Scottish Journal of Healthcare Chaplaincy
Vol 6No 2 October 2003
back over the editions of the journal which have appeared to date, I
am impressed by a sense of gathering momentum. This has not to do solely
with the process by which a new journal gradually de-fines its identity
and finds its feet, although hope-fully this has indeed been happening,
and will continue to happen. The momentum which I detect has more to
do with the gathering pace of change within chaplaincy itself, of which
none of us can be unaware, especially since the publication of HDL (2002)
76. There is a new urgency about the asking of questions, the defining
of identity within a modern healthcare system. There is a need for focus,
precision, communication, not only among our-selves, but also with those
who do not share our language and must be persuaded of the worth of
chaplaincy. There is a felt need for secure status, defined role, the
respect of the health professionals alongside whom we work. And yet
at the same time, room must be found for those most precious aspects
of the chaplain’s role which are often the least amenable to precision,
explanation, evidence and proof. Chaplains are not yet experiencing
a crisis of identity, and are to an extent cushioned by the sense of
good will and respect which many in healthcare still have towards us,
even if they only have the vaguest idea of what we are really ‘for’.
Yet there is a growing awareness that chaplains must be ahead of the
game in asking of ourselves the hard questions which will inevitably
be put to us by others. ‘Reflect and Survive’, may be the motto here.
But this is not, or should not be, our primary motivation for doing
the hard thinking about the identity of chaplaincy; we do it so that
we may with confidence and integrity provide meaningful spiritual care
within the NHS of the 21st century.
‘Chaplaincy for tomorrow’ is not only the name of a recent conference; it is the focus of the majority of contributions over recent editions of the journal, including this one. The scene is set by John Swinton’s thought provoking article, which sets out the issues involved if chaplains are to become ‘health care professionals’ in the same sense as others. His plea is that chaplains reflect upon ways of articulating the uniqueness which we claim for ourselves, even if this means finding the courage to assert that we cannot in many respects fit into the ‘evidence based’ model of healthcare. The challenge is to establish chaplaincy on its own terms, and that re-quires a sensitive assessment of both the common ground that we share with others in healthcare, and of the ways in which we must of necessity be different. Noel Brown strikes a similar note when he calls upon chaplains to find the confidence to make our distinctive voice heard in the spirituality debate.
Other contributors take up in their various ways the issues involved in chaplaincy for tomorrow, issues of evidence, training and support, role and identity. This edition is broadened and enhanced further by reflections on SARS, and by a consideration of the difficult subject of failure in palliative care, And from a very different perspective, Jordan Vuchkov gives us an insight into a healthcare system from which chaplaincy has for years been largely absent, and where the need for a ‘doctor of the soul’ is being rediscovered.
A ‘doctor of the soul’ for a new century, understanding the need for both skill and love, both knowledge and wisdom, both evidence and intuition; operating confidently in a culture awash with information, and yet at the same time preserving space for precious aspects of human experience which are too deep for words. To quote David Mitchell’s closing question, ‘How will it all develop?’
QUESTION OF IDENTITY: WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR CHAPLAINS TO BECOME HEALTHCARE
Abstract: What does it mean to be a healthcare chaplain? The recent introduction of the chaplaincy guidelines has taken chaplains into the heart of the health-care system and ensured that the National Health Service in Scotland has to think about and perhaps re-think the role of chaplaincy and its place within the system of healthcare delivery within Scotland. This presents a challenge not only to the National Health Service but also to chaplaincy. Chaplains will be called to ac-count for who they are and what they do in a way that they have not previously had to. The question of the professional identity of the chaplain is thus crucial. This paper reflects critically on the identity of chaplaincy as a healthcare discipline and offers some reflective comments on the pros and cons of what it might mean for chaplains to develop an identity as “healthcare professionals.”
words: chaplaincy, professional identity, professionalism, professionalisation,
John Swinton is Professor in Practical Theology and Pastoral Care at the School of Divinity with Religious Studies and Philosophy, University of Aberdeen.
AND COMPETENCIES FOR SPIRITUAL CARE AND CHAPLAINCY IN PALLIATIVE CARE
Abstract: Spiritual care and chaplaincy have come under considerable focus in recent years in Scotland and especially so within the field of Specialist Palliative Care. A combination of National Guidelines, Clinical Standards, Professional Standards, and a Competency Framework have come together to engender considerable discussion and an impetus for developing a framework for spiritual care, religious care and chaplaincy services and practice. The author reflects on the development of the standards and competencies, their format and integration and considers their impact on chaplaincy & spiritual care services in palliative care in Scotland.
Key words: chaplaincy, competencies, palliative care, religious care, spiritual care, standard.
David Mitchell is chaplain at Marie Curie Centre, Hunters Hill , Glasgow and joint editor of the Scottish Journal of Healthcare Chaplaincy.
PERCEPTIONS OF SUPERVISION
Andrew Moore, Chris Levison
Abstract: Several professional groups have effectively incorporated supervision into their everyday practice. Chaplains as a ‘caring’ profession cannot be immune from the personal effects of engaging in pastoral relationships with patients, carers and staff. Clearly, Chaplains require adequate support to prevent ‘burnout’ and stress. This paper explores Chaplains perceptions of supervision using a focus group methodology. The emerging themes from the findings provide a valuable insight into the perceptions and attitudes of chaplains towards the concept of supervision. In particular, Chaplains view supervision as a necessary part of their professional practice.
