No 33 March 2008
Burns Night is well behind us but the following words came to my mind earlier this week, “O wad some power the giftie gie us, tae see oorselves as ithers see us.” I was reading an article on Chaplains in the Media in the on-line newsletter for chaplains called PlainViews. The author was interested in the portrayal of the chaplain who has appeared in the latest season of the hospital drama ER. I must confess that I haven't watched that programme for years, so I'm not sure if Chaplain Julia has made it to the small screen on this side of the pond yet.
In one episode she remarks, “Chaplaincy is just a hobby for me”, and goes on to illustrate this by what appears to me to be a very haphazard approach to a dying patient.
So to return to Burns for a moment, you do wonder what the script writers saw in chaplains in general to depict the character in the series. Do we indeed give the impression of being merely enthusiastic amateurs? Or is this just the usual media misrepresentation of anything remotely religious?
Has anyone ever seen a chaplain in Casualty or Holby City ? If you have, how did you rate them? And if we fast forward, say ten years from now, would anything be different?
Hopefully by then we will have shaken off any vestiges of chaplains being amateurs, enthusiastic or otherwise. By then we should be a confident, forward thinking and dynamic profession giving the highest possible care to patients their relatives and staff.
The road that chaplaincy throughout the UK is taking at the present time is designed to achieve that, but it will not necessarily be a Roman road that we follow, and there may be a few twists and turns like the Devil's Elbow on the way. We will need to account for ourselves more and more and provide evidence that what we do actually makes a difference. The proof of our efficacy is out there, we just have to marshal the information and forget about being too coy.
Of course there's nothing to stop any budding script writers among you sending the producers of ER a script where Julia returns from a training course in Scotland full of enthusiasm and renewed motivation. It does happen, all the time!
President of SACH
Reiko Aylesworth plays Chaplain Julia Dupree in ER. You can see a short clip of her in action on YouTube:
If you become a fan of hers, there are other clips of Chaplain Julia on YouTube.
After discussion it was agreed that the President contact Chris Levison to confirm the request that SACH hold its AGM during conference days in September as had been mooted at the AGM. Secretary to inform CHCC of this and express hope for CHCC to follow suit. Also suggest reps from both parties be chosen at AGMs to discuss further ways of working together.
President reported on a fruitful meeting in Edinburgh with the new CHCC President, Anne Aldridge, and Tom Gordon, President of AHPCC.
Discussion on following points: (a) Professional Register (b) CAAB (c) Training for chaplains (e) existence of all party group on healthcare chaplaincy at Westminster - CHCC president to form link (f) Journals.
Current figure at 140 - 5 new members since beginning of 2008.
Distribution of Journal
Encourage names for successor to James Falconer.
Reports were heard from representatives on the various committees:
Chaplaincy Training and Development Group:
HDL Revision - slow progress - consultation when draft finalised
Data Protection - no advance as yet
Religion and Belief report - suggested resource for intranet sites
PG qualification in Chaplaincy - academic institutions to tender interest
NES study days and conferences - 2008 programme being compiled
Registration Steering Group:
Most of the pieces of work needed to begin the process of self-regulation have been done. The executive need to encourage members to sign up to the voluntary register.
Data Protection - Derek Fraser of CAAB seeking information on protocols in Europe. Fred Coutts to feed back from ENHCC conference in May.
Spiritual Care Development Committee:
President reported on January meeting at which Geoff Lachlan gave presentation on his Report on Religion and Belief.
For the last 10 years James Falconer has done a sterling job of organising the printing and distribution of the Scottish Journal of Healthcare Chaplaincy which you all receive. He feels that he has done long enough and would like to pass this task on to fresh hands.
The Executive are most grateful for all that he has done over this time and would like to encourage you, the members, to consider if this is a way you can help SACH. Perhaps you have a chaplaincy volunteer who has the time, interest and administrative skills to do this. Please do think seriously about this.
