Nursing Must be Both Scientific and Spiritual

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Science is not only compatible with spirituality; it is a profound source of spirituality… The notion that science and spirituality are somehow mutually exclusive does a disservice to both.

—Carl Sagan

As nursing advances, it is continuously regarded solely as a field of medical science. Sagan—a renowned American astronomer, astrophysicist, and cosmologist—asserts that spirituality and science cannot only coexist but are compatible, an often debated opinion. He ascertains that science is a source of spirituality rather than a separate entity. Spirituality is not always considered as a fundamental part of nursing albeit nursing’s history and basis of care stems from religion and spirituality. According to Sawatzky & Pesut (2005), this religious foundation precipitated the early conceptualizations of spiritual nursing care.

Spirituality in nursing is often affiliated with Florence Nightingale and roots in the Christian era; however spiritual nursing care predates Christian influence on the care of the sick. The ancient cultures—the Egyptians, Greek, and Romans—also contributed to the concepts of Christian charity related to the caring of the sick (Bullough & Bullough 1987). According to O’Brien (2011), in ancient cultures the offerings of prayer to God or gods was considered an essential aspect of nursing care. During the early Christian era, nursing of the sick or injured was accorded as a place of high honor and respect. It was associated with Jesus’s message to “love one’s neighbor”. From the first recorded acts of nursing heroism and courage displayed by Veronica of Jerusalem to the contemporary Missionaries of Charity—founded by Mother Teresa—spirituality has consistently been a key aspect of holistic nursing care (...

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...n is not essential to a person’s existence and chosen (Burkhardt & Nagai-Jacobson year).

The concern for spirituality in the nursing profession is exemplified in the varying concepts of spiritual care and lack of clear direction of the nature of spirituality which articulates a lack of clear aims and objectives in nursing training (Robinson & Kendrick & Brown 2003). According to bsaifewo (2011), the survey they conducted many nurses reported they lack sufficient educational preparedness in meeting patients’ spiritual needs despite the recent interest in the spiritual dimension of nursing. The study aims to determine if enrollment in a Spirituality in Nursing subject creates a more homogenous idea of spiritual nursing care among registered nurses. The subject of spirituality has been chosen due to the contemporary emergence of interest in spiritual nursing care.

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