Key Words: chaplains, supervision, focus group
Andrew Moore is Policy Development Officer, Chris Levison is Chaplaincy Training and Development Officer / Spiritual Care Co-ordinator in the Healthcare Chaplaincy Training and Development Unit, Scotland.
REPORT - ‘CHAPLAINCY FOR TOMORROW’
In March 2003, just over eighty participants gathered at Crieff, having been invited to attend the conference. ‘Chaplaincy for Tomorrow’ was the fruit of long planning and preparation on the part of the Church of Scotland’s Board of National Mission, and in his opening address, convener Rev. Jim Gibson expressed the hope that it would prove to be ‘a school for listening and learning together’. Its stated aims were, to provide an opportunity for those involved in every aspect of chaplaincy to meet together; to address issues concerning chaplaincy; to assist the church to address the opportunities and challenges of chaplaincy in the 21st century; to explore ways in which chaplains might be better supported in their frontier task.
Georgina Nelson is chaplain at St. John’s hospital Livingston and joint editor of the Scottish Journal of Healthcare ChaplaincyFull Text
PLOT OR COMMON GROUND?
A HUMANIST REFLECTS
Abstract: Writing from a humanist perspective, the author argues that the right of the patient to receive spiritual care from someone who shares the same philosophy of life must be respected. The ‘religious’ chaplain should no longer be expected to act as ‘jack of all trades’. The task of the chaplaincy is not to bring people to God, but to help them find comfort or meaning. The author welcomes the fact that the NHS HDL (2002)76 Guidelines suggest no bar to humanists undergoing training as hospital chaplains.
Key Words: humanist; chaplaincy; spirituality; spiritual care.
Ivan Middleton is a humanist celebrant and sectretary to the Humanist Society of Scotland
CHAPLAINCY IN BULGARIA:
TRADITIONS AND PROBLEMS
Abstract: In this article the author seeks answers to many questions about the past and the future of Healthcare Chaplaincy in Bulgaria. The Church has no official input into hospitals, but patients, their relatives, medical staff, and the whole of society needs pastoral care and spiritual support during times of suffering. Nowadays the treatment of patients in hospital is a complex and responsible process. It demands the combined efforts of the therapeutic team, and the valuing of human life and human dignity at the highest level. An empirical study, investigating the attitude of staff and patients to the necessity of Healthcare Chaplaincy, shows that the problem is important and its solution must be found as a top priority.
Keywords: patients, medical staff, traditions, social transition, pastoral care.
Jordan Vuchkov is anesthesiologist, Dept. of Anesthesiology and Intensive Care Medicine,Medical Faculty, Thracian University, Stara Zagora, Bulgaria
BEHIND A MASK – A CHAPLAIN REFLECTS UPON SARS
Abstract: The outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) which occurred in Canada, notably Toronto, in spring 2003 gave rise to two responses which together have profoundly affected the healthcare environment:_ stringent infection control measures, and fear of an unknown enemy. From his perspective as chaplain resident at Toronto General Hospital, the author describes the chaplaincy response to the ‘new normal’ in hospital life. He identifies the problems created, and stresses the need to adapt to a new healthcare environment ‘behind the mask’.
Key words: SARS; chaplaincy; healthcare; infection control.
Bruce Pierce is from the Church of Ireland currently a chaplain resident at Toronto General Hospital, part of the University Health Network.
PASTORAL EDUCATION (CPE): A REFLECTION
Abstract: Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) is a widely used educational programme in many parts of the world. This article is a reflection on the author’s personal experience of CPE, together with some very brief historical data, and approved quotes from the reflections of a small group of participants in a CPE module held in Scotland in the Autumn of 2002. It is offered to stir interest in CPE, rather than to give a deeply informative description of the process.
Keywords : clinical pastoral education; pastoral care; supervision; verbatim; living human document.
Valerie Duff is a Church of Scotland parish minister in Glasgow, and holds a Doctor of Ministry degree in Pastoral Supervision
WITH FAILURE IN PALLIATIVE CARE
Abstract: In this article failure is considered from general, political and financial perspectives, Technological failure is discussed and educational, organizational and communicational failures are identified. In a Hospice setting, corporate staff failures are explored and the more painful personal and spiritual failures at the patient/carer interface are examined.
Key words: failure, palliative care, death, patient, carer
Fiona Downs is consultant in palliative medicine at Strathcarron Hospice, Denny.
Sacred Art of Listening
Forty reflections for cultivating a spiritual practice
Wild Goose Publications
Palliative Care – dying, death and bereavement in the community
Rodger Charlton (ed)
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Drinking: A Person-Centred Dialogue.
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for the Dying at Home: Companions on the Journey
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Research in Primary Care: a workbook for health professionals
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Up With God
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THE ORERE SOURCE
The Rev. W. Noel Brown, A CPE Supervisor, Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Chicago.is the editor and puiblisher of THE ORERE SOURCE, a bi-monthly compendium of his abstracts from the pastoral care literature.