Including Spirituality in the Practice of Medicine: Historical, Professional, and Ethical Analyses


Teaching students how to discuss spiritual matters with their future patients is a rising trend within medical education. Among other factors, this trend arises out of an acknowledgment that spirituality is an important dimension of many patients’ lives, and is intimately involved in how those patients interpret and experience the fact of their health, illness and/or disease. Surveys indicate that many patients would like their physicians to be open to discussing spirituality, and some patients would even like their physicians to pray for or with them during clinical visits. The presentation sketches the historical roots of the integration, disintegration, and recent reintegration of spirituality within the patient–physician relationship; compares professional competencies in medicine and chaplaincy; and analyzes key ethical considerations that arise when physicians choose to include spirituality in their clinical practice.
David Kozishek, MA, BCC
Assistant Professor in the Center for Ethics and Humanities in the Life Sciences and Family Medicine at MSU
Recorded March 16, 2011


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