For more information please contact James on 01224 554905
Subscriptions were due on 1 February 2008. If you would like to set up a standing order to pay your Subscription, please contact:
SACH Membership Secretary
Aberdeen Royal Infirmary
Aberdeen AB25 2ZN
Telephone: 01224 553316
Fax: 01224 554551
Chaplaincy and spiritual care involve the person and situation of the provider as well as the person and situation of the patient/client. This is one of the things special about pastoral care ie that it is not distant and that it involves one's own feelings and thoughts and experience in order to be really in touch with another person in a meaningful way. In the metaphor of Henry Nouwen the theologian, any other approach would be like trying to rescue a child from a burning building without any risk of being burnt.
Friday 29 February there was a meeting in Edinburgh of chaplains, practical theology teachers and psychotherapists looking at the subject of supervision. It was a fascinating day and underlined for me the need of those who are working in intense pastoral situations for pastoral supervision for themselves.
This is one of the important domains in our about to be published "Capability Framework" as it was seen as an intergral part of the service in the "Standards for NHSScotland Chaplaincy Services" produced last year. The need for reflective practice is also highlighted in the CPE programme (Clinical Pastoral Education) and in the planned curriculum for a certificate in healthcare chaplaincy.
Maintaining our humanity, the capacity to feel and show empathy, are important attributes for us. The alternative is some kind of burn out or compassion fatigue which we are all, I'm sure, aware of to some extent. One comment I heard recently, I think it was on "Thought for the day" was that this fatigue only happens to people who care, psychopaths, on the other hand, don't get burn out.
Having had a recent spell in hospital I am re convinced of the importance of good spiritual care. Most staff were wonderful and the difference between someone who actually connects with you as a person and someone who doesn't is enormous. If chaplaincy and spiritual care training can help us to maintain our human vulnerability as well as a means of supporting and developing our human and pastoral skills, it will be making a difference to the care we and our colleagues in the NHS can give.
Hopefully you will all have access shortly to the Capability Framework and you will in a month or two have the chance to read and contribute to the revised guidance which is being prepared for the Scottish Government Department of Health and Well-being. It is hoped to have a conference as part of the consultation some time in the summer on this guidance.
There will also be a one-day event on 'Faith in Older People - Spiritual Care and Ageing' on 7 May 2008. This event is being organised by the Chaplaincy Training and Development Unit in NES and will be run on the day by Dr Harriet Mowat. The venue to will be the Salutation Hotel, Perth. (See Page 7)
Good wishes to you all in your work and your encounters.
Rev Christopher Levison
Healthcare Chaplaincy Training & Development Officer /Spiritual Care Advisor
NHS Education for Scotland (NES)
2 Central Quay,
89 Hydepark Street
Glasgow G3 8BW
- a seminar on Tuesday 22 January 2008 at Scottish Churches House, Dunblane organised by Action of Churches Together in Scotland (ACTS)
John Thomson (Ministries Council, Church of Scotland)
This day seminar was designed to bring together church leaders, healthcare chaplains and those responsible within the churches for policy in this important area of ministry and service. Chaplaincy within the health service has a long history with deep roots in the Christian tradition. The gift of chaplaincy has long been at the forefront of ecumenical engagement. In its report to the 2005 General Assembly of the Church of Scotland the then Committee on Chaplaincies in its review of whole-time chaplains' work affirmed:
‘..the commitment and enthusiasm of chaplains working in often very challenging situations, whether it be tough negotiations for scarce resources, emotionally charged pastoral encounters or responding to patients, staff and relatives seeking answers to very searching questions. Imaginative and innovative work is being done in chaplaincy…'
For many years the ecumenical Scottish Churches Committee on Healthcare Chaplaincy has been a forum where these changes have been reflected upon. At its meetings in March and May 2006 the Scottish Churches Forum had a substantial discussion on the nature of this changing context. Strong concern was expressed at the implications of changes within the health service on the role of chaplains, particularly those working part-time, and on the implications of the distinction between ‘spiritual care' and ‘denominational chaplaincy'. It was clear that within the churches there is a range of ways of understanding and responding to the new context. As a first step it was agreed that ACTS, working with the Scottish Churches Healthcare Chaplaincy Committee should host a consultation in which church leaders and co-ordinating chaplains could meet to discuss issues, share concerns and hear about good practice. The principal aim of the day was to provide a space in which church leaders, those actively engaged in chaplaincy and denominational staff responsible for their support should engage with one another. The priority was to identify the most appropriate ways of meeting the pastoral and spiritual needs of all who request help or support.
