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Spiritual and Cultural Assessment Tool in Nursing

In my work setting, I use both interactive spiritual assessment tools, and qualitative assessment tools. Interactive assessment tools involve use of open-ended and reflective questions that assist me in developing a deeper spiritual knowledge for myself and others. The caver questions that assess ability; to seek meaning, and achievement in life, show hope, and accept ambiguity and uncertainty; questions that assess the ability to manifest happiness and recognize strengths, choices, goals and faith; and questions that assess my sense of self, sense of belonging in the universe with others, the capacity of determining to mean in worship activities and connectivity with divinity and connection with life or nature (Blais, 2011, p. 143).

Interactive assessment tools primarily focus on quantitative measures of spirituality. They provide clients little room to negotiate a common understanding of individual experiences (Hodge, 2001, p. 204). I find this tool inadequate, thus, preference of using qualitative spiritual assessment tools which are holistic, individualistic, open-ended, process-oriented, and ideographic. Qualitative spiritual assessment tools involve considering clients’ spiritual history. This is formulated in a spiritual questionnaire that utilizes a sentence-completion format. An example of such an assessment tool asks questions about knowledge of the holy, faith, providence, repentance, grace and others (Grand, 2004, p. 36)).

Guidelines for Spiritual/Cultural Needs Work Setting

My practice setting provides nurses with written guidelines related to meeting the spiritual and cultural needs of patients. The guidelines contain intentional spiritual assessments. These assessment guidelines are completed using a deliberate systematic procedure. Generally, they are completed at the point of admission, transfer, or during a crisis incident that might cause spiritual distress. The guidelines provide nurses with ability to master the type of questions that elicit spiritual assessment data (De Luca, B. 2008, p,..

My practice setting also utilizes situational spiritual assessment to deal with special circumstances. The approach is not planned but relies on clients’, or family behavior, or expressed needs. In special circumstances, such as patients who refuse a blood transfusion, or who ask for a special religious ceremony, nurses are required to be sensitive and willing to listen to help patients identify spiritual needs and provide spiritual support. It is also essential for nurses to enhance effective communication with the client and other stakeholders. Patients set the direction for spiritual care and provide permission for any intervention. Spiritual care is best realized when the nurse and client think the same.

Examples for Caring for Patient Spiritual/Cultural Needs

Nurses in my work setting should develop intuition and specialization to be able to assess the spiritual/cultural needs of patients. Nurses should assess themselves prior to developing intuition and expertise to assess spiritual/cultural needs. For example, nurses should understand their self-identities; who they are, and state their purpose. Identification of spiritual needs of patients requires communication. At certain times, a nurse’s expression of compassion may be enough to satisfy some patients’ spiritual needs (Thomas, 2003, p. 46). At other times, spiritual needs of patients have not met due to presence a psychosocial intervention. Since most patients’ desire discussion of spiritual issues, nurses may ask simple screening questions that will not offend those who decline. Depending on the response, a standard spiritual assessment, for which various tools exist, can follow (Blais, 2011, 147).

Developing Spiritual/Cultural Guidelines for Patients

In case of the inadequacy of assessment tools or guidelines, nurses will work in partnership with patients to develop a comprehensive guide of care. The care guide plan can be individual and will require the patient’s cultural influence. In assessing a patient’s needs, it is important for nurses to elicit open-ended questions and allow the patient opportunities to explain. For instance, a nurse will be required to listen with respect and remain non-judgmental. This will ensure that the spiritual /cultural beliefs and needs of patients are assessed carefully and understood comprehensively. Awareness of clients’ spiritual needs enables nurses to develop effective spiritual assessment criteria. Nurses will also be able to determine if patients’ have unresolved spiritual requirements (Blais, 2011, p. 150).


Blais, K., & Hayes, J. (2011). Professional nursing Practice. New Jersey: Prentice Hall

De Luca, 2008 (2008). Mind-body and Relaxation Research Focus. New York: Nova Grant, D. (2004). Spiritual Interventions: Holistic Nursing Practice, 18(1), 36–42.

Thomas, K. (2003). Caring for the Dying at Home. New York: Radcliff Publishing.

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