Open journey theory: Intersection of journeying with students and opening up to learning

Pamela Heneise Cone, Tove Giske


Background: Nursing is concerned with holistic care and spirituality is a recognised domain of nursing, but nurses are ill prepared by their nursing education to provide spiritual care to patients and families. Furthermore, little is known about how students learn about spiritual care through their nursing training and how teachers’ can best facilitate this process.

Method: Grounded Theory method was used to collect data from 19 teachers in five focus groups and 42 undergraduate students in eight focus groups in Norway. The semi-structured audio taped interviews were transcribed and analysed through constant comparison until categories became saturated and two substantive grounded theories were developed, a teaching theory and a learning theory.

Results: Further analysis was carried out to merge these two substantive theories to form a teaching-learning theory called Open Journey Theory. Three stages of this journey with openness include: 1) Preparing for spiritual connections with patients, 2) Helping students connect with patients, and 3) Mentoring students through self-reflection. This theory displays a deeper understanding of the mutual process of journeying together toward integration of spirituality in nursing competence.

Conclusion: Open Journey Theory addresses spiritual care education in theoretical and practical studies in nursing programs. This theory can guide and assist nursing teachers and nursing students around the world to maximize learning outcomes and thus provide the best possible care for the whole person of the patients under their care.

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Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

ISSN 1925-4040 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4059 (Online)

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