Date of Paper/Work


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Leadership (Ed.D.)

Type of Paper/Work



Kathleen M. Boyle, Ph.D.; Sarah Noonan, Ed.D.; Eleni Roulis, Ph.D.


How do nurses form their patterns for practice of spiritual care? Developmental theory provided a framework for conceptualizing and analyzing how nurses integrate patterns into practice and shape spiritual care. Registered Nurses (n=12), as alumni of a faith-based liberal arts institution, participated in phenomenological research with individual interviews, focus group interviews, and follow-up interviews. Participants described their lived experience and how they approach spiritual assessment as required by the Joint Commission standard for US nurses. Demographic characteristics included: 2 males and 10 females, diploma and associate degree prepared RNs, and completion of RN to baccalaureate degree programs in the last four years. Participants reported a variety of clinical practice settings with patients of diversity in hospital systems. Participants emphasized the importance of identifying role models, first time experiences in providing spiritual care, offering supportive services, participating in prayer and religious practices, personal constructions of spirituality, nuances in spiritual assessment, holistic spiritual interventions, cultural considerations, and spiritual care in varied practice settings. The following patterns emerged regarding development and practice in spiritual care: trusting intuition, sensing, and awareness; connecting through caring and comforting; surveying and offering spiritual support; and affirming affiliation or accommodating religious/spiritual practices. Findings suggest nurses incorporated holistic care concepts from dialogue through innovative strategies or alternative pedagogies in nursing education and nurses who grow in personal faith development integrate and shape patterns in providing spiritual care.


Spiritual care, Registered Nurse, RN, associate degree, baccalaureate degree, RN to baccalaureate programs, nursing education, Joint Commission standard, holistic care, phenomenology, spiritual assessment, patterns in providing spiritual care, competency, nurse preparation, innovative strategies, lived experience, practice settings, hospital systems, dialogue-based education, alternative pedagogies, cultural considerations, diversity, US nurses

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

This file may be slow to open due to its size. For best results, right-click and select "save as..."

Included in

Education Commons