Background and objectives:
Religion and spirituality constitute aspects of diversity that physicians must respect to provide patient-centered care. By seeing patients as individuals and integrating their religious and spiritual needs into their medical care, providers can deliver personalized health care. Their needs become even more critical for the frontline providers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Most patients want their physicians to address their religious and spiritual needs when it comes to their health (eg, during isolation precautions). Despite increases in educational curricula about this integration, most physicians still do not provide this aspect of patient-centered care.
In this observational study, we examined how medical students responded to a patient experiencing a religious and spiritual issue by having standardized patients (SPs) rate the students' level of engagement with them. We also asked students to reflect on their own spirituality, in terms of their current and ideal levels of spirituality, the difference of which indicates spiritual dissonance. Medical students (n=232) completed the Spiritual Health and Life-Outcome Measure (SHALOM) questionnaire, and their SPs completed the Princess Margaret Hospital Satisfaction With Doctor Questionnaire (PSQ-MD).
Results indicated a significant, positive correlation between disengagement (from PSQ-MD) and transcendent spirituality dissonance (from SHALOM).
Higher levels of disconnection from a patient case with a religious and spiritual issue (portrayed by an SP) were associated with higher levels of incongruity in medical students' responses as to their ideal relationship with the transcendent (eg, God, Allah, peace).
religion, spirituality, religion and medicine
Schmidt C, Nauta L, Dang A. Physician Disengagement and Spiritual Dissonance in Medical Students. Family Medicine. 2021; 53(1). doi: 10.22454/FamMed.2021.194514.