the aim of this exploratory and descriptive study with a qualitative approach was to identify the meaning of spirituality for the nursing staff at an intensive care unit and to investigate how the professionals' spirituality values intervene in the care process. we conducted semi-structured interviews with thirty-four professionals working in an intensive care nursing team in a public hospital in s？o paulo city. the categories were: the spiritual dimension and its meanings, composed of the subcategories: faith and religious belief; belief in a higher force/power; spiritual well-being and attribute of the spirit. the other category was emerging: between bond and conflict: the influence of values in care delivery to seriously ill patients, subdivided into: religious values and bioethics values. the multiplicity of meanings reflected the multidimensional nature of the spirituality concept expressed in the literature and was related to the nursing staff's emotional conditions in the relations of empathy and in existential issues.