Clinical Spiritual Care(学生 瓦达)



Spirituality is a natural dimension of every person. “Spirit” implies energy and power while spirituality describes an awareness of relationships with self and others. It is an appreciation of presence and purpose that includes a sense of purpose and meaning. During this difficult time you may feel afraid, lonely, or confused. Many people draw from spirituality as a source of comfort and strength during a crisis. Clinical-Spiritual Care is a holistic approach to healthcare which values and affirms spirituality and faith as part of the healing process.

All persons have spiritual needs. Some persons have religious needs. The Pastoral Care Services Department works to help patients, family members and staff address both spiritual and religious needs.

Clinical Spiritual Care seeks and draws upon resources that are meaningful to you. It offers supportive relationship in which to process feelings of distress and spiritual concerns. The Spiritual Care Chaplain. The Spiritual Care Chaplain makes frequent rounds in all areas of the hospital and can be referred by any interdisciplinary team member. If you wish to utilize this service, please ask a staff member to contact the Spiritual Care Chaplain. In emergencies, contact can be made by pager Spiritual concerns.

Religions often provide patients with specific moral guidance about a variety of medical issues and prescribe rituals that are important to patients. Religious coping can be both positive and negative, and it can impact patient care. This article provides concrete advice about taking spiritual history, ethical boundaries, whether to pray with patients, and when to refer patients to chaplains or to their own personal clergy.

 My understanding of spirituality:

Spirituality essentially is
1. Not harboring feeling of hatred for anybody.
2. Loving everyone.
3. Listening to your inner self
4. Seeking growth of your inner self.

5. Acknowledging and respecting every living being. 

6.Being at peace with different aspects of your life.

7.Balancing needs, wants, desires with doing the right thing for the right reasons.

This is my understanding and interpretation of spirituality. Spirituality is an open science. It largely depends and varies on the understanding of people. One simple line to describe spiritual journey is 'The paths may vary but the destination is one'. 

Spirituality is about turning inwards, focusing on your spirit/soul and helping your spirit reach closer to its original/true form. To get ones spirit closer to its truest form is assumed to be the sole aim of life in spirituality. The true nature of the spirit is that of love and peace.  To achieve this you need to work at the worldly level; that is spread love, create harmony in the living world, shun negativities, hatred and wars. Without contributing towards making the world less chaotic one cannot turn inwards and reach spiritual depths. Doing this forms the base of 'spirit'-ual growth and transformation. With this growth and transformation comes more knowledge and understanding of what should be done next to get more closer to accomplishing your spiritual goal of life.

The significance  of  teaching clinical spiritual care for medical students :

I think it’s important for medical students to understand the general principles of religion and spirituality and how they affect medicine,. Medical students need to be aware of the role that spirituality plays in the lives they will be taking care of and how this possibly influences the decisions they will make regarding treatment.

 Personally I think  medical students learn clinical spiritual care let earlier know  “helping, fixing, and serving” represent three different ways of seeing life. When you help, you see life as weak. When you fix, you see life as broken. When you serve, you see life as whole. Fixing and helping may be the work of the ego, and service the work of the soul .

Serving patients may involve spending time with them, holding their hands, and talking about what is important to them. Patients value these experiences with their physicians. In this article, I discuss elements of compassionate care, review some research on the role of spirituality in health care, highlight advantages of understanding patients' spirituality, explain ways to practice spiritual care, and summarize some national efforts to incorporate spirituality into medicine

Clinical-Spiritual Care Roles and Responsibilities :

It is a trained credentialed professional in spiritual and emotional care and is bound to a strict code of ethics. The  seeks and draws upon resources that are meaningful to you and offers a supportive relationship in which to process feelings and spiritual concerns. Patients and families of all areas in the hospital can access the spiritual practitioner. If you or your loved one needs to utilize this service, please ask staff about being referred to the Clinical-Spiritual Care.

Spiritual resources:

Spiritual resources are practices, beliefs, objects and/or relationships that people often turn to for help in times of crisis or concern. Some spiritual resources include:




Family and friends

Religious leaders

Priest, Rabbi, Imam

Supportive communities

Church, Synagogue, other support groups

Holy writings/scripture

 Bible, Torah, Qur'an

Inspirational writings

Poetry, Devotional Materials, Prayer Books

Religion-specific items

Sabbath menorah, rosary beads, devotional pictures, prayer rug

Sacramental practices

Communion, Anointing

These resources can help people return to a sense of balance when their lives have been turned upside down. They can help people sort out the "big" questions in order to find meaning, comfort, hope, goodness and community in the midst of a crisis.

Spirituality, Religion, and Clinical Care:

The relationship between spirituality, religion, and clinical care has increased in the last 15 years, but clinicians need more concrete guidance about this topic. This article defines spirituality and religion, identifies the fundamental spiritual issues that serious illness raises for patients, and argues that physicians have a moral obligation to address patients’ spiritual

concerns. Religions often provide patients with specific moral guidance about a variety of medical issues and prescribe rituals that are important to patients. Religious coping can be both positive and negative, and it can impact patient care. This article provides concrete advice about taking a spiritual history, ethical boundaries, whether to pray with patients, and when to refer patients to chaplains or to their own personal clergy.

