This is an educational program building on a Christian foundation. It is designed to provide practicing nurses with the state of science of spiritual care. It also aims at providing nurses with skills to assess and address spiritual concerns of patients in a variety of settings and for patients coming from various religious/spiritual beliefs and backgrounds.

The program covers four main areas:

Session one: Spiritual care overview: Content and mandate

Session two: Spiritual care assessment

Session three: Spiritual interventions and care

Session four: Challenges in spiritual care

The curriculum covers the fundamentals of spiritual care in nursing. The program builds on an understanding that teaching and learning is an interactive process and that spirituality in nursing is a lifelong learning process. The program is global in scope, cultural sensitive, flexible in its pedagogy, students centered and focused on practical application.

The program is ideally taught in between 10 – 12 hours, and participants will get a Participants book with all the slides used in the educational program.

All nurses with interest in spiritual care are welcome to attend the NCFI educational program of Art and Science of Spiritual Care.


If you want more information about the educational program, please contact Tove Giske at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or Carrie Dameron at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

The Ninth European Regional Quadrennial Conference of NCFI

18-22 September 2014 at Santa María de los Negrales , Madrid.


The conference theme will be

The Christian Heritage of Holistic Nursing: A vision for the future

Much is written today about whole person care and its central place in nursing practice, but this is not a new idea.  In the historic role of the churches in caring for the sick, dying and disabled, the emphasis was as much on caring for the spiritual needs of the person as it was on the physical, social or psychological needs.

What can we learn from this Christian heritage as we seek to practice holistic nursing in twenty first century Europe? This conference will bring together nursing researchers, educators and nurse practitioners from across the continent and beyond to explore the history, present practice and future direction of whole person nursing informed by the Christian faith and heritage in holistic care.

We are looking for papers that address the three themes:


  • the history of whole person nursing (with an especial focus on the Christian roots and development of the practice and concept),
  • the current practice of whole person care (with a particular focus on Christian perspectives)
  • reflections on new directions and innovations in practice of whole person care.
Abstracts should be submitted in English or Spanish using this form by 15 Dec 2013 to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


PARTNERS IN CARE – Unity in diversity through Christ,

5-10 November 2012


Networking with other professions and organizations worldwide is important to enable the values and principles of Christian nursing to influence and impact professional nursing practice.

This conference will help you grow professionally, and in a unique way give opportunities to learn from others. You will get a unique opportunity to develop friendship and network with Christian nurses from around the world.

Participating will broaden your perspectives on nursing and you will see the body of Christ at work in
the world.

At Center for Spirituality ―Loyola‖, Padre Hurtado –

Programme and speakers available to download here.  Watch this space for more news, booking forms and other news in the coming months

Thursday April 23rd 2009
Boundary situations in life and how they make us become more
aware of important questions in life.
Tove Giske, PhD, RN, Associate Professor Haraldsplass Deaconess Hospital and University College, Norway

Presentation and material

Learning outcome:
  • To gain understanding of what it can mean existentially to get ill
  • To explore questions of life in own life
  • To get an increased ability to recognize life questions of patients and a motivation to help patients when needed
Job’s experience of what consolation is and what it is not
Åsa Roxberg, Dr Polit, RN, Associate Professor Haraldsplass Deaconess University College, Norway and Växjö University, Sweden

Presentation and material (From JCN)

An example of an absent and non-caring consolation is the consolation of the friends in the Book of Job. This consolation is not capable of consoling because it does not correspond to where Job is, i.e. to his experience of his suffering. A consoling and health-bringing rest in or from the struggle with suffering presents itself by giving up what in various ways is tied to the suffering.

Learning outcome:
Consolation, what it is and what it is not

Concurrent workshops 13.15 – 14.30:

A. Dignity in care: exploring the relationship between spirituality and dignity within nursing
Wilfred McSherry, Professor in Dignity of Care for Older People, PhD, MPhil, BSc (Hons) PGCE(FE) PGCRM, RGN, NT, ILTM.
Centre for Practice and Service Improvement, Faculty of health, Staffordshire University
Shrewsbury and Telford Hospitals NHS Trust, UK

Within the United Kingdom there have been a number of high profile political and professional campaigns asking nurses and other health care professionals to champion and preserve the dignity of each patient. This workshop will explore the implications of such campaigns for nursing. In addition, participants will reflect upon the relationship between dignity and spirituality. Case scenarios will be used to highlight how these two primary concepts are central to every individual’s sense of humanity. The implications of not addressing such concepts within nursing practice will be outlined. Measures we as nurses can take to preserve the dignity and support patients with their spiritual needs will be discussed.

