Spirituality was a significant part of nursing from the beginning of the profession. The nursing profession was viewed by Florence Nightingale with a spiritual perspective in mind. She believed that one should receive a call from God to become a nurse (Tuck, Pullen, & Lynn, 1997). Then, with the emergence of modem medicine in the early 1900’s, there was a shift away from the need for spirituality. However, since the 1980’s, there has been an increasing interest in the practical use and obvious need for the spiritual being to be cared for as well as the physical (Narayanasamy, 2001). Brush and Daly (2000) state, “While nursing may be distinguished from medicine through its commitment to holistic practice, the patient’s spiritual dimension has also been consistently neglected by nurses in patient assessment and clinical practice” (p.67). The current level of nursing knowledge regarding the role of the nurse practitioner in supporting the client’s spirituality and its effects on health outcomes is limited. A systematic review of the literature using a computer search of CINAHL, MEDLINE, and COCHRANE identified a gap in the literature regarding the role of the nurse practitioner in supporting the client’s spirituality and its effects on health outcomes. Literature reviewed totaled 25 manuscripts, which represented another 825 references. There were only six articles that explored the variables of nurse practitioner and spirituality.. However, literature on spirituality and nursing has been explored extensively. Katharine Kolcaba’s Theory o f Comfort served as the theoretical foundation for this project. Evidence Based Medicine (EBM) approach, which is based on the work of Sackett, Richarson, Rosenberg, and Haynes (2000) will be used for this project EBM is the integration of clinical expertise, patient values, and the best evidence into the decision making process for patient care. According to Thomas, Finch, Schoenhofer, and Green (2004), spirituality was identified as a significant theme in the caring relationship between the nurse practitioner and the patient. According to Delaney (2005), patients consider spiritual care a priority, but research shows the spiritual needs of patients are not being met resulting in poor health outcomes. Seventy-seven percent o f nurse practitioner respondents reported having received some education in spiritual care, but over half of them stated they did not feel that education was adequate (Stranahan, 2001). Nurse practitioners have the perfect opportunity to include spirituality in today’s health care practice (Treloar, 2000). Recommendations from the integrated literature review include the need for friture research investigating the role of the nurse practitioner in supporting the client’s spirituality. Implications for nursing theory, nursing research, advanced practice nursing, nurse practitioner education, and health policy are provided as they emerge from the concepts explored.


Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)


Graduate Nursing

Degree Date


Publication Number


First Advisor

Dr. Rebecca Cagle

Document Type


Included in

Nursing Commons