The announcement is the latest development in the EPICC Project (Enhancing Nurses’ and Midwives’ Competence in Providing Spiritual Care through Innovation Education and Compassionate Care), which launched in 2017 to embed best practice approaches to spirituality within the training of nurses and midwives.
The new EPICC Spiritual Care Education Standard, which is informed by patients, students and the public, was formally launched at a conference hosted by the University of South Wales, which will be working with Health Education and Improvement Wales (HEIW) and other education providers to ensure it is embedded into the pre-registration nursing curriculum.
Stephen Griffiths, Director of Nursing at HEIW, said: “Here in Wales, we believe it’s important to embed EPICC’s Spiritual Care Education Standard into the curriculum that HEIW provides through the universities of Bangor, Cardiff, Swansea and South Wales. From 2020, anyone studying on our nursing programmes will need to reference, incorporate and demonstrate the need to respect the spirituality of individuals. It’s about building a healthcare system for the future, which recognises and responds to the human spirit when faced with life-changing events.”
Staffordshire University’s Professor Wilfred McSherry, Lead Strategic Partner in the EPICC Project, has welcomed the example set by Wales and hopes more countries will follow suit. He said: “Across Europe, there is excellent practice in teaching spiritual care. Our key aim is to iron out inconsistencies in how this topic is addressed within education programmes.
“By coming together and sharing best practice, 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.”
EPICC is led by eminent nursing and midwifery lecturers from six universities spread across Malta, the Netherlands, Norway and the UK. Co-funded by the European Union’s Erasmus+ Programme, it has also been informed by the views of patients, students and the public.
The EPICC project has already produced free resources to support the integration of spirituality and spiritual care within pre-registration nursing and midwifery programmes in higher education institutions across Europe. These include the new EPICC Spiritual Care Education Standard and EPICC Adoption Toolkit, which are available at http://www.epicc-project.eu.
Professor McSherry added: “This dynamic project brings together healthcare experts and practitioners from across the world, and it is already having a significant impact on how we deliver compassionate care. We are excited to continue to grow the project and work with more partners across healthcare.”