Learning outcomes of the workshop:
  • Explore potential reasons for the emergence of dignity in care campaigns
  • Develop knowledge and understanding into the concepts of dignity and spirituality
  • Increase awareness of how these concepts are essential to the delivery of holistic and individualized nursing care
  • Identify measures that nurses can take to preserve the dignity of each individual patient

B. Dying patients: Do they need spiritual care? If yes: How?
Birthe Ørskov Sørensen, RN, Lecturer, Master of Education  
University College, Zealand, The Nursing Education, Nykøbing F., Denmark.
Grete Schärfe, RN, BA, former staff worker DKS, hospice nurse,
KamillianerGaardens Hospice, Aalborg, Denmark.

Presentation and material
Case Study 1 and 2

We will look at questions like:
  • How does the state of the patient influence his need for spiritual care? How do we give spiritual care to the dying patient?
  • What are the competences needed for this type of nursing care?
  • We will use examples and case study as teaching methods.
Learning outcomes of the workshop:
That participants:
  • will gain understanding of the character of spiritual needs of dying patients
  • become aware of own competences – or lack of competences – for giving spiritual care to dying patients
  • be ready to take steps towards development of own competences for giving spiritual care to dying patients.

C. The role of the nurse in maintaining harmony in institutionalized older persons
Dr Donia Baldacchino, Ph.D. (Hull), M.Sc.(Lond), B.Sc.(Hons), Cert.Ed.(Lond), R.G.N.
Institute of Health Care, University of Malta

Presentation and material

Institutionalization may generate stress to older persons which may be related to personal coping strategies and the degree of communal activities.  Spiritual coping may may include also religiousness such as prayer and relationship with God which may be a resource of coping and empowerment. Thus, the role of the nurse in sustaining harmony in the life of older persons. This workshop compares stress and spiritual coping of three groups of Maltese Christian older residents (N=141): Australia (n=31); Malta (n=66) and Gozo (n=43), mean age 72.8 years; males (n=36) females (n=105). Findings revealed that the multi social activities and daily occupational therapy exercises in both homes of Australia contributed towards ‘normal’ levels of stress and higher use of spiritual coping and independence than the groups in Malta. Thus, the role of the nurse in facilitating spiritual coping in order to help the older persons to live harmoniously by finding meaning and purpose in their life.

Learning outcomes of the workshop:

  • outline reasons for stress in institutionalisation;
  • identify various religious and existential coping strategies
  • increase awareness about the importance of the spiritual dimension in the rehabilitation of older institutionalized persons
  • reflect on the current delivery of care to older persons outline the role of the nurse in maintaining harmony in older persons’ life

D. The theoretical framework for spiritual care in psychiatric patient-nurse relationships in the light of spiritual and existential phenomena
Tiburtius Koslander, RN, MSc, RNT, Lecturer
Ansgar Theological Seminary, Sweden

Presentation and material

In the psychiatric care patients are suffering of different mental illnesses. Patients pondering have often spiritual and/or existential character. Patients are willing to bring up this subject in caring context but at the same time they feel that nursing staff are not able to address it. On the other hand nursing staff are not aware of how they should meet these needs. Nurses have also lack of knowledge about these phenomena. Today, generally in Sweden the nursing care are missing or have not implemented in their work a theoretical framework which considerate those patients needs. The theoretical foundation for caring science should incorporate existential philosophy and its holistic view on human being. By that means seeing human being as body, soul and spirit as an integrated whole.

Learning outcomes of the workshop:
How the implementation of existential philosophy in theoretical foundation can show the way for nurses to understand and help patients address their spiritual and existential needs

Thursday April 23rd 2009
Concurrent workshops 14.45  – 16.00:

A. ”Pastor! My faith is killing me!” –  faith as cure or corruption of the human soul
John Kristian Rolfsnes, Hospital Chaplain
Haraldsplass Deaconal Hospital, Bergen, Norway

It is obvious that faith and spiritual life can be a significant buffer against challenging life incidents and cause cure in human life when integrated.  It is also obvious that faith under certain circumstances can cause the quite opposite and corrupt human soul and life quality.  In this workshop I will share my experience working with patients at a psychiatric hospital, and how therapy and pastoral care can supply each other in supporting the patient to differentiate between healthy and unhealthy faith systems.
Learning outcomes of the workshop:
As health workers it is an interdisciplinary responsibility to recognize and support healthy spiritual recourses within and around the patient. In a healthy spiritual life, faith often becomes a resource.  We will focus on how we as health workers can identify support and differentiate a healthy spiritual life from the unhealthy?! Cooperation between pastoral counsellors and health care workers is an important and interesting area for future development.    

