The aim of this study was to explore how Thai nurses in intensive care units of a university hospital in Bangkok provided spiritual care to their patients.
The function of nursing is to promote health, prevent illness, restore health and alleviate suffering. An holistic approach to this promotion includes spirituality.
An explorative qualitative study was used.
Thirty Thai nurses, selected through purposive sampling with the snowball technique, participated voluntarily. Semi-structured interviews with open-ended questions were carried out, taped-recorded, transcribed verbatim and subjected to content analysis.
Five themes related to the provision of spiritual care emerged: giving mental support, facilitating religious rituals and cultural beliefs, communicating with patients and patients' families, assessing the spiritual needs of patients and showing respect and facilitating family participation in care. Several ways of improving the spiritual care were suggested by the nurses.
Spirituality was an important part of the care for the nurses when meeting the needs of their patients and the patients' families. Therefore, nursing education should enhance nurses' understanding and awareness of spiritual issues and prepare them to respond to human spiritual needs.
RELEVANCE TO CLINICAL PRACTICE
Nurses should consider spirituality as an important component of holistic care. During their professional career, they should expand their knowledge and understanding of spirituality and develop tools for assessment of spiritual needs.
2010. Vol. 19, no 7-8, 1121-1128 p.