Why spiritual health is so important [PODCAST]

“Around the time of the coronavirus outbreak, 2019 also marked a full century since the death of Sir William Osler, who revolutionized medical training. Despite some lingering debate over whether Dr. Osler’s pneumonia-related death should be counted among the 50 million lost to the 1918 influenza pandemic, his notes suggest that he believed the flu precipitated his demise.

As a chaplain who teaches medical humanities and professional identity formation in a medical school, I’ve been thinking about how Dr. Osler might have guided medical students during COVID-19.  Here, the evidence is a little clearer. Dr. Osler advocated for trainees to ‘let no day pass without contact with the greatest literature in the world,’ and to spend 30 minutes each night reading from a bedside library of ten classics. Included among these recommended texts were the Old and New Testaments and Sir Thomas Browne’s Religio Medici, a physician’s spiritual testament.”

Elizabeth J. Berger is an advanced practice board-certified chaplain and a narrative medicine specialist.

She shares her story and discusses her KevinMD article, “Why spiritual health is so important for medical students.”

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