Doctor, you patient has a spiritual side


I am excited to be able to share Steven’s story and am unbelievably grateful that his partner Rachel granted me permission to share how we as a Palliative Care team worked with them.

As I reflect on the last 15 years of doctoring, much of my energy has focussed on the physical aspects of medicine – the investigations, medications and ever improving interventions.

But as I progress as doctor, I recognise that without considering my patient’s spirituality – the things that bring meaning, hope and joy to them, my fancy treatments may not be the care that they desire.

For me, my expression of spirituality is in my faith in Jesus, it is everything to me. Through every suffering in my life, I will connect to the hope that I have in Christ to help walk with me through it.

But this is not always the case with our patients, as we all have our own expression of spirituality. Even if we do not believe in God, we have things in our lives that are important to us and form the basis of our world view and the type of person we want to be.

I hope Steven’s story allows the reader to know that religion is not the only expression of spirituality.

I implore both patients and health-care workers to consider the spiritual dimension of their world and how this interacts with disease, disability and finally death.

Thank you for reading and thank you to Cate Swannell and the MJA Insight for publishing this important piece.

Live intentionally
Love relentlessly
Enjoy your health

Dr. Jonathan Ramachenderan

3 comments on “Doctor, you patient has a spiritual side”

  1. This was brilliant Johnathon!..well done, a beautiful enlightening piece for every human to learn from, reflect into & internalize treasured truths that will help us to care for others & ultimately, help ourselves – as we one day navigate our own impending deaths. Love your insights.


  2. Thank you so much for sharing this! As a healthcare chaplain, I see this need on a daily basis, but it’s wonderful when medical professionals acknowledge it, as well. My best physicians/surgeons have been people of faith who were open to me including faith in my medical/surgical decisions.


    1. Thank you, Marianne. I do appreciate you taking the time to read and comment. A mission of mine that is emerging is to demystify psychosocial and spiritual care and to help my colleagues to be able to incorporate this into their practice. It is what we would want too if we were sick and had our world rattled.


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