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Keynote Speakers

Equipping nurses and midwives for spiritual care: securing a firm foundation for the future

Professor Linda Ross
Professor of Nursing, University of South Wales

Professor Wilfred McSherry
Professor in Nursing, Staffordshire University, University Hospitals North Midlands NHS Trust, VID University College, Norway

It is well known that the spiritual part of life comes into particularly sharp focus in times of crisis. At no other time has this been more apparent than now, during this global pandemic. Healthcare staff, including nurses and midwives, are on the front line seeking to support people in spiritual as well as physical distress. So, how can we provide a firm foundation to prepare staff for spiritual care? What is reasonable to expect of them in the busy workplace? How can burnout and moral injury be minimised? These are important questions that we seek to address in this presentation drawing upon the outputs from a 3-year European Project (, underpinned by a decade of research. Examples are provided of how the Project’s outputs are helping to prepare healthcare staff from across the globe for spiritual care.

Click here for Biography Professor Linda Ross

Linda is a Professor of Nursing (specialising in spirituality) at the University of South Wales. Her PhD in 1992 was the first in Europe to explore nurses’ perceptions of spirituality and spiritual care which she published as a book in 1997. She has published extensively on the subject of spirituality, contributing to numerous texts such as the ‘Oxford Textbook of Spirituality in Healthcare’ (2012) and co-editing ‘Spiritual Assessment in Healthcare Practice’ (2010). She contributed to the Royal College of Nursing’s ‘Spirituality in Nursing Care’ educational resources, and to the spiritual care guidance which accompanies the Welsh Government’s Health and Care Standards (2015). She is a founding member and Membership Secretary for the International Network for the Study of Spirituality (formerly BASS) and an Executive Editor for the Society’s affiliated ‘Journal for the Study of Spirituality’. She co-led (with 5 other partners) an Erasmus funded 3 year project to establish best practice in spiritual care nurse education across Europe.

Click here for Biography Professor Wilfred McSherry

Wilfred McSherry is a Professor in Nursing working in the Department of Nursing, School of Health and Social Care, Staffordshire University, and the University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust United Kingdom. He is also a part-time Professor at VID University College, Bergen, Norway. Wilf has had a career in nursing working as a Registered Nurse primarily within Acute Hospital Care with a focus upon care of the older person and end of life care. His interest in the spiritual dimension developed alongside a realisation that this aspect of care was neglected and forgotten by some healthcare professionals. He has published extensively in this field with several books and many peer-reviewed articles addressing different aspects of the spiritual dimension. In 2010 Wilf led on a piece of work for the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) exploring members perceptions of spirituality. Wilf is a founding and executive member of the International Network for the Study of Spirituality (formerly British Association for The Study of Spirituality (BASS) and a Principal Fellow of The Higher Education Academy. In 2012 he was made a Fellow of the Royal College of Nursing for his unique contribution to nursing in the areas of spirituality and dignity. Wilf was Lead Partner for the European project titled Enhancing Nurses Competence in Providing Spiritual Care through Innovation Education and Compassionate Care (EPICC) and is a steering group member of the recently established EPICC Network.

Contemplating the spirituality of scholarship

Professor David Coghlan
Professor Emeritus at the Trinity Business School, University of Dublin Trinity College

Contemplation has been defined as “taking a long loving look at the real”. In the realm of the scholarship of nursing and midwifery, the pulls and counterpulls between disease and illness and between patient and person, for example, require that scholars and practitioners develop an understanding of the way their minds work and of the way they come to know. In this address I’ll take a (short) loving look at the foundations of spirituality and spiritual development in human consciousness. I will examine the reality of exercising scholarship and practice and invite listeners to contemplate and appreciate their lives as scholars and practitioners.


Click here for Biography Professor David Coghlan

David Coghlan is Professor Emeritus at the Trinity Business School, University of Dublin Trinity College, Ireland and is a Fellow Emeritus of the College. He specializes in organization development and action research and participates actively in the both communities internationally. He has published over 200 articles and book chapters. Recent books include: Collaborative Inquiry for Organization Development and Change (with Rami Shani, Elgar, 2021), Doing Action Research in Your Own Organization (5th ed. Sage, 2019) Conducting Action Research for Business and Management Students (with Rami Shani, Sage, 2018) and Inside Organizations (Sage, 2016). He is co-editor (with Mary Brydon-Miller) of the SAGE Encyclopedia of Action Research and with Rami Shani of the 4 volume sets, Fundamentals of Organization Development (Sage, 2010) and Action Research in Business and Management (Sage, 2016). He is a member of the editorial advisory board of several journals, including Action Research, The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, Action Learning: Research and Practice, Systemic Practice and Action Research and OD Review

Holistic Communication: Examining a Foundation of Spiritual Care

Professor Elizabeth Johnston Taylor
Loma Linda University School of Nursing

Spiritual care is characteristically described as providing therapeutics such as presence, deep listening, prayer, and encouraging patients to discuss their spiritual, religious, or existential needs. To provide such therapeutics ethically and effectively, however, a clinician must possess advanced holistic communication skills and knowledge. Although communication is foundational, the empirical evidence about communication is rarely taught or translated into practice. During this session, selected research findings about holistic communication will be synthesized and discussed in the context of spiritual care. Recommendations for how this evidence can be taught will also be offered.

Click here for Biography Professor Elizabeth Johnston Taylor

Elizabeth Johnston Taylor, PhD, RN, FAAN, Professor, Loma Linda University School of Nursing, Loma Linda, California, USA, has pursued a program of research exploring the intersection of spirituality, religiosity, health, and nursing for over 25 years.  Her clinical experiences as an oncology nurse created for her a deep interest in these topics, and led her to pursue a PhD (University of Pennsylvania 1992), a post-doctoral fellowship (UCLA, 1993-95), Clinical Pastoral Education, and training in spiritual direction. Her life experiences include a 4-year stint as Research Director, Mary Potter Hospice, Wellington, New Zealand.

The desire to help nurses understand and support patient spiritual health during health-related transitions has motivated Beth to write extensively and lecture globally. Her books include Spiritual Care: Nursing Theory, Research, and Practice (Prentice Hall, 2002), What Do I Say? Talking with Patients about Spirituality (Templeton Press, 2007), and Religion: A Clinical Guide for Nurses (Springer, 2012). Her latest book, Fast facts about religion: Implications for nursing care (Springer, 2019), provides clinicians with quick access to healthcare-related information about religions. She is grateful for research funding received from various federal government and private foundation sources.