LIST OF THOSE PRESENT
Rev Mary Buchanan (Chair) - Convener of ACTS
Rev Chris Levison – NHS Education Training and Development Officer and Spiritual Care Co-ordinator
Rev Dorothy Anderson – Ministries Council, Church of Scotland
Rev Iain Telfer – Ministries Council, Church of Scotland and Chaplain, NHS Lothian
Ms Jacqui du Rocher, Roman Catholic Chaplain, Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh
Rev Andrew Graham – Chaplain, Golden Jubilee National Hospital,
Dr Ewen Harley – United Reformed Church
Mr Bill Reid – Methodist Church,
Right Rev Vincent Logan – Roman Catholic Bishop of Dunkeld,
Rev Gillian Munro – Director of Spiritual Care NHS Tayside,
Rev Rona Phillips, United Reformed Church
Rev John Humphreys – United Reformed Church
Very Rev Aldo Canon Angelosanto – Roman Catholic Chaplain NHS Tayside,
Rev Fred Coutts – Head of Spiritual Care NHS Grampian,
Rev Margery Collin – Head of Spiritual Care NHS Forth Valley
Rev Andrew McMillan – Scottish Churches Committee on Healthcare Chaplaincy
Most Rev Dr Idris Jones – Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church
Mr Hector Mackenzie – Scottish Government, Department of Health and Well Being
Rev Dr Iain Macritchie Head of Spiritual Care NHS Highland,
Rev Carol Campbell – Baptist Union of Scotland & Chaplain, Royal Hospital for Sick Children Glasgow
Rev Blair Robertson – Head of Spiritual Care NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde
Dr Geoff Lachlan, Fair For All, Religion & Belief Project
Rev Bob Devenny – Head of Spiritual Care NHS Lanarkshire
Rev John McMahon – Lead Chaplain, NHS Lothian
Mrs Pamala McDougall – Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)
Sr Rosemary Bayne, Chaplain (Roman Catholic & Generic) NHS Lothian
Mr John Thomson – Ministries Council, Church of Scotland.
DISCUSSION AT THE PLENARY SESSION
Registration of Chaplains as Healthcare Professionals:
· formation of a Professional Association requires code of conduct, standards, competencies and educational qualification to be established.
· framework is being currently developed
· Universities are being approach to enter into discussion re willingness to develop certificate for the training of healthcare Chaplains
· hoped that by the summer of 2009 the first students would be sought, probably from within existing Chaplains.
· in time a Post Graduate Diploma and a Masters Degree would be developed
qualification training would mean NHS staff and patients would have be able to have a clearer understanding of the role.
However, to achieve this it would require:
· a UK commitment agreement of about 75% of Chaplains throughout the UK
· still two different perspectives south of the border between those who support the development of training/qualifications and those who remain committed to Denominational appointments as opposed to ‘generic' appointments
· definable competencies standards and a code of conduct still to be developed
· no formal application has yet been made to the Healthcare Professionals Council .
Tension may exist where Denominational appointments might not apply the same requirements as those Chaplains appointed to work generically to all faith communities by NHS
Implications for part-time/full-time working:
· both would be required to work to the same code of conduct and standards
· part time Chaplains might be viewed ultimately as assistants rather than Chaplains
· only those on the Register would be able to call themselves Chaplain.
There is still some way to go but the outcome would be good for the profession, the church, hospitals and patients.
It was pointed out that RC Bishops may be concerned about the church losing authority over a priest if the profession required them to be appointed as ‘generic chaplains'.
Matters of conscience:
NHS does not expect Chaplains to be compromised by a point of conscience but would expect such matters to be dealt with sensitively and pastorally and passed on to another person. The Chaplains role is to facilitate appropriate pastoral care but people must always go with their conscience.
Continuity of care:
Views were sought on how it is envisaged that the ‘generic chaplain' apply their role and provide continuity of care if they are of a different faith community
· patients spend considerably shorter periods of time in hospital today
· may be examples where a Chaplain may provide continuity of care by following a patient back into the community
· not everyone would want this or they may have a pastoral support network through their own faith community.
Concerns about the term ‘generic':
If the term ‘generic' is being applied to the appointment of chaplains might this lead employment criteria being generic rather than religious?
