“The aim of this project is to develop a uniform approach to how these issues are addressed in the teaching of nurses and midwives. I think we have lost sight of what's important - we need to bring the focus back to people, to the patients.
Wilfred McSherry, Professor of Nursing
Health Professionals from across Europe are coming together to address how personal, religious and spiritual beliefs can be incorporated into nursing education.
Wilfred McSherry, Professor in Nursing at Staffordshire University and University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust, said: “Nurses are often required to address the religious and spiritual beliefs of their patients as part of person centred holistic care. How learners acquire these skills, however, is less clear.”
“Research to date highlights that there is a great deal of inconsistency in how this topic is addressed within programmes of nursing and midwifery education across Europe.”
This month nursing and midwifery lecturers, students and key stakeholders attended an international conference at Staffordshire University to shape the future of spiritual care education.
The two-day event began to address the gap by building a European network of nursing and midwifery educators, sharing best practice in spiritual care education and identifying opportunities to improve training in compassionate care.
The conference, opened by Staffordshire University Vice-Chancellor Professor Liz Barnes, forms part of EU funded project EPICC – 'Enhancing Nurses Competence in Providing Spiritual Care through Innovation Education and Compassionate Care' – which is managed by Staffordshire University and led by strategic partners from six universities in Malta, the Netherlands, Norway and the UK.
EPICC will develop new resources to enhance nurses' competence in providing spiritual care, including a practical toolkit to support teaching and learning in Higher Education Institutions across Europe.
Professor McSherry added: “The aim of this project is to develop a uniform approach to how these issues are addressed in the teaching of nurses and midwives. I think we have lost sight of what's important - we need to bring the focus back to people, to the patients.
“Across Europe there is excellent practice in teaching spiritual care. By coming together and sharing this, we will ensure the nursing and midwifery workforce of the future is prepared to deliver the compassionate care we all expect to receive as patients.”
The outputs of this ambitious project, which received an Erasmus+ grant, will be directly informed by the views of patients, students and the public. As a result, the guidance and training materials produced will lead to the delivery of high standards of care by nurses and midwives who are able to confidently address the personal, spiritual and religious beliefs of their patients.
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