What Is the Distinctiveness of Paediatric Chaplaincy?

Findings from a Systematic Review of the Literature


  • Paul Nash Birmingham Children's Hospital
  • Wilfred McSherry Staffordshire University, University Hospitals of North Midlands, UK; VID Specialized University, Bergen, Norway




paediatric, systematic literature review, chaplaincy, hospital


A systematic review of the literature was undertaken to identify the distinctiveness of paediatric chaplaincy. Four representative databases were searched using key words and Boolean searches: Proquest Nursing and Allied Health Source, Psychinfo, Cumulative Index of Allied Health Literature (CINAHL) and American Theological Library Association (ATLA). Inclusion and exclusion criteria were applied to identify pertinent literature. The search resulted in the identification of 96 items. These were retrieved and reviewed. A narrative approach to thematic analysis was adopted. This lead to the creation of four broad themes; relating to and supporting families including those receiving palliative, end of life and bereavement care; supporting children including spiritual and religious care; working as a part of multidisciplinary/ professional team; staff support and self-care. The findings suggest there is a notable lack of research undertaken by paediatric chaplains. Suggestions for education, practice and further research are offered.

Author Biographies

Paul Nash, Birmingham Children's Hospital

Paul Nash is the Senior Chaplain at Birmingham Children’s Hospital, Steelhouse Lane Birmingham, United Kingdom.

Wilfred McSherry, Staffordshire University, University Hospitals of North Midlands, UK; VID Specialized University, Bergen, Norway

Wilfred McSherry is Professor of Nursing, School of Health and Social Care, Staffordshire University/ e University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust, UK; and part-time Professor, Vitenskapelig International, Diaconal (VID) Specialized University (Haraldsplass Campus), Bergen, Norway.


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How to Cite

Nash, P., & McSherry, W. (2017). What Is the Distinctiveness of Paediatric Chaplaincy? Findings from a Systematic Review of the Literature. Health and Social Care Chaplaincy, 5(1), 16–32. https://doi.org/10.1558/hscc.31816

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