Journal of Nursing Education

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Major Articles 

Teaching Spiritual Care in a Public Institution: Legal Implications, Standards of Practice, and Ethical Obligations

Cheryl M. Lantz, MSN, RN

Abstract

ABSTRACT

This article reviews the status of teaching spiritual care in a public institution of higher education. The resurgence of interest in spiritual care across the United States has spurred interest and expanded theories of spirituality within the nursing profession. Nursing education rose to the challenge of teaching spiritual care theories and interventions to students, despite the absence of policy to guide educators. However, differences between public and private educational institutions have led to variations in the teaching of spiritual care. In addition to the legal implications stemming from the need for separation of church and state, nurses must also be aware of their ethical obligations in order to teach spiritual care concepts appropriately. The accrediting agencies for nursing education programs and hospitals, as well as state licensure boards, foster high expectations for nurses to provide spiritual care. A call for research and policy development to guide nurse educators is also addressed in this article.

AUTHOR

Received: May 31, 2005

Accepted: November 11, 2005

Ms. Lantz is a doctoral student, University of North Dakota, College of Nursing, Grand Forks, North Dakota, and Assistant Professor of Nursing, Dickinson State University, Department of Nursing, Dickinson, North Dakota.

Address correspondence to Cheryl M. Lantz, MSN, RN, Assistant Professor of Nursing, Dickinson State University, Department of Nursing, 291 Campus Drive, Dickinson, ND 58601; e-mail: cheryl.lantz@dsu.nodak.edu.

Abstract

ABSTRACT

This article reviews the status of teaching spiritual care in a public institution of higher education. The resurgence of interest in spiritual care across the United States has spurred interest and expanded theories of spirituality within the nursing profession. Nursing education rose to the challenge of teaching spiritual care theories and interventions to students, despite the absence of policy to guide educators. However, differences between public and private educational institutions have led to variations in the teaching of spiritual care. In addition to the legal implications stemming from the need for separation of church and state, nurses must also be aware of their ethical obligations in order to teach spiritual care concepts appropriately. The accrediting agencies for nursing education programs and hospitals, as well as state licensure boards, foster high expectations for nurses to provide spiritual care. A call for research and policy development to guide nurse educators is also addressed in this article.

AUTHOR

Received: May 31, 2005

Accepted: November 11, 2005

Ms. Lantz is a doctoral student, University of North Dakota, College of Nursing, Grand Forks, North Dakota, and Assistant Professor of Nursing, Dickinson State University, Department of Nursing, Dickinson, North Dakota.

Address correspondence to Cheryl M. Lantz, MSN, RN, Assistant Professor of Nursing, Dickinson State University, Department of Nursing, 291 Campus Drive, Dickinson, ND 58601; e-mail: cheryl.lantz@dsu.nodak.edu.

ABSTRACT

This article reviews the status of teaching spiritual care in a public institution of higher education. The resurgence of interest in spiritual care across the United States has spurred interest and expanded theories of spirituality within the nursing profession. Nursing education rose to the challenge of teaching spiritual care theories and interventions to students, despite the absence of policy to guide educators. However, differences between public and private educational institutions have led to variations in the teaching of spiritual care. In addition to the legal implications stemming from the need for separation of church and state, nurses must also be aware of their ethical obligations in order to teach spiritual care concepts appropriately. The accrediting agencies for nursing education programs and hospitals, as well as state licensure boards, foster high expectations for nurses to provide spiritual care. A call for research and policy development to guide nurse educators is also addressed in this article.

AUTHOR

Received: May 31, 2005

Accepted: November 11, 2005

Ms. Lantz is a doctoral student, University of North Dakota, College of Nursing, Grand Forks, North Dakota, and Assistant Professor of Nursing, Dickinson State University, Department of Nursing, Dickinson, North Dakota.

Address correspondence to Cheryl M. Lantz, MSN, RN, Assistant Professor of Nursing, Dickinson State University, Department of Nursing, 291 Campus Drive, Dickinson, ND 58601; e-mail: cheryl.lantz@dsu.nodak.edu.

10.3928/01484834-20070101-07

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