Skip to main content
×
Home
    • Aa
    • Aa

Collective soul: The spirituality of an interdisciplinary palliative care team

  • SHANE SINCLAIR (a1), SHELLEY RAFFIN (a2), JOSE PEREIRA (a3) and NANCY GUEBERT (a4)
Abstract

Objective: Although spirituality as it relates to patients is gaining increasing attention, less is known about how health care professionals (HCP) experience spirituality personally or collectively in the workplace. This study explores the collective spirituality of an interdisciplinary palliative care team, by studying how individuals felt about their own spirituality, whether there was a shared sense of a team spirituality, how spirituality related to the care the team provided to patients and whether they felt that they provided spiritual care.

Methods: A qualitative autoethnographic approach was used. The study was conducted in a 10-bed Tertiary Palliative Care Unit (TPCU) in a large acute-care referral hospital and cancer center. Interdisciplinary team members of the TPCU were invited to participate in one-to-one interviews and/or focus groups. Five interviews and three focus groups were conducted with a total of 20 participants.

Results: Initially participants struggled to define spirituality. Concepts of spirituality relating to integrity, wholeness, meaning, and personal journeying emerged. For many, spirituality is inherently relational. Others acknowledged transcendence as an element of spirituality. Spirituality was described as being wrapped in caring and often manifests in small daily acts of kindness and of love, embedded within routine acts of caring. Palliative care served as a catalyst for team members' own spiritual journeys. For some participants, palliative care represented a spiritual calling. A collective spirituality stemming from common goals, values, and belonging surfaced.

Significance of results: This was the first known study that focused specifically on the exploration of a collective spirituality. The culture of palliative care seems to foster spiritual reflection among health care professionals both as individuals and as a whole. While spirituality was difficult to describe, it was a shared experience often tangibly present in the provision of care on all levels.

Copyright
Corresponding author
Corresponding author: Shane Sinclair, Spiritual Care Services, Foothills Medical Centre, 1403 29 Street NW, Calgary, Alberta T2N 2T9, Canada. E-mail: shane.sinclair@calgaryhealthregion.ca
References
Hide All