B. Devastated Faith
Pictures of "Self" and "God" Meeting the Dark Side of Reality
May Bente Matre, Therapist/ Social worker
Centre for Life Managenment, 80 %, Centre for Spiritual Guidance, 20 %

Presentation and material

Life is not always what we hoped for or what we are prepared to meet. When we have to deal with suffering, sorrow, illness, loss, real disappointments etc the Christian faith can be a great resource. But there are times when the experience is that the faith is of no help when we really had needed it to be so. The things we believe in can even be felt as a burden upon all. It is difficult when the picture we have had of ourselves and of God no longer seems to make sense or even tell the truth. Crises in life are often followed by crises in faith.

Learning outcomes of the workshop:
This workshop is a help to come aware of how difficulties in life also can effect peoples faith in God in a very serious way. How can this be understood, accepted and even helped? The workshop will focus on what happens when faith simply seems to be unable to give comfort, meaning or hope? The outcome of the workshop will hopefully be a help to meet this problems in patients life and in our own lives. As we know, - we often have to help ourselves before we can help others!

C. Exploring spiritual care
Linda Ross, BA, RGN, PhD
University of Glamorgan, South Wales

The workshop will consist of 4 exercises, related to the learning outcomes, which participants will complete in small groups:
  1. Ex1. Poetry collection - recognizing spiritual needs & thinking about spiritual care
  2. Ex2. ER clip (You Tube) - recognizing spiritual needs & thinking about spiritual care
  3. Ex3. Patients’ inner needs – reflecting on your own practice.
  4. Ex4. Assessing spiritual needs – what questions can we ask patients?

Please come prepared for Ex3 by identifying a patient/client who coped well and/or badly on being given bad news. What made it good? What made it bad? What were their inner needs? What did they value besides physical care?

Learning outcomes of the workshop:
  • To explore and define spiritual needs, and spiritual care,  in a healthcare context
  • To consider how it might be provided to patients & practitioners
  • To consider how we could assess the spiritual needs of patients

D. Considering ethical issues: a discussion
Jenny Hall, MSc (Reproduction & health) RN RM ADM PG (Dip)HE
University of the West of England, Bristol, UK & Editor, The Practising Midwife journal

As future midwives and nurses we will face (and may have already faced) challenges when caring for people, including situations that may feel to be outside our personal beliefs. For example: What do you feel about:
  • Keeping people alive on life support?
  • Terminating pregnancy?
  • Stem cell research or cloning to save the lives of others?
  • Dealing with shortage of staff?
  • Research studies on very small babies?
These are just a few questions and you may have others you would like to bring with you. This will be an interactive session and be prepared to discuss and debate with others what the appropriate ethical responses may be to some of these questions, in order to meet the needs of our clients.

Learning outcomes of the workshop:
  • To be reminded of ethical principles in relation to respecting the whole person
  • To have discussed issues relevant to personal practice and considered appropriate responses
Friday April 24th 2009
Spiritual Care – does it matter to me?
Kristine Hjellen, student Haraldsplass Deaconess University College,

Presentation and material from the Workshop

This presentation will focus on the need for reflections about spiritual care.

Learning outcome:
To give the listeners some thoughts about the importance of being aware of our definition of spiritual care, and what it means to us

Courage – a moving force in mortality and creativity
Paul Otto Brunstad, Dr.theol./ researcher, Norwegian Defense

Even when we know exactly what we ought to do, it can still be difficult to do it. Since courage seems to be a necessary and moving force not only within morality, but also in all creativity and innovation, it is interesting to scrutinize the virtue of courage in the context of modern health care.

Learning outcomes:
The participant will come to know more about the nature of courage, and the meaning of courage in one’s own life and profession.

How to grow spiritually
Grete Schärfe, RN, staffworker DKS, hospice nurse, KamillianerGaardens Hospice, Aalborg, Denmark.

Presentation and material from the workshop 2
Presentation and material from the workshop 3

  • What does it mean – and what does it not mean – to grow spiritually?
  • What can hinder – and what can further – spiritual growth?
  • What can I do in order to grow spiritually?

Learning outcomes:
That participants will have a desire to grow spiritually, and be ready to take personal steps in their spiritual growth.

