Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Degree

Master of Clinical Science

Program

Family Medicine

Supervisor

Moira Stewart

Abstract

Aims

This thesis explored the perceptions of medical students and teachers with regards to spirituality, its role in health care, and its integration into medical education.

Methods

Two studies were conducted using qualitative descriptive thematic analysis: the first using focus groups with students; and the second depth interviews with teachers. Both studies were carried out in Francophone Canada.

Findings

Teachers spoke of a concept of spirituality evolving as a journey, while students reported sudden turning-points. Both regarded spirituality as important to patient care. Students were struggling with their future physician role and their commitment to rationality, whereas teachers emphasized the central role of the patient-doctor relationship in healing. Spirituality was perceived as a taboo topic in medical circles. Barriers and facilitators for integrating spirituality in medical curricula were identified.

Conclusion

Both groups made recommendations for earlier exposure to patients and increased physician mentorship. A holistic and integrated approach to medical education is required.


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