· there would be a continued expectation that Chaplains remain rooted in their own faith community
· term ‘generic' may suggest blandness but in practice a generic Chaplain would be expected to understand the needs of other faith groups
· be able to pray in appropriate language rather than replace someone from that patients faith community.
The NHS wants to see the process moving forward through:
· dialogue and consultation and does not want to dictate to faith communities
· rather to be bringing together all the strands of the different faith communities
· using the term generic is not about giving up the individuals own traditions though acknowledged there is the potential for misunderstandings at this point
· training would be at a post graduate level examining such issues, history and language of belief systems.
Defining ‘in good standing':
Clarification was sought on how the term 'in good standing' with own faith community is defined – might this be interpreted differently by different faiths or denominations?
Might someone removed from ‘ministerial certification' but remain a member of the faith community be able to continue as a Healthcare Chaplain?
· if a chaplain is disbarred by his/her own faith community Employment Law would become an issue
· would also raise the matter of ability to give or not give Holy Communion
· ordination does not provide evidence of ‘being of good standing' in itself, it requires being accredited by their own faith community.
Guidance to NHS for future appointments:
A partnership approach is sought by the NHS and there will be continuing conversations around these issues.
· The key issue is that training, experience and skills are the key criteria in the appointment of a Healthcare Chaplain.
· It was pointed out that Quakers are neither ordained nor theologically trained and this needs to be taken into account in discussions about the future.
· In a similar way an RC Priest may have received their theological training in Rome.
In summing up Chris Levison thanked everyone for the valuable discussions of the day; to ACTS for facilitating the events; and to Mary Buchanan for chairing the day.
· The issue of HDL is not an easy one to resolve but he is excited in the concept of Spiritual Care. The fact that some may find it more difficult to see their current role fitting into this, means that everyone needs to keep working together.
· It is a complex issue but today's discussion has identified issues of commonality and it is important to remain open to each other; ACTS can provide the space for that to happen.
· Multi faith aspects of Healthcare Chaplaincy are important and consultation and dialogue will continue between Chaplains, Denominations and the NHS
Forget-Me-Not Christmas Lunch
Over 100 people with dementia and carers
I was invited and happy to accept an invitation to the Forget-Me-Not, Christmas lunch held in the Burnett Arms Hotel in Banchory. I was welcomed as a guest but realised how many people I had come to know over such a short period of time. I moved around and spoke freely with people from each of the tables then was settled with Kate and Sandra from the singing group.
Watching people eat, sing and laugh together I observed a kind of spirituality similar to any church gathering. Initially this surprised me since I had not expected it and if I had been dropped in from outer space and did not know this was an independent charity supported by social work I would have thought it was a church/faith community. God was acknowledged in a grace, through my association with Chaplaincy then later in Christmas carols. The people I have come to know appear loved and secure in each other's company. Carers are able to relax and trust their loved ones to one another, so sharing the responsibility for a time.
More than one reference was made to Heather who facilitates various groups and seems available 24/7 for advice and support, even when one carer was away visiting a frail relative, Heather by phone kept in touch. Such actions are appreciated and have a positive effect on the volunteers who share her vision.
There is undoubtedly a sense of belonging and perhaps people have found a new identity through their dementia. I was moved at the open display of emotion and how this was normal and acceptable. Through traditional music a common heritage is explored and in sharing gifts the bonds of friendship are strengthened. At times I felt like an outsider, but those around me would have been shocked if I had admitted it. They went out of their way to be inclusive and very generous with their welcome. At other times I felt really involved with those I knew, held hands and shared little stories of the day and expectations to come. It was a rich experience to be alongside such caring and cared for people.
This made me reflect on the spiritual intervention and I wonder if the chaplaincy role is to recognise where ‘spirituality' already exists and through listening and questions to articulate people's hopes and fears. In a person-centred way it's about meeting people as a trained professional, comfortable with spiritual things and through a personality honed by experience of life issues. My role as a hospital chaplain seemed to make a difference.
At this time of year the concept of ‘Emmanuel' finds its expression in ‘incarnation' and it's like that when a chaplain comes into the orbit and world of the individual. A trusted companion who walks a part of the journey with them is offering spiritual support through readings and prayers.
