Spirituality is an important part of medical care, especially when patients are very ill or dying, because spirituality is part of what it means to be human. It is important for physicians to understand not only their own spirituality but also that of their patients. For that reason, although physicians do not necessarily need to deliver spiritual care, asking questions to discern the spiritual needs of their patients might be both in their own and in the patients' best interest. Prudence, however, must be exercised when examining scientific studies of spirituality and patient health to ensure that such studies are not either wholeheartedly accepted or summarily rejected without further scrutiny. Both extreme positions would be erroneous and would fail to do justice to the solid work performed in this area.
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