritual care (U = 975.5, P = .103).

Mindful Attention Awareness Scale. Scores for the MAAS can range from 1 to 6. The mean score for the MAAS was 4.33 (SD, 0.74), indicating a somewhat high degree of mindfulness in this group of nurses. No significant correlations were found between key demographics and mindfulness.

Nurse Spiritual Care Therapeutics Scale. The mean score for this sample was 55.36 (SD, 11.87). To put this score into perspective, nurses who never (0 times) or rarely (1-2 times) provided activities listed on the NSCTS in the past 72 or 80 hours of work would have a score of 17 to 34. No statistically significant relationships were found between key demographic factors and spiritual care practice.

Correlations among spiritual perspective, mindfulness, and spiritual care were examined. No statistically significant relationships were found between hospice and palliative nurses' spiritual perspective and mindfulness (ρ = 0.122, P = .240) or between spiritual perspective and spiritual care practices (ρ = 0.121, P = .266). However, there was a statistically significant relationship between hospice and palliative nurses' mindfulness and spiritual care practice (r = 0.212, P = .05).

Given the significant relationship between mindfulness and spiritual care practice, a simple linear regression was performed to determine how well nurses' mindfulness could predict spiritual care practice in hospice and palliative nurses. The regression equation was statistically significant (F 1,84 = 3.95, P = .05). The R 2 in the equation was 0.045, indicating 4.5% of the variance in nurses' spiritual care practice is predicted by nurses' mindfulness.