Conversations About Ethics

Attending to Suffering: Fostering Inner Growth as Part of the Professional Formation of Clinicians

Christina Puchalski, MD, MS, FACP, FAAHPM

This talk will review the concepts of being present to patients’ suffering, what is needed in professional development to be able to do that and will describe an innovative program currently used in medical schools called GWish-Templeton Reflection Rounds which is a competency based program in spirituality and health.

Learning Objectives

  • Participants will reflect on what is meant by attending to a patient’s suffering.
  • Participants will discuss ways in which clinicians’ own spirituality impacts their ability to be present to patients
  • Participants will describe an educational program integrating clinicians’ spirituality in their professional formation.

Gaps addressed

  • Spiritual formation as part of professional development of clinicians is not widely integrated into clinician education.
  • While spiritual care is increasingly integrated in clinical setting, concern remains about ethical challenges and how those might be addressed in clinical settings.
  • Spiritual distress is a global pandemic and it is critical that systems provide adequate interprofessional spiritual care resources.

CME: The UT Health San Antonio School of Medicine is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

The UT Health San Antonio School of Medicine designates this live activity for a maximum of 2.5 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA), American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) and the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) accept certificates of attendance for educational activities certified for AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™ from organizations accredited by the ACCME.

Healthcare professionals receiving a certificate of attendance should consult with their licensing board for information on applicability and acceptance. 

†This presentation meets the Texas Medical Board criteria for formal continuing medical education involving the study of medical ethics and/or professional responsibility.

CEU: The Ecumenical Center is approved by the State of Texas to provide continuing education for LPC, LMFT and Social Workers. The evening lecture is approved for 1 CEU and the luncheon keynote is approved for 1.5 CEU.


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Resource List

This resource list brings together websites, videos, audio recordings, books, and articles to supplement the workshop and lecture.

By Our Speaker

Dipping Your Toe (Introductory Information)

Wading Waist High (Intermediate Resources)

Taking a Deep Dive (Advanced Materials)

Access to Materials

Freely available Online
Available through the San Antonio Public Library
For information about how to obtain a San Antonio Public Library card, click here:
Available through the Briscoe Library at the UTHSCSA Faculty
Faculty, students, and staff may access these materials remotely using their Health Science Center log-in. Non-affiliated individuals and members of the general public may access these materials in-person by visiting the library and registering for guest access. Off-site access is not available for non-affiliated individuals and members of the general public due to licensing restrictions.