Promoting Research Literacy for Improved Patient Outcomes

“My Three Patients: a change in spiritual care approach and a personal search of faith”

For the past twelve years as a staff chaplain at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, I have followed a general rule of thumb in spiritual care by addressing questions of “Why me?” by addressing patients’ grief, not their intellectual anger (Machiano, 2014). Yet, when I encountered these three patients, the demand for a true intellectual answer and the tragedy of all three patients goaded me to change my spiritual care approach when a legitimate intellectual question is asked of me. I thought about the answers of patients and about my own spiritual tradition and faith for an answer that satisfied me personally.