Wattis, John and Curran, Stephen (2016) The importance of spirituality in caring for patients. British Journal of Hospital Medicine, 77 (9). pp. 500-501. ISSN 1750-8460

Key points:
According to the GMC, attention to spiritual issues is expected as part of a medical assessment.
1. Spirituality is hard to define precisely but it can be understood as what gives meaning and
purpose and a sense of connectedness to life.
2. Religion and spirituality overlap but are distinct and there are non-religious as well as religious
approaches to spirituality.
3. Serious illness and injury may challenge patients’ spirituality and clinicians need to be sensitive
to this and provide or arrange support as appropriate to meet their spiritual needs.
4. Training to address these issues is in its infancy in the UK, though nursing research has identified
key competencies than can be applied to medicine, too.
5. The present challenges in the NHS mean we need to pay particular attention to organisational
issues related to spirituality.

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