Ethical Considerations of Teaching Spirituality in the Academy
Becker, Annette L.
Nursing Ethics 2009 November; 16(6): 697-706
Despite evidence in college students indicating a hunger for spiritual insight and spirituality's application in health care, there continues to be guardedness within the academy towards inclusion of curricula that address spirituality. The purpose of this article is to examine the ethical considerations of teaching spirituality in the academy by describing current trends, issues relevant to nursing education and practice, legitimate concerns of the academy, and the importance of an ethical instructional response when teaching about spirituality. Data supporting the interest and desire by students to explore meaning and purpose in the context of spirituality will be presented. Challenges and barriers inherent in teaching this topic will be described, including the affective response, the lack of a universally accepted definition of spirituality, and spirituality's relationship to religion. Pedagogical strategies consistent with an ethical instructional response will be discussed as the key to eliciting trust within the academy. A model of teaching spirituality and health will be offered to illustrate these possibilities.
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