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Student JAMA
June 16, 2004

Taking a Spiritual History

JAMA. 2004;291(23):2881-2882. doi:10.1001/jama.291.23.2881

In a recent multicenter survey of 476 physicians' attitudes toward spirituality in clinical practice, 85% said physicians should be aware of a patient's religious and spiritual beliefs.1 This finding was consistent with a 1992 survey of 594 family physicians, of whom 93% agreed or strongly agreed that physicians should consider patients' spiritual needs.2 However, only 31% and 39% of physicians believed that physicians should ask patients about their spiritual beliefs in outpatient and inpatient settings, respectively.1 It has been reported, however, that fewer than 10% of physicians actually do so,3 even among dying patients.4

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