Medical School Outcome Goals & Learning Objectives

In a consensus conference with the AAMC, Dr. Puchalski and several noted medical school educators and chaplains developed outcome goals and learning objectives for courses in spirituality and health for medical schools and residency programs. Download the consensus report. Below is a brief summary:

Outcome Goals

  • Be aware of the need to incorporate awareness of spirituality into the care of patients in a variety of clinical contexts.
  • Recognize that their own spirituality might affect the ways they relate to, and provide care to, patients.
  • Be aware of the need to respond not only to the physical needs that occur at the end of life (and in life any illness) but also the emotional, socio-cultural, and spiritual needs that occur.

Learning Objectives

  • The ability to elicit a spiritual history.
  • An understanding that the spiritual dimension of peoples lives is an avenue for compassionate care giving.
  • The ability to apply the understanding of a patients spiritual and cultural beliefs and behaviors to appropriate clinical contexts (e.g., in prevention, case formulation, treatment planning, challenging clinical situations).
  • Knowledge of research data on the impact of spirituality on health and on health care outcomes, and on the impact of patients cultural identity, beliefs, and practices on their health, access to and interactions with health care providers, and health outcomes.
  • An understanding of, and respect for, the role of clergy and other spiritual leaders, and culturally-based healers and care providers, and how to communicate and/or collaborate with them on behalf of patients' physical and / or spiritual needs.
  • An understanding of their own spirituality and how it can be nurtured as part of their professional growth, promotion of their well-being, and the basis of their calling as a physician.