The study found that pediatricians usually respond to requests for prayer in one of four ways:
A few physicians did join in prayers with families and/or participated in religious rituals, such as baptism or being at the bedside. Others said they accommodated prayers, but didn't actively participate in them.
Another group of pediatricians reframed the prayer requests in ways they thought were more realistic and appropriate, Cadge said. The fourth group of physicians responded to requests for prayer by referring patients and families to other resources, such as the family's religious leaders or hospital chaplains.
Overall, the study showed that the situations that lead to requests and physicians' behaviors in response are far more complex "than simply praying or not praying," said Cadge.
In the long run, both these studies seem to show that while responding to spirituality seems to be a personal issue, there may be more there in adding it to the arsenal of providing quality care—and maybe we shouldn't be so shy to talk about it.