Communication vignettes: ‘What have I done to deserve this?’

Helen Scott

  • Abstract

    Patients who ask ‘What have I done to deserve this?’ are usually articulating spiritual distress. However, nurses often feel uncomfortable discussing spiritual concerns and have difficulty recording spiritual assessments (The Marie Curie Palliative Care Institute and Royal College of Physicians, 2009). That may be due, in part, to the fact that spirituality is a difficult concept to understand (Wright, 2002). The terminology used to define spirituality can be confusing, e.g. existential (pertaining to existence) and transcendence (extending beyond the limits of ordinary experience) (Scott and Speck, 2010).

  • Contributors

    Helen Scott


    Correct at article publish date

    Helen Scott is Editor, End of Life Journal, and Vicky Robinson is Consultant Nurse in Palliative and End of Life Care, Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust. Email:

    Original publishing information

    • Publisher: St Christopher's Hospice
    • Publish date: 01/01/2011
    • Volume: 1
    • Issue: 2

    Permissions: © 2015, Published by the BMJ Publishing Group Limited. For permission to use (where not already granted under a licence) please go to

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