With the Forget-Me-Not group it's not been about ‘doing' certain things, it's about ‘being' there, providing a presence. This has unlocked memories in people with dementia and carers alike helping them with the demands of the moment.
‘Could this have been given by anyone' I was asked. I'm not sure! I recognise the role played by nurses etc in spiritual support (standard 12:National Care Standards) but the specialist can pick up on (discern) language and actions that are often worthy of exploration. In terms of equality, health and well-being the project has given an opportunity for hospital chaplaincy to engage at a meaningful community level and fit with current policy for care in the community.
Royal Cornhill Hospital, Aberdeen
7 May 2008
NES Workshop for Chaplains
Salutation Hotel, Perth
presented on behalf of
Faith in Older People (FiOP)
Dr Harriet Mowat
Ms Mary Moffett
Registered Charity SC038225 Registered Company SC 322915
The Project aims to celebrate the lives of older people,
supporting the spiritual care of older people and their families
using a network provided by faith communities throughout Scotland.
We celebrate ageing and faith
Developing an understanding of spiritual care of older people
Encouraging people to celebrate growing older and
recognising and affirming their gifts and experience.
We offer support and training to pastoral carers
and ordained members on an ecumenical basis
and amongst people of other faiths.
within health and long term care institutions
to enhance the quality of life and wellbeing
by ensuring the inclusion of spiritual care for older people
NHS Education for Scotland (NES) is funding the day - if you would like to attend then please E-mail:
by 23 April 2008 .
Pathways through Grief
1-2 September 2008
First National Conference on Bereavement in a Healthcare Setting
On 1 and 2 September 2008, NHS Tayside plays host to the First National Conference on
Bereavement in a Healthcare Setting.
This conference will be opened by
Dr Colin Murray Parkes , formerly Honorary Consultant Psychiatrist to St Christopher's Hospice,
Sydenham and St Joseph's Hospice, Hackney
and will look at three major issues:
Bereavement as a healthcare condition - medical models of bereavement and what
guidance they give for intervention.
Professor Margaret Stroebe and Dr Henk Schut, University of Utrecht
Bereavement and its effect on healthcare staff - disenfranchised grief of healthcare
Dr Janice Genevro, US Department of Health and Human Services
Bereavement care within a healthcare setting - delivery of bereavement care for
relatives / carers following the death of a patient
Revd Dr Derek Fraser, Lead Chaplain at Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge.
More information and Registration on-line:
Information about PlainViews
PlainViews is an e-newsletter for chaplains and other spiritual care providers. We hope you will find PlainViews to be exactly that – views on various issues of interest presented in plain language.
Our articles are grouped into four areas: Professional Practice, Advocacy, Education & Research, and Spiritual Development.
PlainViews also features a section called TalkBack. We envision this as an opportunity for you to make your views known on current and sometimes controversial topics. We would like to hear what you think about end-of-life decisions, specialization as opposed to training in general chaplaincy, the increasing de-personalization of healthcare, government regulation and its affect on chaplaincy, etc. TalkBack is also an opportunity for you to comment on articles in previous issues.
PlainViews began because, as chaplaincy increasingly becomes a profession with its own set of standards and its own expectations, a need was perceived for chaplains and other spiritual care providers to be able to “talk” with each other about best practices in our profession, and those common bonds we share that make us stronger. This need was perceived by The HealthCare Chaplaincy, an organization in New York City that trains and hires chaplains to serve in various healthcare settings, and has established an Education and Research center working on ways to quantify what chaplains do and how we do it.
We hope that you will find PlainViews informative, interesting, provocative, and challenging. We look forward to hearing from you, whether in the form of an article you are submitting, an idea or concern you would like to see discussed by our profession, or a commentary for TalkBack. We welcome your views and input as we work together in enriching the profession of chaplaincy.
The Rev Martha R. Jacobs
You can find this (and previous) editions of SACH Soundings in full colour
on the SACH Website:
If you would like to receive the colour version of SACH Soundings by E-mail in Acrobat PDF Format, send your E-mail address to: Fred.Coutts@sach.org.uk
Send news, articles, pictures, stories and ideas s soon as possible to:
Rev Fred Coutts
Aberdeen Royal Infirmary
Tel: 01224 553166