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Tools for Evaluating Spirituality in Nursing

Spirituality remains a critical nursing component and has gained significant research interest in recent years. This means using spirituality in nursing practice is not a new concept. The ancient roots of spirituality have given it diverse attributes and made it a dynamic process. In nursing, spirituality has profound applications in caring for patients and influencing the operations of organizations. However, using the spirituality concepts in structured formats can be evaluated through spirituality assessment tools is a new idea rapidly expanding in the profession.

Several tools can evaluate the spirituality concept in nursing. The first tool is the spirituality assessment diagnostic questionnaire (DQ). Nurses utilize the DQ to understand the impact of spirituality on a person’s life (Büssing, 2021). Vaan Hooren developed the questionnaire to help nurses evaluate aspects such as personal beliefs, religion, and culture and how they impacted an individual’s spirituality (Büssing, 2021). DQ has 28 questions and evaluates people from the six dimensions of appreciation, acceptance, consecration, knowledge, integration, and celebration. The DQ provides a comprehensive understanding of spirituality and enhances care delivery.

The second tool is the spirituality triad score (STS). Like the DQ, the STS assists nurses in tracing the spiritual components of an individual’s life. Guidano and Carpenter developed STS to help nurses examine the spiritual maturity of individuals (Sonemanghkara et al., 2019). Besides spiritual maturity, the tool examines religious beliefs and personal belief systems. Even though STS has nine sections, nurses have divided it into three parts: spiritual attitudes, personal religiosity, and mentality (Sonemanghkara et al., 2019). Each of the three parts has distinct areas, such as relationship with God, belief in God, the role of the spirit, and belief in the afterlife. Nurses use the tool to understand the patient’s spiritual outlets.

Besides DQ and STS, other tools applicable to patients include spiritual assessment inventory (SAI), spiritual distress scale-revised (SDS-R), and assessment of religious and spiritual needs (ARSEN). ARSEN is a self-administered and brief tool that examines spiritual and religious needs in adults. On its part, SAI evaluates comprehensive aspects of spirituality, like spiritual well-being and personal experiences with the divine (Timmins & Caldeira, 2017). SDS-R helps nurses identify patients experiencing distress and require spiritual care.

Besides tools for measuring spirituality in patients, several tools have been developed to assess spirituality in nurses. The nurse spiritual assessment questionnaire (NSAQ) has been proven to measure spirituality in nursing practice. NSAQ reveals the nurses’ comfort levels in assessing patient spirituality. The tool comprises 21 items, with responses ranging from extremely comfortable to quite uncomfortable (Harrad et al., 2019). Besides NSAQ, another tool that measures spirituality in nurses is the spirituality evaluation tool. This tool has ten items with responses on a Likert scale. Scales used in evaluating nurses’ spirituality include the spiritual care perspective scale (SCPS), the student survey of spiritual care (SSSC), and the revised spiritual care perspective scale (SCPS-R) (Harrad et al., 2019). These scales evaluate the nurse’s beliefs, preparations for spiritual care, beliefs, practices, attitudes, and perspectives.




Büssing, A. (2021). The Spiritual Needs Questionnaire in Research and Clinical Application: a Summary of Findings.  Journal Of Religion And Health,  60(5), 3732-3748.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10943-021-01421-4

Harrad, R., Cosentino, C., Keasley, R., & Sulla, F. (2019). Spiritual care in nursing: an overview of the measures used to assess spiritual care provision and related factors amongst nurses.  Acta Bio-Medica: Atenei Parmensis,  90(4), 44-55. Retrieved 19 October 2022, from  https://www.researchgate.net/publication/332277375_Spiritual_care_in_nursing_an_overview_of_the_measures_used_to_assess_spiritual_care_provision_and_related_factors_amongst_nurses .

Sonemanghkara, R., Rozo, J., & Stutsman, S. (2019). The Nurse-Chaplain-Family Spiritual Care Triad.  Journal Of Christian Nursing,  36(2), 112-118.  https://doi.org/10.1097/cnj.0000000000000592

Timmins, F., & Caldeira, S. (2017). Assessing the spiritual needs of patients.  Nursing Standard,  31(29), 47-53.  https://doi.org/10.7748/ns.2017.e10312
















Katia Lopez De Mendoza  – Sunday, October 16, 2022, 10:13 AM

Number of replies: 1

Spiritual Care in Nursing Practice Theory

Historically, the concept of spirituality has evolved within nursing and health care practice. Spiritual care is primarily associated with nursing care rather than the overall delivery of health care. In the past, patient care was mainly holistic, including spiritual and religious health care (Cone & Giske, 2018). Nurses generally play a more proactive role in improving the welfare of patients. The provision of holistic care was an essential factor in creating the Spiritual Nursing Care Model.

The empirical development of spiritual care in nursing practice theory incorporated various research studies. Some empirical studies, such as Cone and Giske (2018), make comparisons of how doctors and nurses offer holistic care to patients. The studies determined that physicians would only provide comfort to the patient through continued care. However, doctors could not offer reassurance to patients if they could not discuss their worries. On the other hand, nurses depend on their psychological and social skills to discuss patients’ concerns to provide reassurance and emotional stability. Further studies also recognized the significance of spiritual and holistic health care.

Some of the key theoretical concepts of spirituality include understanding spiritual needs and well-being. Cone and Giske (2018) identified spirituality as a personal desire to obtain answers to ultimate questions about life and relationships. Younas and Quennell (2019) identified spiritual needs as needs for older adults, such as religious beliefs and absolution, while looking for comfort and a sense of meaning and purpose. However, there are significant gaps in nursing studies associated with spiritual nursing care, leading to the formation of Spiritual Nursing Care Theory. Instruments used in empirical testing for spirituality care include measures of general spirituality, well-being, spiritual coping, and spiritual needs.

Spiritual Nursing Care Theory can be used both in the research and education of nurses. The conceptualization of spiritual care nursing theory focuses on addressing the holistic needs of people, including the spiritual needs required to help people achieve spiritual well-being (Younas & Quennell, 2019). In practice, nurses will provide spiritual care by allowing religious leaders to visit patients in hospitals. Nurses will offer spiritual care by showing concern, kindness, and cheerfulness. Integrating spiritual care into the nursing curriculum will provide an essential element of health care learning that addresses the spiritual needs.


Cone, P. H., & Giske, T. (2018). Integrating spiritual care into nursing education and practice: Strategies utilizing open journey theory.  Nurse Education Today,  71, 22–25.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nedt.2018.08.015

Younas, A., & Quennell, S. (2019). Usefulness of nursing theory‐guided practice: An integrative review.  Scandinavian Journal of Caring Sciences,  33(3), 540–555.  https://doi.org/10.1111/scs.12670


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