Embedding spirituality and compassion into clinical education: A pilot study of Spotlight sessions in Advanced Clinical Practice

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The need for spiritually sensitive and compassionate health care is recognised by health-regulatory bodies, yet, they are often not taught in health professional education. Guidelines identify expected competencies, but the best teaching techniques to develop these competencies, are unknown. Spotlights are a novel teaching method designed to integrate compassion and spirituality into existing academic curricula. Spotlights entail a moment in taught sessions, where the clinical knowledge that is being delivered, is used to scaffold discussions surrounding compassion and spirituality. A pilot project explored Spotlight’s ability to integrate compassion and spirituality into health professional education. Trainee Advanced Clinical Practitioners received between 23 and 46 Spotlights over an academic year. The effectiveness was assessed by an anonymous survey pre- and post-intervention. Mean post-intervention scores were largely unchanged from corresponding pre-intervention scores. High levels of compassion and positive perceptions of spirituality were found before the intervention. The study was not powered to assess efficacy and significance testing was not conducted. Surprising outcomes saw students autonomously incorporating Spotlights into their work and increased discussions surrounding spirituality. Thus suggesting these concepts were becoming embedded into the culture of the trainees. Spotlights were an implementable method, well received by students and educators alike.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages12
JournalJournal for the Study of Spirituality
Early online date6 Nov 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 6 Nov 2023

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