Integrating Spirituality Into Outpatient Practice in the Adventist Health System.
We examined Adventist Health System (AHS)-affiliated providers and staff regarding controversial spiritual practices such as praying led by a practitioner, sharing of personal religious beliefs, and encouraging patients' religious beliefs for health reasons.Approached were 1082 providers to participate in a project to integrate spirituality into outpatient care. Those who agreed were asked to identify staff in their practice to assist. Providers and staff were asked to complete a baseline questionnaire examining attitudes/practices concerning spiritual activities with patients. Regression models were used to identify predictors.Questionnaires were completed by 520 providers (83% physicians and 17% mid-level practitioners) and 217 nurses and other staff members. A significant proportion of providers and staff (29.6% vs 49.1%) indicated "often/very often" to a statement that healthcare professionals should pray with patients, should initiate an offer to pray (25.7% vs 49.1%), should pray if the patient initiates the request (72.2% vs 79.5%), and should encourage greater religious activity for health reasons (48.9 vs 48.1%). With regard to behaviors, 15.3% of providers and 8.8% of nurses and other staff members currently often or always prayed with patients, 24.2% and 25.1% shared their personal faith, and 28.2% compared with 22.0% encouraged patients to become more active in their religious faith; however, 93.3% had little or no training on how to do so. The strongest and most consistent predictor of religious activity with patients was self-rated religiosity of the health professional.A significant proportion of Adventist Health System providers and staff favor engaging in spiritual practices with patients. Training is needed to engage appropriately and sensitively in these activities.
Koenig, HG; Perno, K; Hamilton, T
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