Definition of Spiritual Caring

Definition of Spiritual Caring

Nursing for the sick is a special calling that demands compassion, understanding a longsuffering. For a long time, nursing was viewed from a secular point of view. Ethical and moral principles have been advanced by theorists in order to provide guidelines for the expected code of conduct among practitioners. However, the book called to care: a Christian worldview for nursing has revolutionized the beliefs and practice of nursing. In this book, Shelly and Allen (2009) contend that a patient ought to be cared for as a free moral spiritual being whose recovery is pegged on his relationship with God and this can be achieved through spiritual care.

Chapter thirteen of the book advances the discipline of nursing as a field that should be considered a Christian duty which is affected by the nurse’s personal belief in religion, God and how these concepts affect our environment and those we care for. This ideology places nursing care at the level of Christian duty. Spiritual care can be understood to mean the caring of patients by meeting their spiritual needs and those of their families as well. Patients tend to have psychological disturbances resulting from their sufferings and such questions can be answered by meeting their spiritual needs. A cancer patient may be disturbed in understanding why he is suffering, why God seems to be far from him and more questions. This is the point that spiritual care comes into play. Shelly and Allen (2009) provide the case of Donna who had suffered a stroke, cancer, kidney failures and feared that God was very cruel. They go further to give an illustration of Jesus’ approach to the paralytic man who needed a spiritual attention despite communities’ negative attitude towards Jesus’ approach.

From this understanding, nursing besides being a routine duty caring for the physical and psychological needs of a patient as traditionally believed, it encompasses the provision of the spiritual needs of the patient (Timmins & Caldeira, 2017). However this must be exercised respecting the patient’s autonomy, but still proceeding with caution to ensure beneficence and avoiding maleficence for the pursuit of a just goal.


Timmins, F., & Caldeira, S. (2017). Understanding spirituality and spiritual care in nursing. Nursing Standard31(22), 50-57.

Shelly, J. A., & Miller, A. B. (2009). Called to care: A Christian worldview for nursing. Westmont, IL: InterVarsity Press.