Aim: Nurses' spiritual care perceptions and practices are explored by identifying profiles of nurses studying in a part-time baccalaureate course in a local Hong Kong university. Relationships between nurses' spiritual care perceptions and their practices are explored. Research method: Hundred and ninety three nurses completed a structured questionnaire. Outcome measures: Spiritual care perceptions and practices. Results: Two-step cluster analysis yielded three clusters. Clusters A, B, and C consisted of 15.0% (n = 29), 44.6% (n = 86), and 40.4% (n = 78), respectively. Cluster A nurses were characterized by relatively negative spiritual care perceptions and practices. Cluster C nurses reported positive perceptions, but negative practices; they mainly chose 'uncertain' for most items on both scales. Cluster B was a large group of nurses holding both positive spiritual care perceptions and practices. Significant differences towards spiritual care were found among clusters. Nurses' perceptions were significant positively correlated with practices (r = 0.62). High positive correlations were found between the two scales (r = 0.83) for nurses in Cluster A, for nurses in Clusters B and C, low positive correlations (r = 0.37) were found. Conclusion: Three clusters of Hong Kong nurses were differentiated. They showed differences in the level of their spiritual care perceptions and practices. Despite their level of spiritual care perceptions, nurses seldom incorporated spiritual care practices spiritual care practices into their daily nursing care, and the level of spiritual care awareness of some nurses was low. Findings may be used to improve support of nurses, to ensure sensitive spiritual care in their daily practices, and to enhance nursing curricula.
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