Latest Issue: Vol 5, No 2 (2017): Special Issue: Chaplain Case Study Research RSS2 logo

Health and Social Care Chaplaincy

Editor in Chief
Meg Burton, RDaSH NHS Foundation Trust, UK

Lindsay B. Carey, La Trobe University, Australia
Duncan MacLaren, NHS Tayside, NHS Lothian, UK
Daniel Nuzum, University College Cork, Ireland
Chris Swift, Chaplaincy for Methodist Homes, United Kingdom

Book Review Editor
Mark Newitt
Send Books for Review to: HSCC/Reviews
Chaplaincy Department
Royal Hallamshire Hospital
Glossop Road
S10 2JF
United Kingdom

Health and Social Care Chaplaincy is a peer-reviewed, international journal that assists health and social care chaplains to explore the art and science of spiritual care within a variety of contexts. The journal was founded in 2013 through the merger of the Journal of Health Care Chaplaincy (issn:1748-801X) and the Scottish Journal of Healthcare Chaplaincy (issn:1463-9920) . It continues to be the official journal of the College of Health Care Chaplains and members of the society receive the journal as part of their annual membership. For more details on membership subscriptions, please click on the 'members' button at the top of this page. Back issues of both previous journals are being loaded onto this website (see Archives) and online access to these back issues is included in all institutional subscriptions.

Health and Social Care Chaplaincy is a multidisciplinary forum for the discussion of a range of issues related to the delivery of spiritual care across various settings: acute, paediatric, mental health, palliative care and community. It encourages a creative collaboration and interface between health and social care practitioners in the UK and internationally and consolidates different traditions of discourse and communication research in its commitment to an understanding of psychosocial, cultural and ethical aspects of healthcare in contemporary societies. It is responsive to both ecumenical and interfaith agendas as well as those from a humanist perspective.

The journal focuses on ensuring that chaplains have the essential knowledge, skills and character required to perform chaplaincy services in a range of health and social care contexts. It fosters ethical practice; enhanced discourse and communication skills; philosophical and critical understanding; proficiency in assessment, intervention and evaluation; research literacy; team working and awareness of the contribution of other disciplines in the delivery of health and social care. It enables chaplains to offer staff support, enhance organisational spirituality and contribute to health and wellbeing in their communities.

The journal strives to bring the best practitioners and academics in the field into critical dialogue and also sets aside a place to encourage first time authors and reflective practitioners.

The editors are supported by an international, interdisciplinary advisory board.

From the SCOPUS Review of the journal (October 2017): It is good to see the level of citations in Scopus journals which demonstrates the value placed on the scholarly output of the journal and all Editors are to be commended on this development . The journal offers content that is of value to all health and social care professionals and contexts and it is noted as an international journal with an international Editorial Board.

Potential contributors should review the Guidelines for Submission on the For Authors page. Submissions should be made online.

Indexing and Abstracting

Publication and Frequency: 2 issues per volume year, May and November
ISSN 2051-5553 (print)
ISSN 2051-5561 (online)


Send Books for Review to: HSCC/Reviews
Chaplaincy Department
Royal Hallamshire Hospital
Glossop Road
S10 2JF
United Kingdom

Most Recent Articles


Why the Delivery of Religious and Spiritual Support to People of Any Faith and None is Important

The aim of the research was to observe and scrutinize how chaplains go about facilitating a sacred space, when requested, in the last days and hours of life. The research sought to identify the context in which chaplains are compelled to facilitate religious and spiritual rituals and what perspectives participants have of chaplains when creating a sacred space within non-orthodox, clinical spaces; how and why it is important for chaplains to deliver religious and spiritual support. It also sought to understand the added value of chaplaincy in relation to high quality patient care in relation to the 6 C’s born out of the Francis Report.
The research used a cross sectional design study with purposive sampling and carried out ten one-to-one interviews with hospital staff who had experienced chaplaincy. They were selected from different areas of the hospital. Using a thematic analysis process to identify emerging themes, the research was able to achieve an in-depth understanding of the contributions made by chaplains to patient and family experience at the point of dying and death. As well as the data acquired from the interviews, the research was also able to use the participant observations of the researcher, who is a chaplain. The research produced good data, generating diverse and different insights. The conclusion was that death is perceived as a significant rite of passage which requires marking, subject to a variety of expectations, and that those best placed to deliver this service are chaplains, who are perceived as practitioners in this eld. An attempt has been made, in the conclusions and recommendations, to align the gifts and experience of chaplaincy to demonstrate that they consistently deliver against the recommendations for the 6C’s framework.
Posted: 2017-02-20More...

End of Life Care: What is Important for Me and for Us. A Review of Recent UK Strategy and Policy Documents and their Implications for Chaplains

This article reviews some recent UK strategy and policy documents about building a “national choice offer” to enable end of life care to be delivered at home, and encouraging the formation of supportive communities. Notably, with the implicit assumption that planned choice is sufficient for end of life care, the contribution of healthcare chaplaincy is neglected. The article explores the implications for healthcare chaplains, how chaplains can help to build up compassionate communities, and some practical aspects of community support for those of faith and no faith through initiatives for parish support.
Posted: 2017-02-11More...

