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The Students will gain an exposure to the principles of spirituality and pastoral care in the medical setting by working with hospital chaplains, social workers, ethics committee, and nurses. Students will distinguish spirituality from religion and receive an introduction to addressing spiritual issues with patients of all faiths and backgrounds. Students will spend the majority of time with a hospital chaplain, shadowing him/her, discussing philosophies of spirituality and medicine with the Chaplain, rounding with the Chaplain, visiting patients when requested, comforting family members, and assisting with advanced directives discussion and paperwork. The student will also shadow the on call Chaplain for one 12 hour week-end shift.

Elective Details:

Primary Contact for Add/Drops: Robyn Axel-Adams (raxelada@iuhealth.org)

Director: Robyn Axel-Adams, M.Div., BCC

Campus: Indianapolis

Location: IU Health Methodist Hospital, IU Health University Hospital, Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health (Indianapolis)

Learning Objectives

  • 1) Recognize the patient as person to include dimensions of spiritual beliefs and needs (SBP2)
  • 2) Develop an understanding of how patient's spiritual belief systems impact their health (SBP2)
  • , 3) Explain how the student's spiritual beliefs impact his or her practice of medicine (SBP2)
  • 4) Describe the role of the Chaplain as a member of the interdisciplinary health care team (SBP1)


  • Professional Development Evaluation Form; (Patient Care Presentation,George Washington University Institute for Spirituality and Health modules; 10 question quiz, completion of Institute for Healthcare Improvement Course PFC 103: Having the Conversation: Basic Skills for Conversations about End-of-Life Care, and a Written essay).

Enrollment Information

Prerequisites: 4th year status

Availability with Max Students per Month:


Duty Hours: 40

Time Distribution: 60% Clinical; 20% Lecture/Seminar; 20% Library/Research

Elective Type Category: PD - Professional Development

Notes and Enrollment Information:

Add/Drop Contact Person: Robyn Axel-Adams (raxelada@iuhealth.org)

Third Year Elective? No

Interprofessional Skills and Service Learning

Interprofessional Collaborative Skills: Yes

Skills Description: working with hospital chaplains, social workers, ethics committee, and nurses

Service Learning Included: None