Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)




The purpose of this qualitative grounded theory study is to identify processes that parish nurses use to assess spiritual needs, to develop interventions that address these needs, and to evaluate meeting these needs. Parish nurses are one group of specialty nurses who outwardly emphasize the importance of holistic care and who attempt to incorporate the spiritual aspect of holistic care into each client contact. While all nurses learn about spiritual care many nurses are uncomfortable and inexperienced in addressing clients’ spirituality. No other research has been done like this with this population. Grounded theory design and methodology including constant comparative analysis was utilized. Semi-structured audio-taped interviews were conducted with 10 Parish nurses providing care in several different settings (e.g. two nurses worked in ecumenical parish nurse programs). After human subject review was completed and data gathered, the emergent information resulted in the development of an algorithm for spiritual care as provided by parish nurses. The identification of the core variable of “journeying together” supported the development of a model of parish nurses’ perspectives of addressing spiritual care which also included the phenomena’s context, intervening conditions, properties and dimensions. Understanding this ability of delivering spiritual care can assist nurses in other settings to feel comfortable with providing spiritual care. This information can be used in the education of new parish nurses. It also assists their mentors in recognizing the skill development and internal spiritual development that needs to occur for them to become expert parish nurses. Also, there are areas that need further investigation through research such as how parish nurses grow in their spiritual development so they enhance their ability to provide spiritual care to their clients.