Training Doctors to Heed Patients' Spiritual Histories ; in Medical Schools, More Future Physicians Learn of Link Between

By Susan Llewelyn Leach, writer of The Christian Science Monitor | The Christian Science Monitor, December 16, 1999 | Go to article overview

Training Doctors to Heed Patients' Spiritual Histories ; in Medical Schools, More Future Physicians Learn of Link Between


Susan Llewelyn Leach, writer of The Christian Science Monitor, The Christian Science Monitor


Physician Dale Matthews still remembers the woman who came to his office, complaining of shortness of breath. What he most recalls, though, is how taken aback he was by his patient's response after he diagnosed a serious heart problem.

"She looked me square in the eyes," he recounted, "and, holding her prayer book, she said, 'I'm not going to go to the hospital. I have to go home and pray.' "

Nothing in his medical-school training had prepared him for that moment, says Dr. Matthews, who teaches at the Georgetown University School of Medicine in Washington. Two weeks later, he reported, the woman returned to his office, healed.

Today, medical students are more likely to receive training on gathering patients' spiritual histories - a trend that has evolved in tandem with the growing body of clinical research linking patients' spiritual beliefs to physical health.

Preparing doctors to deal with the spiritual histories of their patients and to recognize faith as part of the healing process is still a fairly new development. But over the past five years, these ideas have become more integrated into medical-school training, says Christina Puchalski, director of clinical research at George Washington University, who has developed guidelines for doctors to use in discussing spiritual issues with patients.

Of 125 accredited medical schools, 61 offer a course on spirituality in medicine - and as many as 40 of those introduce future doctors to Dr. Puchalski's guidelines, known as FICA.

Still, there can be a reluctance to address spiritual concerns, Puchalski says. This stems in large part from lack of time and training, and doctors' uncertainty about how to identify patients with spiritual needs.

FICA, which stands for Faith, Influence, Community, and Address, is a formula doctors can use to ensure that patients' spiritual histories become part of their medical records. Using it, doctors will ask questions such as: Does religious faith or spirituality play an important role in your life? How does your religious faith or spirituality influence the way you think about your health or the way you care for yourself? Are you part of a religious or spiritual community?

"I knew I would have to come up with some sort of tool to make it easy for them [to do a spiritual assessment]," Puchalski says. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Training Doctors to Heed Patients' Spiritual Histories ; in Medical Schools, More Future Physicians Learn of Link Between
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.