spirituality and medicine:
curriculum development project


Clinical teaching


For the final three years of the most medical school courses, students are taught mostly in hospitals or surgeries by doctors, rotating around a range of clinical specialities. Here, what they have learned in the first two years about viewing patients as whole people can be put into practice. They can begin to explore spiritual issues with patients, identifying spiritual distress of sources of spiritual strength, and they can begin to work within a multi-disciplinary team to help support patients spiritually thruogh their experience of illness.

There are two outcomes from this teaching. The first is that students see practising doctors, particularly in the less acute specialities, displaying a whole-person approach to patients and addressing their spiritual needs in consultations. The second is that they build up a selection of skills, mostly communication skills, that give them the confidence to address these issues themselves.


Particular areas to cover may include:

» Taking a spiritual history

» Ethics, evangelism, boundaries

» Using the chaplaincy

» Liasing with churches/prayer groups etc

» Spirituality in the multi-disciplinary team

» Spiritual issues in disability/chronic disease/dying


Follow the links below for examples of how spirituality can be integrated into different areas of clinical teaching.


The Spirituality and Medicine Curriculum Development Project is funded by the Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning at Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry.