THEOLOGY, SPIRITUALITY, AND HEALTH CARE
Can theology, spirituality, and health care be related constructively to facilitate patient healing? How are researchers conceptualizing and measuring the religiosity and spirituality of patients? What is the theological and spiritual content of positive coping strategies that patients and care-givers use? Are there negative strategies that must be avoided in order to facilitate patient healing? When health care providers incorporate the religiosity and spirituality of their patients into the treatment regimine, what ethical issues surface and how can they be addressed from a theological perspective?
Participants in this seminar will strive to answer these questions by probing the relationship of theology, spirituality and health care, identifying their contributions to patient care with emphasis on theology and spirituality, and evaluating methods through which the religiosity and spirituality of patients can be factored into the healing process. Key to this endeavor is discerning how religiosity and spirituality are conceptualized in the theological literature, determining the extent to which these conceptualizations are measured in relation to patient care by researchers, and identifying research strategies that measure patient religiosity and spirituality more adequately. Bolstered by these insights, students will collaborate in developing a model for measuring the religiosity and spirituality of patients, test the model on members of their families, and revise the model accordingly. Integral to this interdisciplinary endeavor is the identification of positive and negative religious coping strategies with emphasis on the content of theological reflection. Also to be probed are ethical questions that surface for health care providers when the patient’s religiosity or spirituality is factored into the treatment plan and ways of answering these questions that are grounded in theological reflection and Catholic social teachings.
Open to graduate students who are seeking degrees in Religious Studies and other disciplines relevant to the topic, this course was commissioned by the College of Nursing as part of a federal grant to provide an interdisciplinary perspective for doctoral students. Students seeking graduate degrees at the Medical College of Wisconsin may also enroll. Prior to the first session, all students are required to read an assigned theology text that will begin to prepare them to engage in theological discourse and research.