Chapter

Healthcare spirituality: a question of knowledge

John Swinton

in Oxford Textbook of Spirituality in Healthcare

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780199571390
Published online August 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199665037 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/med/9780199571390.003.0015

Series: Oxford Textbook in Public Health

Healthcare spirituality: a question of knowledge

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In this chapter, I will look at how and why it is that healthcare practices have a tendency to focus on buckets, rather than waterfalls, and why it is that spirituality is required both to bridge and to fill the gap between the two, that is, to offer something new and to affirm the necessity of both. The way that I will approach this task is by beginning with the question of knowledge. The question ‘how do we know what we know’ sounds like an abstract philosophical argument. However, as will become clear, it is a deeply practical question that is foundational for our understanding of why spirituality in healthcare is not only important, but absolutely necessary. Spirituality is a form of knowledge that reveals important things about how and why we choose to care in the ways we do. It is a form of knowledge that is different from scientific knowledge and yet deeply tied in to it. We need both, in order to care well. The chapter will point out the theoretical and practical significance of spirituality and offer a rationale for its necessary incorporation into contemporary healthcare practices.

Chapter.  6121 words. 

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology ; Palliative Medicine

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