Spirituality and Religion Spirituality and religion are related but conceptually different. I define spirituality as the ways in which a person habitually conducts his or her life in relationship to the question of transcendence. A religion, by contrast, is a set of beliefs, texts, rituals, and other practices that a particular community shares regarding its relationship with the  transcendent. Spirituality is thus simultaneously a broader concept than religion and a narrower concept than religion.

It is broader in the sense that all religious and even nonreligious persons confront the question of transcendence, and so the term is compatible with all forms of religious belief and even the rejection of religion. Spirituality is narrower than religion, however, in the sense that, because only persons can engage questions of transcendence, each relationship

with the transcendent will always be unique and spirituality ultimately personal. Even within a given religion, there will be as many spiritualities as there are individuals. Growing numbers of Americans consider themselves “spiritual but not religious.”15 Although this represents a challenge for organized religion, it is also true that many millions of Americans (more than in most Western nations) are regular practitioners of particular religions and find in their religions sources of meaning and spiritual wisdom. It is important to note that those who consider themselves spiritual but not religious will also have genuine spiritual needs. And it goes without saying that plenty of people who are “religious but not spiritual,” for whom religious practice does not foster a genuine relationship with the transcendent, may still need to grow spiritually within their faith traditions.

Clinical  Spiritual Care and Clinical meaning :

There have been numerous studies conducted over the past 50 years that show a person's health and well-being benefits when his or her spiritual needs are addressed. Some benefits include:

Shorter hospital stay

Improved pain management

Improved experience of their stay

Improved motivation to complete the tasks of healing

Improved management of cardiovascular needs (e.g., heart rate, blood pressure)

Improved sense of well-being

For several reasons, I would argue that clinicians have a moral obligation to attend to their patients’ spiritual needs.1 First, if physicians and other healthcare professionals have sworn to react patients to the best of their ability and judgment, and the best care treats patients as whole persons, then to treat patients in a way that ignores the fundamental meaning that the patient sees in suffering, healing, life, and death is to treat patients superficially and to fall short of the best ability and judgment.

The encounter between physicians and patients is imbued with an interpersonal significance that is itself, in many religious traditions, an encounter with the sacred. Respect for patients ought to entail attention to meaning that the patient assigns to the encounter with illness and the relationship with the clinician Second, sometimes clinicians are in the best position to elicit the most serious spiritual and religious concerns of patients.

It is unclear whether health benefits would accrue for persons who were not previously religious but began practicing for an extrinsic reason such as the health benefits, the only way to answer this question would be via atrial in which patients were randomly assigned to religious practice or no religious practice, a study that (for obvious moral reasons) ought never to be done. Finally, if religion is free to be religion, then it can, in fact, be very bad for one’s health, sometimes even calling for heroic sacrifices.  data on health-care outcomes and religion provide useful prognostic information but ought not be used to justify using the power of the white coat to encourage religious practice by patients. Spirituality, Religion, and Ethics .

Patients’ Spiritual Needs:

It is not always certain what the precise spiritual needs of a patient might be. Some might want help with specific religious rituals. Some might want to talk to members of their own faith communities about the meaning of suffering. Still others might

want pastoral counseling regarding their fear of death. Defining the spiritual needs of patients is a matter that is being  investigated empirically, but there are, at present, no well-validated research instruments for this purpose.

 Several early studies have demonstrated that large numbers of patients report a wide spectrum of spiritual needs, and that meeting spiritual needs is correlated with patient satisfaction with care and their ratings of the quality of medical care.46–48 More investigation is required in this area.

 Personal hope Clinical Spiritual Care curriculum:

I believe about this course it is one of the most intermediate medicine which can really help to treat not only the patient and also give a big support to all the people in their spiritual so going to list some point for my opinion.

I guess it is Psycho-spiritual counsel and emotional Support, Care in trauma and crisis situations , dealing with difficult treatments and ethical consultations, facilitate communication with family and staff, liaison with community faith resources, spiritual/cultural practices, ceremonies , rites, and sacraments,  planning special rituals or services of ,thanks-giving or remembrance, Grief and loss support, Family, terminal illness and end of life support .

Patients facing serious illness, accident, or death often experience a crisis of meaning. Spirituality is often defined as “the search for meaning.” Spirituality may, or may not be accompanied by a particular religion. Some patients are profoundly comforted by their spiritual beliefs. Others may encounter religious struggle or negative ways of coping with illness. It is important for patients that their cultural, spiritual, and religious beliefs be recognized and integrated in the development of a plan of care and in decisions that are made concerning end-of-life care. Respect for patient values and beliefs requires competent communication skills in health care professionals. In recent years, considerable effort has been made in professional training to foster patient centered communication that is cognizant and respectful of patients’ cultural and spiritual values and how these may be incorporated into optimal patient care.

                                                                            中南大学湘雅医学院学生  瓦达