Mainstreaming Your PMC: The Spiritual Foundation

When it comes to healthcare, addressing a patient’s spiritual health is an important aspect of their overall care. Including a spiritual assessment is not just important or a good idea, it is actually part of  the guidelines that are in place for medical professionals to achieve standards that are in place.


Many PMC leaders are unaware that there are medical organizations that actually require a spiritual assessment and provide tools to accomplish it. They are unaware they have this standard to lean on for training staff and building policies and procedures for their clinic. That unawareness positions those same leaders to build a plan that keeps spiritual discussions separate from any other services offered and relegated to those that are determined to be the “safe” person. I’ve seen times when this unfamiliarity has contributed to the decision to remove a spiritual component of the visit or diminish the spiritual discussion to times “when the patient requests it.”

NOTE: The Nursing Code of Ethics addresses this for RN’s, so don’t miss our article in this edition by Kari Haug RN, BSN, Director Nurse Operations for Sparrow Solutions Group (SSG).

NOTE: Robin Fuller, SSG Consultant, wrote an article in this edition on how the Executive Director guides an organization in considerations related to a faith-based service platform.   

Knowing the standard, and how a spiritual assessment is done, can be empowering to you as a leader. It can be empowering to all the PMC staff, as they are freed up to have easy conversations related to spiritual health and subsequent faith-based references woven into the services they provide to each patient.

Another way to develop church involvement and serve patients who might want an additional spiritual conversation, is to offer a separate spiritual appointment with a local pastor serving as a chaplain at your clinic. SSG has consulted with PMC’s and built a plan that intentionally looked for pastors or chaplains who are willing to dedicate 4 hours a month for this type of appointment. The appointment can be scheduled individually or as a group—you decide how to launch such a program in your PMC for your patients. It may interest you to know, I have been to a PMC who had 52 different pastors plugging in to serve in this capacity. At 4 hours per week, imagine the impact that has on the local churches. Imagine the change agent you are for young mothers, fathers, and families!

As an education company, we look to those organizations that set the bar at the highest standard. We know that those we serve may not implement every aspect of these standards, but it provides a baseline for expectations and in-house goals.

One such organization for SSG is the Joint Commission. We have followed their training guidelines for staff, outlining it in our “Essentials of Imaging and Clinic Operations” course. In the course material, we go over and strategically discuss 8 key components of healthy healthcare. Included in the Joint Commission accreditation standards, is a Spiritual Assessment. We know that you aren’t a hospital, but if you embrace being a clinic, you can follow the same guidelines or recommendations.

Following a mainstream approach positions your PMC to add one more component to “Mainstreaming Your PMC,” as you serve and become “the place” rather than “that place.” Instead of feeling your faith separates you, it can actually be part of mainstreaming your PMC. Your team may need training in order to integrate a faith-based component accurately.

It can be done.

We’ve done it before, and we are equipped to train your team to be prepared for these conversations and learn the best ways to address the spiritual aspect of a patient’s health. In thinking out of the box, imagine being “the place” where other medical professionals come to learn how to do spiritual assessments.


I have listed some links to spiritual assessment tools, organizations of value for spiritual assessments, as well as those who may be a good local partner. If you’d like additional information from us, please call us at 702-556-1102 to set up a phone consultation about Mainstreaming Your PMC.

Before researching the list below, I recommend that you research which hospitals in your community are accredited by the Joint Commission. I’d also suggest that you research the mission statement for your local faith-based hospitals to see what they do to provide for faith-based components, such as the following:

Mission, Vision, and Values
(Vision and Values excluded)

Adventist Health Portland shares the mission, vision, values and culture of our parent company, Adventist Health, a faith-based, non-profit integrated health system serving more than 75 communities on the West Coast and Hawaii. 
Adventist Health Portland is part of the OHSU health system, but remains an independent organization with a faith-based mission.
Our Mission
Living God’s love by inspiring health, wholeness, and hope.

The SSG team looks forward to partnering with you in a customized program to Mainstream Your Clinicfor 2019 and beyond.

Connie Ambrecht, CEO
Sparrow Solutions Group
Grief and Loss Coach, CMB
A list of resources:
American Family Physicians
Many of you have a Family Practice physician as your medical director. I found this an interesting link as to how it affects their practice.Professional Chaplaincy: Its Role and Importance in Healthcare
It could be a valuable investment to have a staff member become a Chaplain to add to your overall organization health and development. Learn more here.The Joint Commission Website: Spiritual Health
This list has been part of our Clinical Imaging 1 and 2 for years. What we have realized is that many we train are absorbed in their new clinical setting and this list falls to the wayside. Click here for the list.

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