What Do Chaplains Do Now?

The Continuous Process of Adaptation


  • Jim Simpson Lead Chaplain for Mental Health, NHS Grampian
  • Margery Collin Head of Spiritual Care, NHS Forth Valley
  • Christian Okeke Part time healthcare chaplain NHS Lanarkshire




Chaplaincy, spiritual and religious care, NHS Scotland, role, identity, perceptions, relationship


Changes in the nature and language of chaplaincy in Scotland in the last decade have inevitably brought with it many challenges as chaplains endeavour to come to terms with new ways of working, increased responsibility and accountability and weightier expectations laid upon them. This article reports the findings of a thematic research project with data drawn from structured interviews with fifteen practising healthcare chaplains working in a variety of settings across Scotland. The project, a sequel to an earlier research study by Harriet Mowat and John Swinton in 2006, was carried out by a group of practising chaplains as a means of developing research skills and to provide further exploration into the continually changing role of chaplaincy in Scotland. The key findings are presented according to the order of the six interview questions, with areas of further research work highlighted at the end.

Author Biographies

Jim Simpson, Lead Chaplain for Mental Health, NHS Grampian

Jim Simpson is the Lead Chaplain for Mental Health in NHS Grampian. His background is in ordained ministry, having studied at the Scottish Baptist College. He also has a degree from the Open University and University of Aberdeen, a Diploma in person-centred counselling and is a member of the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy.

Margery Collin, Head of Spiritual Care, NHS Forth Valley

Margery Collin is Head of Spiritual Care for NHS Forth Valley, having been a healthcare chaplain for 14 years in acute, community and hospice settings. She has a background in education, valuing the place of training, study and research in health and social care. Her teaching on spiritual care has taken her as far afield as Shenyang in China. She has a particular interest in palliative care and has published research findings on the place of spiritual care at the end of life. She provides a Community Chaplaincy Listening service at Alva Medical Centre and is currently involved in the collection of a national evidence base for this strand of work. An accredited facilitator of Values Based Reflective Practice, she is keen to promote this proven method of reflection in all disciplines.

Christian Okeke, Part time healthcare chaplain NHS Lanarkshire

Revd Christian Okeke is an Anglican priest and a counsellor. He is a part-time rector of an Episcopal church in Glasgow, and a part-time healthcare Chaplain in NHS Lanarkshire, Scotland. He is also currently studying for a doctorate in Practical Theology through the University of Glasgow.


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How to Cite

Simpson, J., Collin, M., & Okeke, C. (2015). What Do Chaplains Do Now? The Continuous Process of Adaptation. Health and Social Care Chaplaincy, 2(2), 213–234. https://doi.org/10.1558/hscc.v2i2.20850