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Meaning of Spirituality and the Nurse's Role in Providing Spiritual Care to the Dying Patient

As nurses educated to heal or cure physical illness, we have this as our priority, if not our only role. Even if we have been aware of other facets of healing, we have tended to shy away from them. We feel embarrassed or uncomfortable when patients or their family and friends raise matters concerning spirituality. We may say we have no time, there are already too many tasks to do, and we don't want to get caught up in other issues. In this age of specialisation we see each person as having a specific role, an expertise in a certain area, and therefore we should not encroach on another's particular field. Some nurses may acknowledge a patient's need for spiritual expression, but feel inadequate to deal with it, due to their own lack of training, or their own spiritual doubts. There are others, and probably these are the majority, who are not quite sure what spirituality is.

This Chapter discusses the meaning of spirituality and how to provide spiritual care to the patient.

Contents include

  • The meaning of spirituality and the nurse's role in providing spiritual care to the dying patient
  • References
  • Other reading
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Author / Editor Biographies

Born in England, in the rural county of Herefordshire, Rosemary Lancaster completed her general education at Ross Grammar School. She trained to become a Registered Nurse at King's College Hospital, London, then spent over a year at Preston Hall Chest Hospital in Kent where she gained the British Tuberculosis Association and National Thoracic Surgery certificates. After training and registration as a midwife she went to Zambia in Central Africa, working in Lusaka and Livingstone in general nursing and midwifery. For over twenty years she has lived in Perth, Western Australia, where she has bee...

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