The aim of this study was to explore and describe nurses’ experiences regarding the ritual of fetching the spirit of the deceased from a public hospital in the Thembisile area of Mpumalanga province in South Africa. A qualitative, explorative, descriptive study was conducted, using unstructured interviews to collect data.
Saturation was achieved when no more new themes were elicited from participants, and the sample size was determined. One major question used throughout the interviews was: ‘What were your experiences regarding the ritual of fetching the spirit of the deceased from the hospital?’
The responses were captured on an audio recorder and then transcribed verbatim. Strategies used to ensure trustworthiness included: credibility, transferability and dependability. Data analysis was done according to Tesch’s method as indicated in Creswell (2003:192). The researchers
and an independent qualitative data analyst agreed about the categories, sub-categories and themes. The identified major categories included the process of fetching the spirit, motivation for the ritual, emotions and inherent problems. While most nurses respected family members’ rights to perform the ritual of fetching the spirit of the deceased from the place of death, namely the hospital, they also indicated that the rights
of other patients had to be respected. It was recommended that this hospital should formulate policies about the performance of this ritual so that individual nurses need not make their own decisions when faced with such requests.