Student nurses' defining stories of spirituality

Spirituality is an integral element of nursing practice. Yet how pre-registration nursing students learn about spirituality is unclear. This presentation will explore preliminary findings about the influence of practice experiences on students’ awareness and understanding of their own spirituality. The aims of the study were to: 1. Establish pre-registration nursing students’ perceptions and definitions of their own spirituality; 2. Explore pre-registration nursing students’ attitudes and feelings about their own spirituality from their experiences in nursing practice; 3. To identify how and why pre-registration nursing students may or may not recognise certain experiences as ‘spiritual’. A three year, longitudinal, grounded theory, two phased study of pre registration nursing students was undertaken using focus groups, interviews and artefacts presented by participants. Themes and issues identified from the focus groups in Phase 1 were used to inform the interview process in Phase 2. The findings have begun to generate data concerning participants’ belief systems and an understanding of what might constitute their own spirituality, and how this is affected and related to practice. This study is expected to contribute to an understanding of how recognition of spiritual ‘self’ in pre-registration students might develop and the possible impact of practice experiences upon personal understanding and awareness of spirituality. As a consequence educators of pre-registration nursing students may be better equipped to provide learning and teaching strategies that guide and support spiritual ‘sense making’ and the linking of theories on spirituality to the practice environment
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