Incorporation of spiritual care as a component of healthcare and medical education: viewpoints of healthcare providers and trainees In Nigeria.

David Bell

Abstract


Patients frequently want clinicians to recognise their spiritual values and needs. There is increasing recognition in Europe and North America of the benefits from incorporating spiritual care into overall patient management. This study addresses views of healthcare providers at two hospitals in Lagos on the place for spiritual care within healthcare training and delivery in Nigeria.

 

A questionnaire was designed using a 5-point ordinal scale, with additional free text comments, to capture views of Nigerian doctors and nurses and trainees. Most respondents agreed that spiritual health contributes to physical health, and an individual’s faith can affect their response to their diagnosis and prognosis.  They acknowledged that religious faith or personal spirituality is significant for many patients and that spiritual care is an important aspect of patient management. Although most recognised that patients wanted doctors to be aware of their spiritual needs, there was a perceived reluctance to share their own spiritual values with patients and respondents were divided on the extent to which as clinicians they should become personally involved rather than leave provision of spiritual care to others with specific expertise. Most were supportive of inclusion of training in spiritual care into medical and nursing curricula as an optional component but did not express strong preference in regard to content or format.

 

In view of the potential benefits, basic training in taking spiritual histories and identifying spiritual needs amenable to specialist intervention is advocated to enable healthcare providers to meet patient expectations in provision of spiritual care.

 


Keywords


medical education; nursing education; Nigeria; whole-person care

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