What can happen when nurses ' and patients' view of life are different?
Linda Ross, BA, RGN, PhD, University of Glamorgan, South Wales

Wilfred McSherry, Professor in Dignity of Care for Older People, PhD, MPhil, BSc. Centre for Practice and Service Improvement, Faculty of health, Staffordshire University Shrewsbury and Telford Hospitals NHS Trust, UK

Concurrent workshops 13.00 – 14.15:

A. Spiritual Care Giving by Norwegian Nurses and Nursing Students
Pamela H. Cone, PhD, RN, CNS
Azusa Pacific University, CA, USA

Presentration and material from the workshop

Nursing in Norway identifies four domains of the person as physical, psychological, social, and spiritual. How nurses recognize spiritual needs as well as knowing how to provide appropriate spiritual care is an important concern; how one learns to give spiritual care that is sensitive, non-invasive, but supportive to the patient is also important. A Fulbright Research project conducted in Bergen in Fall 2008 will be discussed. Findings indicate that Norwegian culture, nursing education history, and nurses’ personal and educational background affect a nurse's perspective and ability to give spiritual care. In this session, ways of recognizing patient needs that are spiritual in nature will be identified and strategies for providing spiritual care to patients given. Norwegian findings will be compared to US findings from a similar study conducted at Azusa Pacific University in 1994. Dialogue with attendees will promote an increased understanding of spiritual care, and mutual learning is anticipated.

Learning outcomes of the workshop:
  • Define spiritual care in Norway and discuss similarities and differences with the US.
  • Identify several spiritual needs and the cues that patients give to demonstrate those needs.
  • Name at least three spiritual care strategies to use with patients who have spiritual needs.

B. What value has Christian prayer in today’s health-profession?
Kristina Berg Torskenæs, RN, Ass. Professor
Diakoniva University College, Norway

Presentation and material from the workshop

For a Christian prayer is like breathing, something necessary for living has someone said. By prayer you can have a relationship with God the almighty, the creator of all universe. God himself wants to have fellowship with his creation.
American research (Harris,1999) show us that prayer make a difference in patient outcome such as, shorter hospital sty, less use of painkillers and a decrease of complications after surgery. In Scandinavia we can se an increase of spiritual themes in research. We know for example that spirituality influences a person’s quality of life.
Jesus taught his disciples that prayer was important by his own example. As health worker our personal beliefs will always influence our patients. We have to respect and care for our patient’s spiritual live as well as their physical and psychological. When we practice prayer for and with our patients it should always be done on the premises of the patient.  

Learning outcomes of the workshop:
Increased knowledge and shared experiences about prayer in today’s health profession.

C. Spiritual Care in South Africa: HIV/AIDS Home-based Care
Laurel Bishop, Student nurse, BSN at Azusa Pacific University
Azusa, California, USA

Presentation and material from the workshop

This presentation will describe spiritual care giving by nurses and community health workers in an HIV positive population in South Africa. Through a nursing “study abroad” program, the presenter participated in and observed the spiritual care focus of a HIV/AIDS home-based care program, which utilizes lay community health workers (CHWs). In South Africa, 5.7 million people live with HIV/AIDS. The home-based care program focuses on providing compassionate spiritual care within the cultural context of the population. This approach transcends the stigma of the disease, encourages the patients’ faith, and empowers the patients. As a student nurse, this experience expanded understandings of the AIDS crisis in Africa and the role of a nurse in global health. In the face of despair and death, nurses have the opportunity to create a place of hope and acceptance by providing holistic care. The principles of spiritual care provided in this setting can be utilized in nursing practice around the world.  

Learning outcomes of the workshop:
  • Describe spiritual care giving by nurses and community health workers in South Africa
  • Gain understanding of spiritual care in context of AIDS crisis in South Africa
  • Identify cultural factors which influence spiritual care
  • Describe principles of spiritual care used in HIV/AIDS home-based care setting
  • Describe outcomes of a nursing study abroad program from a student perspective

D. Exploring spiritual meaning through creativity
Jenny Hall, MSc (Reproduction & health) RN RM ADM PG (Dip)HE
University of the West of England, Bristol, UK & Editor, The Practising Midwife journal

It is rare in the busyness of being a student, nurse, midwife or lecturer that you have real opportunity to reflect what this means to you. This workshop, therefore, is that opportunity with space to give yourself that time and to be creative.
I use these methods in educational settings, parenting classes, church groups and research, to facilitate personal reflection and development, and enable discussion about spiritual issues.
Come along and be willing to play.

