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

Implications for Nursing

Findings from this study suggest clinician mindfulness impacts spiritual care provision. Nursing educators in both academic and practice settings may consider incorporating mindfulness training or encourage development of individual mindful practices as a means to enhance provision of spiritual care. Ponte and Koppel[29] describe a number of mindful practices nurses can utilize in the course of daily patient care such as breathing mindfully between patients or while washing hands and focusing on the patient in front of you and not thinking about previous patients or upcoming tasks. Mindfulness explained a small percentage of the variance in spiritual care practice. Future research should focus on exploring additional factors that could impact spiritual care provision, as well as the impact of clinician mindfulness on patient care and outcomes.

The research findings did not show significant correlations between mindfulness and age or with years of nursing experience, or between spiritual care practice and age or with years of nursing experience. There were only a small percentage of nurses 40 years or younger (7%), which needs to be considered when interpreting findings. However, the lack of significance suggests that undergraduate nursing students, who are typically younger, and novice nurses may be just as capable and likely to provide spiritual care as their older and/or experienced colleagues.

There was not a statistically significant relationship between spiritual perspective and spiritual care in this study, which is inconsistent with prior research findings.[13–15] Instruments can measure varying aspects of spiritual perspective: intensity of attitudes/convictions and experiences, frequency of distinct practices/activities, spiritual well-being and meaning/purpose, coping strategies and resources, and psychosocial and spiritual needs.[30] Future researchers need to be aware of the challenges of measuring spiritual perspective and consider prior work when choosing instruments.[31]

Research exploring nurses' spiritual perspectives and spiritual care practice is from samples that contain predominately white Christian female subjects older than 40 years. Future research should be conducted with diverse samples and avoid convenience sampling because of potential biases with self-selection.