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Open AccessFeature PaperConcept Paper
Religions 2016, 7(3), 34;

Relational Inquiry—Attending to the Spirit of Nursing Students

School of Nursing, Lakehead University, 955 Oliver Rd, Thunder Bay, ON P7B 5E1, Canada
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Fiona Timmins and Wilf McSherry
Received: 19 December 2015 / Revised: 8 February 2016 / Accepted: 23 February 2016 / Published: 21 March 2016
Full-Text   |   PDF [288 KB, uploaded 21 March 2016]


The impetus for this paper came from our experiences as learner-teachers of re-considering the epistemological and ontological roots of our undergraduate-nursing curriculum. It began as an earnest dialogue regarding particular aspects of first year undergraduate-nursing theory content, specifically, caring and compassion, self-concept and nursing identity, spirituality and culture, a simple question—how could we better engage first year nursing students with what they frequently considered to be “abstract” and “soft” concepts? An organic need to be “good teachers” and introduce learners to fundamental concepts in nursing, and have them understand, in meaningful ways, the complexity of “caring and compassion” with respect to what it is that nurses do, think, and enact. To this end, we enlisted Relational Inquiry, as articulated by Gweneth Hartrick Doane and Colleen Varcoe, as a means of creating an epistemological and ontological foundation for our teaching practice in order to better support the development of critically reflective, community orientated, caring relational practitioners. Initially, we thought relational inquiry was an epistemological endeavor and found that it is an ontological undertaking. We discovered that practicing from a relational caring perspective shifted our focus from the content to the student as a developing practitioner and human being. Through the process of re-imagining our teaching practice, we have begun to re-consider the importance of “attending to the spirit” of nursing students. View Full-Text
Keywords: spirituality; relational inquiry; nursing education; hermeneutics; story-telling spirituality; relational inquiry; nursing education; hermeneutics; story-telling
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Spadoni, M.; Sevean, P. Relational Inquiry—Attending to the Spirit of Nursing Students. Religions 2016, 7, 34.

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