Date of Award

Fall 2021

Document Type

Term Paper


College of Natural and Health Sciences

Primary Advisor

Dr. Laurie Pomella


While caring for their patients, nurses often encounter spiritual needs. In a study with 241 hospice, palliative care, and holistic nurses, “all respondents (100%) indicated they had encountered a patient with spiritual needs throughout their nursing clinical practice” (Lukovsky et al., 2021, p. 32). Despite the prevalence of spiritual needs, many nurses feel unable to confront spiritual issues among their patients. According to a survey conducted among 4054 nurses from the UK, “almost 93% of the nurses surveyed believed spiritual care should be addressed, yet only 5.3% felt always able to meet the spiritual need of patients on a regular basis” (Lukovsky et al., 2021, p. 35). Spiritual care, as discussed in this literature review, “is the recognition and support of the religion and/or spirituality dimensions of illness” (Lukovsky et al., 2021, p. 28). While it is important for all nurses to be competent in holistic care, it is especially vital for critical care nurses. Research shows “that patients in critical-care units indicate spiritual needs more frequently than do patients in other hospital units” (Ruth-Sahd et al., 2018, p. 18). According to the American Association of Critical Care Nurses, meeting patients’ spiritual needs is an essential part in promoting healing (Ruth-Sahd et al., 2018). Consequently, it is paramount that critical care nurses are equipped with the proper resources to address these concerns.