Nursing Staff’s Perception of Spiritual Care on Haematology, Oncology and Elderly Care Wards

A mixed quantitative/qualitative study using two questionnaires was undertaken, to explore nurses’ attitudes to and their perceptions of the concepts of spirituality and spiritual care and to determine whether they believed they could meet patients’ needs in this field. Following ethical approval, the questionnaires were distributed to 68 nurses on the Haematology, Oncology and Elderly Care wards. Analyses included descriptive statistics and Cronbach’s alpha, and content analysis of open text.
A response rate of 52.9% was obtained. Nurses indicated a broad understanding of spirituality, not only one related to religious beliefs and practices. The majority (89.9%) believed that patients should receive spiritual support as part of their holistic care, and 55.6% reported that they could o er this. Content analysis identified key themes relating to spiritual care and to spirituality. A need for further training in spiritual care was recorded by 58.3% of respondents. Further studies concentrating on nurses treating patients with a poor prognosis would be helpful.
Posted: 2017-02-08More...

Hospice Volunteers’ Spiritual Care Training: A Discussion of Core Competencies and Course Aims

AIM: A Germany-wide survey confirmed that there is a need for a spiritual care curriculum to o er assistance in arranging the spiritual care training for hospice volunteers. This article defines the aims of the course and its central themes in teaching spirituality to hospice volunteers. METHODS: An expert group interview was designed to define the core competencies and course aims. The thematic content analysis was applied to extract themes from the transcript and paraphrased into codes, which were grouped into thematically coherent categories. RESULTS: Spiritual care training for volunteers should cover the following themes and practical assignments: (1) definition of central concepts of spirituality and spiritual care; (2) meaning of belief systems; (3) spiritual needs and resources; (4) personal manner and ability to relate meaningfully; (5) referral to appropriate pastoral care/chaplains/spiritual advisors; (6) rituals and creativity in spiritual care; (7) voicing and acknowledging own spirituality; (8) facing and initiating spiritual encounters. Course aims were identified concerning knowledge, skills, and attitude. CONCLUSION: The findings frame the development of a spiritual care curriculum for hospice volunteers.
Posted: 2017-01-30More...

Completing the Theory Practice Circle

Posted: 2017-01-28More...

Most Viewed Articles


“What? So What? Now What?” Applying Borton and Rolfe’s Models of Reflexive Practice in Healthcare Contexts

Healthcare chaplains as healthcare professionals are expected to use reflective practice to develop their work. This article describes how reflexive practice is critical to practitioners doing this. It outlines how Terry Borton’s process of reflection arose out of a secondary school context; and contends that his simple three step model is capable of facilitating profound insights in healthcare too. The way in which Gary Rolfe expands Borton’s model is explained, showing how he was seeking to make it more comprehensive and credible. Finally, a way of combining Borton and Rolfe’s models is described and pictured. It is argued that it is both structured and flexible enough to fit the experiences, learning needs and time available to healthcare practitioners.
Posted: 2016-05-29More...

A Buddhist perspective on Health and Spirituality

This article gives a brief overview of some of the basic tenets of Buddhism. Its particular emphasis is upon Buddhist expressions of spirituality, as they are likely to be met with in a healthcare setting. Included are guidelines on diet, attitudes to medicine, and beliefs and traditions around death and dying.
Posted: 2013-04-08More...

Re-evaluating Chaplaincy: To Be, or Not…

Healthcare is a dynamic and evolving culture within which chaplaincy has continually adapted to maintain professional relevance and respect. Over time, forms of chaplaincy have emerged as responses to changes in culture: multi-faith chaplaincy and the subtle shift in focus from religious care to spiritual care being two examples. However, adaptation impacts on the character of chaplaincy and questions its core values. Outcome Oriented Chaplaincy (OOC) is a response to the “paradigm shift” in healthcare chaplaincy that aims to integrate assessment, intervention, outcome evaluation and care planning into the chaplain’s role. OOC seems perfectly adapted to the culture of contemporary market-driven healthcare; however, the values underwriting this culture are being questioned, and their impact on professional values challenged. This paper accepts OOC has much to offer chaplaincy, but calls for a critical engagement with the model, arguing that the demand to remain relevant to contemporary healthcare culture should not be at the expense of person-centred, person-focused values of compassion, dignity and respect embodied within the presence model of spiritual care.
Posted: 2013-09-25More...

Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE): A Reflection

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.
Posted: 2013-05-15More...

Recognizing and Meeting the Spiritual Needs of Hospital Inpatients

The aim of this project is to improve understanding of the spiritual needs of inpatients and to establish how well these are recognized and met. Interviews were carried out with 13 patients, who had seen a chaplain, to ascertain their spiritual needs. Nursing staff were interviewed about their perception of patients’ spiritual needs, and the referring chaplain’s written account of the intervention was obtained. The study examined and found that there was variable agreement between patients’ and nurses’ ratings of spiritual needs, which may suggest nurses do not always recognize the need for specialist spiritual care referral. Conversely there was substantial agreement between patient and chaplain reported outcomes of chaplaincy intervention (κ=0.77; 95% CI, 0.495 – 1.047), suggesting that chaplains met personally relevant spiritual needs. The results of this research suggest that spiritual needs are important to patients, regardless of religious affiliation, and that chaplains meet these needs. However, staff are not necessarily good at recognizing the need for specialist referral.
Posted: 2013-09-25More...


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