Elective Years 1 and 2: Spiritual Screening and Assessment: A Communication Skills Workshop

Department: Arts & Humanities in Health & Medicine (AHHM), Undergraduate Medical Education

Spiritual Screening and Assessment:  A Communication Skills Workshop

**NOT OFFERED IN 2020-21**

Location: St. Stephen's College (University of Alberta Campus: 8810 - 112 Street

12 hours, over one weekend (TBA, Winter term)


Pamela Brett-MacLean, PhD; Director, AHHM Program (pbrett@ualberta.ca)

or AHHM Program Coordinator:  ahhm@ualberta.ca


This 2-day workshop offers an introduction to spirituality and spiritual assessment in relation to reflective, patient-centred care. Participants will be introduced to frameworks and tools that can be used to guide conversations that provide opportunities for exploring patient's spiritual concerns in the clinical setting.

Becoming a reflective practitioner takes both desire and discipline. Students who have previously participated in courses and workshops on spiritual assessment with us, have shared that their motivation for enrolling was their desire to bring greater depth, sensitivity, wholeness, competence, and integrative awareness to their professional practice. This workshop is aimed at fostering participants' reflective capacities and promoting their ability to listen deeply, engage the sacred nature of interpersonal space, and bring to their clinical environments an ability to both include and engage patients' spiritual questions and concerns as these arise.

This elective is open to 1st and 2nd year medical students, as well as other interested medical students (in 3rd and 4th year), and also medical residents and other students enrolled in health professional programs in the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry at the University of Alberta (see notes below).

This elective has been developed, and will be facilitated by Drs. Joanne Olson and Margaret Clark. Dr. Clark is a Lecturer in Practical Theology at St. Stephen's College; her areas of expertise include collaborative inquiry, spiritual assessment, and spiritual care. Dr. Olson is a Professor in the Faculty of Nursing, University of Alberta; her areas of expertise include healthcare communication, interprofessional education, health promotion, spiritual assessment, and faith community nursing.

A pass/ fail grade will be assigned to participating medical students (as per the standard UME "Assessment of Elective Performance" form). Participants will be invited to provide feedback about their experience to help the facilitators improve this elective experience for students in subsequent years.


1) To introduce an approach to reflective practice that includes awareness of the "spiritual" and "spirituality" in healthcare;

2) To review of core concepts for whole-person assessment in healthcare;

3) To introduce spiritual assessment frameworks, including in-depth consideration of the F.I.C.A. Spiritual Screening tool; and

4) To provide concrete opportunities for practicing spiritual screening using the F.I.C.A. tool.

Additional Notes:

Maximum enrolment: 25 participants.

This elective is restricted to 1st and 2nd year medical students. Should space allow, 3rd and 4th year medical students and residents, and other health sciences students within the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry will also be invited to consider participating in this weekend workshop on a completely elective basis (although we can provide a letter attesting to your participation, no credit will be given). Interested preceptors will also be invited to participate should space allow.

Participants will meet together on both days from 9:00 am - 4:00 pm. The room will open at 8:30, when coffee, juice and muffins will be provided. Through the remainder of the day, participants will be responsible for bringing their own lunch, snacks, water bottles, etc.

All participants should plan on completing the entire workshop, by attending both days.

Please contact Lisa Bussiere, AHHM Program Coordinator, at ahhm@ualberta.ca if you are interested in participating in this elective, and she will provide timely updates about details and specifics.

NB: Medical students can complete more than one 12 hour elective in Year 1 and 2. 

Last Updated: February 3, 2017