Leading members of the medical community acknowledge that the mind-body-spirit connection plays a role in health care, but they have yet to reach consensus on how to treat this topic within the context of medical education. More and more medical schools address spirituality in their course curricula, yet course content lacks consistency, both abroad and at home.
A number of UK medical schools teach students how to identify patients’ spiritual needs, according to a study published in the February edition of the journal Medical Education (2008; 42 ; 176–82). But “there is little uniformity between medical schools with regard to content, form, amount or type of staff member delivering the teaching,” the study authors noted. They recommended that a standardized curriculum be developed.Similar circumstances exist in the United States. The Association of American Medical Colleges recommends that spirituality and religion be incorporated into medical training. As of 2006, 63% of accredited American medical schools provided such training, according to an article in the Journal of General Internal Medicine (2006; 21 , 481–85). As in the UK, however, the courses lack standardization.