SPIRITUALITY AND SPIRITUAL CARE IN NURSING PRACTICE: A CASE OF BACHELOR OF NURSING SCIENCE PREPARED NURSES IN BOTSWANA
Historically, nursing care evolved as a vocation in the religious milieu for those who were freed from self– preoccupation by knowledge of God’s love. The spiritual heritage of nursing origin, having been eroded by secularization, technology and materialism, is now gaining popularity as a component of holistic care. Without spiritual care, health care remains unbalanced and this makes holistic care a dream too far to reach. Spiritual care provides attention to the feelings of patients. The common feelings include, but not limited to, desire for love, faith, trust, and other inspiration that provides meaning and purpose for existence. According to literature, patients indicate desire to have their spiritual needs to be met during illness, nurses also acknowledge that patients as spiritual beings are in need of spiritual care. Researcher’s view is that, nurses find it difficult to conduct spiritual assessment or to meet patients’ spiritual needs and this may possibly be due to lack of knowledge. This report is a part of a larger mixed method study conducted to explore knowledge and attitudes of nurses about Spirituality and Spiritual care in one of the cities in Botswana.. A qualitative approach was used on a focus group of 15 baccalaureate nurses involved directly with patient care in 24 hour operating clinics in one of the cities in Botswana. A purposive sampling method was used to select the respondents while a semi structured interview was used to collect data.
Using Atlas ti software for qualitative analysis, themes that emerged from participants’ direct codes revealed that nurses lacked education on spirituality and spiritual care. Asked if they experienced any challenges for offering spiritual care, nurses became more focused on other concerns such as environmental stressors which included lack of medical equipment and poor staffing. Patients’ religious and cultural practices were cited as delaying attendance to modern health care. Personal barriers, burnout, stress and compassion fatigue were some of the issues raised by nurses. Findings revealed that, disabling environment and compassionate fatigue was a major cause for failure to provide spiritual care. Provision of supervision, support and mentoring of staff are strategies essential for alleviation of stress and burnout that prevents nurses from offering spiritual care to patients. Health care system policies and Stakeholders need to embrace the spiritual welfare of patients and health care providers.