Nursing and Midwifery Council. The code. 2018. (accessed 13 February 2019)

Working within a spiritual framework

28 February 2019
Volume 28 · Issue 4


Chris Barber, Visiting Lecturer (Learning Disabilities), Birmingham City University (, offers tips for nurses on supporting patients in the spiritual aspects of their lives

Providing appropriate spiritual care and support to patients, service users and their families within a healthcare setting, and providing that support in appropriate ways, is a minefield where, it could be argued, only the brave or the foolish would rush in. Surely this is the province of the chaplaincy team? Yet, to provide holistic and person-centred care to all patients or service users, regardless of setting, the spiritual dimension of the person must be recognised, met and addressed. This article includes tips that may make understanding and working within a spiritual framework a little easier.

Although spirituality and religion are closely linked, they are not the same. Spirituality can be viewed and understood as:

Spirituality is not about gender, clothing, personal hygiene or dietary rules, customs and regulations, although these may form crucial aspects of how spirituality is lived within a religious framework. Neither is it the acquisition of information or factual knowledge from books or journal articles. However, some may develop and express their spirituality through:

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