Substantial research has been done on existential issues in end-of-life care, but only a few take into consideration the conditions for existential and spiritual care in the emergency department. The purpose of this paper is to explore the definition and practice of existential and spiritual care by emergency nurses in a Danish emergency department. Aiming at a narrative approach, inspired by John Dewey, interviews with nurses in the emergency department were conducted. Results show a lack of perception and definition of existential and spiritual care, resulting in poor familiarity with the concept. Only when dying and dead patients are being treated, does there seem to be some attention to the existential and spiritual care provided. When nurses are treating patients more holistically, they may feel more contented and feel a stronger sense of coherence, as suggested by Aaron Antonovsky.

Keywords: emergency department, end of life care, narrative, existential and spiritual care, Antonovsky