Spirituality and health care education in family medicine residency programs

Fam Med. 2005 Jun;37(6):399-403.


Background: Increasing interest in the role of spirituality in clinical care has begun to affect educational programs. This study evaluated the current status of training in spirituality and health care in family medicine residency programs.

Methods: We surveyed 138 randomly selected US family medicine residencies regarding their spirituality and health care curriculum. A response rate of 73% (101/138) was obtained.

Results: Almost all (92%) of program directors said spirituality teaching was important, but only 31% of programs have a specific curriculum (average: 6 hours) to guide the spirituality and health care teaching of their residents. The most common factor correlated with having a spirituality curriculum and perceived effective education efforts (which occurred in 84% of programs with a structured curriculum) was the presence of faculty members with specific interest, expertise, or training in spirituality and health education.

Conclusions: Residency programs with trained/expert faculty are more likely to have structured spirituality and health care teaching.

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Competence
  • Curriculum
  • Education, Medical, Graduate
  • Family Practice / education*
  • Family Practice / ethics
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency*
  • Spirituality*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States