Learning outcomes of the workshop:
•    To have space for personal reflection
•    To have more awareness of the personal meaning of your current role
•    To consider how you may use this new awareness in your role

Friday April 24th 2009
Concurrent workshops 14.30 – 15.45:

A. Dealing with patients’ spirituality: experiences from healthcare workers perspective
René van Leeuwen, RN, PhD
Lectorate Healthcare and spirituality, Reformed University of Applied Sciences, Zwolle Netherlands

Presentation and material from the workshop

In this workshop experiences with the ‘spiritual side’ of the patient will be shared and explored.  Participants get the opportunity to tell their own ‘spiritual patient stories’.  
Questions to prepare for this workshop are:
-    can you give an example of how the patients spirituality was working out in your health care practice?
-    what was your reaction in that situation?
-    how do you reflect on that situation afterwards?
The first part of the workshop will focus on telling each other our ‘spiritual stories’ according to the above mentioned questions.
In the second half of the workshop participants will try to summarize our experiences in a framework of spiritual needs. The framework of spiritual needs of Fitchett will be applied and the use of it in health care settings will be discussed.

Learning outcomes of the workshop:
  • Able to reflect on personal experiences of patients spirituality
  • Develop one’s own awareness of the spiritual dimension in healthcare
  • Gain insight in the model of spiritual needs of Fitchett and be able to discuss the use of  it in one’s own health care practice
B. The art of loving- the expression of love in nursing
Marte Bygstad-Landro, RN,
Solli Psychiatric Hospital, Norway

Presentation and material

During educational work experience and part time work in different healthcare institutions, I have sometimes experienced lack of ability in showing care for the patients. Some patients seem harder for me to love hich represents a great challenge for me as a nurse. I do believe that good quality of nursing requires that one has to be able to show love. I will  share some reflections around:
-what is love?
-what can motivate us to give love in our profession?
-and by reflecting around theory and experiences from my work, I’ll try to illustrate how love can be expressed in different situations.

Learning outcomes of the workshop:
How a nurse can communicate love and care also towards patients who seem difficult to love.

C. Spiritual and emotional support for the labouring woman in Brazil:
Lessons from traditional midwives for nursing students
Leah Butts, Student nurse,  BSN at Azusa Pacific University
Azusa, California, USA

Presentation and material from the workshop

In Northeast Brazil for decades past, traditional midwives have provided much-needed support to mothers in labor due to a lack of access to medical care and barriers created by poverty. Although accessibility to medical care has improved, the birth process has become a highly-medicalized procedure in Brazilian hospitals. As a result, obstetric nurses detach themselves from patients, neglecting the need to provide emotional and spiritual care to the laboring woman. Traditional midwives, on the other hand, continue to view birth as a deeply spiritual experience, during which they believe they should often pray and encourage the mother to be strong. Traditional midwives practice according to their relationships with mothers, demonstrate commitment to the woman in birth, and verbalize surrender to a higher power during labor. Nurses may learn to provide more holistic care to women in labor through examination of the practices of traditional midwives.

Learning outcomes of the workshop:
  • Acknowledge and explore spiritual needs of patients which nurses are uniquely placed to address.
  • Challenge nurse’s philosophy of care to integrate concepts of relationship, commitment, and surrender in order to provide holistic care for patients.
  • Consider how nurses integrate a sense of purpose, calling, or vocation into the spiritual support and care they provide for patients.
D. A methodology to successfully identify and address the spiritual care needs of your patients
Steve Fouch, MSc. BSc. (Hons) RGN,
CMF, 6Marshalsea Road, London, SE1 1HL, UK

Presentation and material from the workshop

Why Spiritual Care matters.
The presenters will make a case for how skillful patient spiritual care strengthens the “healthcare excellence quotient” in patient care delivery:
  • Highlights of scientific research findings related to positive patient health outcomes and personal faith,
  • Research findings regarding patient receptivity to spiritual care provided in clinical settings,
  • A Biblical model and call for Christian healthcare professionals,
  • The need for proper training to ensure spiritual excellence, and to strengthen care provider confidence.
It is a healthcare professional-specific training and mentoring process consisting of:
  • An interactive one-day educational session built around five critical questions,
  • Mentoring relationships to encourage graduates in their personal faith and the integration of their faith into their clinical practice,
  • On-going interaction and follow-up via personal coaching contacts and an interactive website,
  • Available up-to-date resources for graduates.

Learning outcomes of the workshop:
  • Recognition that scientific research indicates a correlation between spirituality and positive patient health outcomes
Awareness of the Biblical call for integrating personal faith with excellence of healthcare practices