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Highfield Martha Farrar Ph.D. R.N. O.C.N.
Cancer Nursing: February 1992
Original Article: PDF Only

Although nurses describe their professional uniqueness as care of the whole person, the spiritual needs of patients often have received little attention. Therefore, this descriptive, cross-sectional survey was designed to investigate the spiritual health of oncology patients and how well oncology nurses assess spiritual health. To achieve these aims, parallel nurse (r = 0.92) and patient (r = 0.89) Spiritual Health Inventories (SHI's) were distributed to a convenience sample of 40 nurse-inpatient pairs from two hospitals. Twenty three patients with primary lung cancer and twenty seven registered nurses responded (n = 50). Analysis of SHI scores of the 21 nurse-patient pairs indicated that these nurses inaccurately assessed their patients' spiritual health (p < 0.05), and that patient and nurse subjects preferred different spiritual caregivers. Patient respondents reported a normatively high level of spiritual health, positively related both to age (p < 0.02) and physical well-being (p < 0.014). Afro-American and Caucasian nurse respondents rated the spiritual health of patients higher than nurses of Asian origin (p < 0.006).

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