One of the requirements for graduation at Stritch School of Medicine is completion of a paper in which the student reflects on the ethical and human dimensions of caring for one of their patients. 

Spiritual Care and Death of a Patient - Instructions for the Spiritual Care and the Death of a Patient assignment are provided below. This assignment does not provide specific sections that you must complete.  But, in general, we ask you to tell us about a patient you cared for who died. You should describe the case and tell us about the patient’s needs, beliefs, and wishes and how they were addressed or not addressed.  Please tell us about anything in particular that seemed important about the case.  And, please describe your reactions to and feelings about the case. We expect that such papers will need to be at least five double-spaced pages in length in order to be complete. No references are necessary.

PURPOSE:  First, the written assignment serves to demonstrate your ability to recognize interpersonal, communication, spiritual and ethical aspects of medical care and write a well reasoned description and commentary.  Second, the paper provides an opportunity for you to develop your own ability to think about such issues, articulate your own independent thinking, and express your reactions and feelings about these dimensions of care regarding a situation involving one of your patients.  Third, the paper can illustrate one facet of what we hope is the kind of doctor that Stritch educates: a woman or man who is profoundly aware of the human dimension of medical practice, committed to a high standard of care in personal practice, and dedicated to a careful consideration of what it means to honor the doctor-patient relationship.

Instructions for preparing the essay

ASSIGNMENT:  Please tell us about your experience in caring for a patient who died.  Your paper should focus on your personal experience of this patient and all the people involved in this process.  We also hope that you will tell us about the ways in which you and the other members of the healthcare team took care of the patient and his or her family’s spiritual needs.  Consider telling us about issues that were important from your perspective, this might include matters of communication, the ways in which particular care givers did/or did not demonstrate compassionate presence, the extent to which the patient and patient’s family’s spiritual needs were evident to, assessed or addressed by the caregivers.  Share any insights regarding the spiritual needs or resources of the members of the healthcare team, including yourself. Please close your paper with a discussion of how this experience has impacted how you care for yourself today and/or how this has influenced your care of patients, if at all.

GOALS:  The paper will allow you to explore how spiritual care is integrated into the overall care of the patient.  Acquire some foundational knowledge necessary in integrating spirituality into the care of patients.  Provide you an opportunity to incorporate spirituality as part of your professional and personal development.

OUTCOMES:  This reflection should enable you to recall how the various members of the healthcare team, including yourself, communicating with patients, families, and each other about spiritual issues.  You will identify behaviors and attitudes that contribute to or detract from providing healthcare that appropriately addresses a patient’s spiritual needs.

EXPECTATION:  These papers will be graded on a Pass/Fail basis.  The papers are expected to be thoughtful, thorough, and well written.  Furthermore, the paper should follow standard grammar and spelling and that you proofread your work. Papers that are complete and well-written will pass.  Failing papers must be re-written and re-submitted. If you need assistance in identifying or processing an experience, please see Drs. Michelfelder, Kuczewski, or McCarthy.

This requirement can be an opportunity for you to show your ability to reflect, write, and wrestle with important issues in a respectful manner on a topic crucial to patient care.  Although the paper is not due until April 10, 2019, it is not too early to begin to consider some of the end of life situations you may have encountered during your clinical rotations.

GRADING: The papers are graded on a Pass/Fail basis.  Papers that are complete and well-written will pass.  Failing papers must be re-written and re-submitted.

DUE DATE: Papers are due April 10, 2019 at 4:00pm.  Failure to meet the deadline will result in a grade of "FAIL." No exceptions will be made.  A remediated "Fail" will be reported as "P*."

Email your paper in Word document format to by 4pm on April 10, 2019.  Please submit paper file as: LAST NAME-Ethics (ex. Doe-ethics.doc)