REFERENCES

Ajemian, I. (1993). The interdisciplinary team. In Oxford Textbook of Palliative Medicine, Doyle, D., Hanks, G. & MacDonald, N. (eds.), pp. 1728. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Astrow, A., Puchalski, C., & Sulmasy, D. (2001). Religion, spirituality and heath care: Social, ethical, and practical considerations. The American Journal of Medicine, 110, 283287.
Ben-Arye, E., Bar-Sela, G., Frenkel, M., et al. (2005). Is a biopsychosocial-spiritual approach relevant to cancer treatment? A study of patients and oncology staff members on issues of complementary medicine and spirituality. Supportive Care in Cancer, 13, 111.
Brock, C. & Salmsky, J. (1993). Empathy: An essential skill for understanding the physician–patient relationship in clinical practice. Family Medicine, 25, 245248.
Burns, S. (1991). The spirituality of the dying. Health Progress, 72, 4854.
Byrne, M. (2001). Who cares for the spirit in palliative care? Progress in Palliative Care, 9, 129130.
Campbell, J. (1982). Myths to Live By. Toronto: Bantam Books.
Cassell, E. (1982). The nature of suffering and the goals of medicine. New England Journal of Medicine, 306, 639645.
Cawley, N. (1997). An exploration of the concept of spirituality. International Journal of Palliative Care, 3, 3136.
Cherlin, E., Schulman-Green, D., McCorkle, R., et al. (2004). Family perceptions of clinicians' outstanding practices in end-of-life care. Journal of Palliative Care, 20, 113116.
Chochinov, H. (2002). Dignity-conserving care. JAMA, 287, 22532260.
Cobb, M. (2001). The Dying Soul: Spiritual Care at the End of Life. Buckingham: Oxford University Press.
Daaleman, T. & VandeCreek, L. (2000). Placing religion and spirituality in end-of-life care. JAMA, 284, 25142517.
Ehman, J., Ott, B., Short, T., et al. (1999). Do patients want physicians to inquire about their spiritual or religious beliefs if they become gravely ill? Archives of Internal Medicine, 159, 18031806.
Elkins, D., Hedstrom, L., Hughes, L., et al. (1988). Toward a humanistic-phenomenological spirituality: Definition, description, and measurement. Journal of Humanisitc Psychology, 28, 518.
Ferguson, S., Wright, D., & Packer, J. (1988). New Dictionary of Theology. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press.
Fetterman, D. (1983). Ethnography: Step by Step. Newbury Park: Sage.
Fitchett, G. & Handzo, G. (1998). Spiritual assessment, screening, and intervention. In Psycho-Oncology, Holland, J. (ed.), p. 808. New York: Oxford University Press.
Flannelly, K., Weaver, A., & Costa, K. (2004). A systematic review of religion and spirituality in three palliative care journals, 1990–1999. Journal of Palliative Care, 20, 5056.
George H. Gallup International Institute. (1997). Spiritual beliefs and the dying process: A report on a national survey. Princeton, NJ: Author.
Germain, C. (1993). Ethnography: The method. In Nursing Research: A Qualitative Perspective, Munhall, P. & Oiler Boyd, C. (eds.), pp. 237268. New York: National League for Nursing.
Grey, A. (1994). The spiritual component of palliative care. Palliative Medicine, 8, 215221.
Griffin, A. (1983). A philosophical analysis of caring in nursing. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 8, 293.
Guba, E.G. & Lincoln, Y.S. (2000). Competing paradigms in qualitative research. In Handbook of Qualitative Research, 3rd ed. Denzin, N.K. & Lincoln, Y.S. (eds.), pp. 163188. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Hegarty, M. (2001). The dynamic of hope: Hoping in the face of death. Progress in Palliative Care, 9, 4246.
Kearney, M. (2000). A Place of Healing. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Krikorian, D. & Moser, D. (1985). Satisfactions and stresses experienced by professional nurses in hospice programs. The American Journal of Hospice Care, 2, 2533.
Kuhl, D. (2002). What Dying People Want. Toronto: Anchor.
Maddix, T. & Pereira, J. (2001). Reflecting on the work of palliative care. Journal of Palliative Medicine, 4, 373378.
Martsolf, D. & Mickley, J. (1998). The concept of spirituality in nursing theories: Differing world-views and extent of focus. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 27, 294303.
McCabe, M. (1997). Clinical response to spiritual issues. In Topics in Palliative Care, Portenay, R. & Bruera, E., (eds.), pp. 279290. New York: Oxford University Press.
McClain, C., Rosenfeld, B., & Breitbart, W. (2003). Effect of spiritual well-being on end-of-life despair in terminally-ill cancer patients. The Lancet, 361, 16031607.
McSherry, W. & Draper, P. (1997). The spiritual dimension: Why the absence within nursing curricula? Nurse Education Today, 17, 413417.
Millison, M. (1988). Spirituality and the caregiver. The American Journal of Hospice Care, 5, 3744.
Millison, M. & Dudley, J. (1990). The importance of spirituality in hospice work: A study of hospice professionals. The Hospice of Journal, 6, 6378.
Morse, J. & Richards, L. (2002). Read Me First: For a User's Guide to Qualitative Methods. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Nagai-Jacobsen, M.G. & Burkhardt, M.A. (1989). Spirituality: Cornerstone of holistic nursing practice. Holistic Nursing Practice, 3, 1826.
O'Connor, P. & Kaplan, M. (1986). The role of the interdisciplinary team in providing spiritual care: An attitudinal study of hospice workers. In In Quest of the Spiritual Component of Care for the Terminally Ill, Wald, F. (ed.), pp. 5162. New Haven: Yale University Press.
Prochnau, C., Liu, L., & Boman, J. (2003). Personal-professional connections in palliative care occupational therapy. The American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 57, 196204.
Puchalski, C. & Romer, A. (2000). Taking a spiritual history allows clinicians to understand patients more fully. Journal of Palliative Care, 3, 129137.
Reed, P. (1997). Spirituality and well-being in terminally ill hospitalized adults. Research in Nursing & Health, 10, 335344.
Rose, S. (2001). Is the term ‘spirituality’ a word that everyone uses, but nobody knows what anyone means by it? Journal of Contemporary Religion, 16, 193207.
Ross, L. (1994). Spiritual care: The nurse's role. Nursing Standard, 8, 3537.
Ross, L. (1995). The spiritual dimension: Its importance to patients' health, well-being and quality of life and its implications for nursing practice. International Journal of Nursing Studies, 32, 457468.
Saunders, C. (1988). Spiritual pain. Journal of Palliative Care, 4, 2932.
Saunders, C. (1993). Introduction—“History and Challenge.” In The Management of Terminal Malignant Diseases, 3rd ed. Saunders, C., Sykes & N. (eds.), pp. 115. London: Edward Arnold.
Sloan, R.P., Bagiella, E., & Powell, T. (1999). Religion, spirituality and medicine. The Lancet, 353, 664667.
Smith, E., Stefanek, M., Joseph, M., et al. (1993). Spiritual awareness, personal perspectives on death, and psychosocial distress among cancer patients: An initial investigation. Journal of Psychosocial Oncology, 11, 89103.
Spradley, J.P. (1979). The Ethnographic Interview. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston.
Taylor, E. & Ersek, M. (1995). Ethical and spiritual dimensions of cancer pain management. In Cancer Pain Management, 2nd ed., McGuire, D., Yarbro, C. & Ferrell, B. (eds.), pp. 4160. Boston: Jones and Bartlett.
Vincent, P. & Garrison-Peace, H. (1985). Do hospice nurses differ from non-hospice nurses? The American Journal of Hospice Care, 2, 36.
Walter, T. (1997). The idealogy and organization of spiritual care: Three approaches. Palliative Medicine, 11, 2130.
Weaver, M., Ow, C., Walker, D., et al. (1993). A questionnaire for patients’ evaluations of their physicians humanistic behaviours. Journal of General Internal Medicine, 8, 12351239.
White, G. (2000). An inquiry into the concepts of spirituality and spiritual care. International Journal of Palliative Nursing, 6, 479484.
World Health Organization. (1990). Technical report series 804. Geneva: Author.
Wright, M. (2001). Chaplaincy in hospice and hospital: Findings from a survey in England and Wales. Palliative Medicine, 15, 229242.
Wright, M.C. (2002). The essence of spiritual care: A phenomenological enquiry. Palliative Medicine, 16, 125132.
Yates, J., Chalmer, B., St. James, P., et al. (1981). Religion in patients with advanced cancer. Medical and Pediatric Oncology, 9, 121128.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Palliative & Supportive Care
  • ISSN: 1478-9515
  • EISSN: 1478-9523
  • URL: /core/journals/palliative-and-supportive-care
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Keywords:

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 2
Total number of PDF views: 22 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 183 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 20th October 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.