Connecting Columbia Union Seventh-day Adventists

New Minor in Spiritual Care Offered At Kettering College

Story by Rebecca Ingle

Kettering College challenges its students with rigorous academic courses and clinicals. And it strives to help students grow to be the spiritually mature people they want to be. The college’s required religion classes encourage students to first know themselves before they serve others.

Students can now earn a minor in spiritual care by taking three religion or humanities credits in addition to the 12 required religion credits. Humanities chair and professor, Cory Wetterlin, Ph.D., is excited about the newly added minor in spiritual care. He says adding this minor to resumes will give students an advantage and a talking point that show a hiring manager the student has worked on critical skills needed to serve others with compassion and care.

Spiritual care requires students to discover their own spiritual narrative, which is an ongoing journey, and one that nudges them to look at themselves with curiosity and honesty. Doing this grows students’ empathy, listening skills, and ability to be more present with patients. They show up in ways patients need, according to each patient’s spiritual narrative, even when it might vastly differ from their own.

Profound discussions in Kettering College’s religion courses engage students to create a space where spirituality is a topic that is no longer taboo or off limits. Professor Wetterlin points out healthcare professionals must ask and do very personal things that are uncomfortable at first. So, once students get comfortable asking patients about their spirituality, they begin to normalize it as an essential component to holistic health, knowing how best to serve the individual. He reminds students that 80% of patients want their healthcare provider to know about their spiritual needs, but only about 10% of providers ask.

Wetterlin says he is continually receiving positive feedback from students who have taken the religion courses. They often admit they didn’t know what to think of them, but after the courses, they noticed a difference in how they engage with patients in more meaningful ways and hold themselves accountable to strive for more connection.

Professor Wetterlin says, “It’s a great program that sets us apart from other colleges. Students say they feel the material is so important they can’t imagine not getting it in their curriculum since it prepares them so strongly to know themselves, so they can serve others with more humanity, balance, and vulnerability.”

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