Carrying hope: a grounded theory study of pre-registration nursing students' understanding and awareness of their spirituality from experiences in practice

Wigley, Wendy ORCID: (2013) Carrying hope: a grounded theory study of pre-registration nursing students' understanding and awareness of their spirituality from experiences in practice. Doctoral thesis, University of Southampton.

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Spirituality is a phenomenon integral to health and wellbeing and a fundamental element of nursing care. Nonetheless, empirical evidence suggests that spirituality is a frequently ignored aspect of care provision. While there is a multitude of studies that examine the relevance of providing spiritual care to service users, minimal research has been undertaken that examines the spiritual needs of nursing students. Yet there is evidence to suggest that when an individual is cognisant of their own spirituality, they are more likely to recognise spiritual need in another.
Using a Glaserian grounded theory design, the unexplained area of pre-registration nursing students’ personal understanding of their own spirituality is explored; as is the relationship between personal awareness of spirituality and the students’ experiences in clinical practice. Participants comprised of seven pre-registration nursing students undertaking a three-year educational programme. Data was collected over a two year period in two ‘Phases’. Phase 1: two focus groups and Phase 2: twelve one-to-one interviews. Additional data was collected from artefacts created by the participants. These included emails, a drawing and a presentation.
While recognising spirituality as essential to nursing, the participants struggled to define, explain and reconcile the phenomenon in clinical practice. Aware of the fragility of their spirituality they sought to safeguard the phenomenon. This seeking behaviour involved storytelling to search for affirmation regarding the significance of their experiences to spirituality. The findings indicate that pre-registration nursing students carried hope throughout their education. Their awareness of spirituality was augmented by hope. When their spirit was at risk of becoming broken by their experiences, then their hope to carry on was at risk. ‘Carrying hope’ is the process that provided a resolution of clinical experiences. Thus, the emergent theory was one of ‘carrying hope’.
This study has highlighted that broken spirit and loss of hope may impact on attrition and cause students to leave the profession. Further research is required to examine how educators might care for the spiritual needs of pre-registration nursing students. While this study focused on nursing, implications for other vocational professions are identified.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: Medicine and health > Nursing > Nursing practice
Education > Teaching and learning
Medicine and health > Nursing
Depositing User: Wendy Wigley
Date Deposited: 16 Jun 2017 15:04
Last Modified: 28 Aug 2021 07:23

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