Efficacy of training interprofessional spiritual care generalists
BACKGROUND: Provision of spiritual/religious (S/R) care has been associated with improvements in patient care, patient-provider relationships, and resource utilization. Clinicians identify a lack of training in S/R care as the primary impediment. The purpose of the study was to evaluate the effectiveness of one-day, simulation-based workshops to prepare interprofessional clinicians to function as capable, confident, and ethical spiritual care generalists. METHODS: Interprofessional practitioners (physicians, nurses, social workers, psychologists, child life specialists) in a quaternary care academic pediatric hospital participated in daylong Spiritual Generalist workshops utilizing professional actors to learn requisite spiritual generalist skills. Participants completed pre- and postworkshop questionnaires on the day of the workshop, and three-month follow-up self-report questionnaires that included 1-5-point Likert scale items focused on 15 spiritual generalist skills. RESULTS: One hundred fifteen interprofessional staff members completed pre- and postquestionnaires and three-month follow-up surveys. Analysis revealed significant mean improvement in all 15 spiritual generalist skills targeted for developing mastery within each of three broad domains: Spiritual Screen and Care Plan, Provision of Spiritual Care, and Professional Development. Although the initial degree of improvement tended to be greater immediately postworkshop, 14 of the 15 spiritual generalist skills remained significantly higher at three months compared to preworkshop. CONCLUSIONS: This daylong workshop of concentrated instruction, including didactics, visual slideshow, simulation of clinical scenarios, and debriefing/discussion components, was efficient and effective in training clinicians from varied disciplines to learn basic generalist-level spiritual care skills and to collaborate more effectively with chaplains, the spiritual specialists.
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