The Locum Life in Spiritual Health Care – Is It for Me? Is It for You?

A Brief Personal Reflection


  • Gail Harrison Locum Spiritual Carer, Melbourne



spiritual care, health care


This article is a brief consideration from an individual perspective about locum spiritual care practice gained from experience working in psychiatric and geriatric units, emergency departments and neurological disease wards. The article addresses questions such as, “What is it like being a locum?” “What are some of the issues for the locum practitioner, the organization, the field of spiritual care?” Locum work in the spiritual care field is not new, but the ongoing professional development of spiritual care as a recognized professional discipline requires it to be carefully examined in the light of best practice spiritual care in the healthcare sector. A version of this personal reflection was originally presented at the Spiritual Care Australia national conference, “Inspiration in Diversity: The Shifting Sands of Spiritual Care” (SCA, Melbourne 2016).

Author Biography

Gail Harrison, Locum Spiritual Carer, Melbourne

Gail Harrison is a spiritual care practitioner based in Carlton, Melbourne, Australia, who has provided locum spiritual/pastoral care services in health care facilities across several states within Australia. She has worked within large acute hospital settings, particularly in psychiatric units, geriatric units and emergency departments plus progressive neurological disease wards. Her locum case work with “not-for-profit” organizations has mostly been with clients experiencing socio-economic health issues, including mental health co-morbidity, dual diagnosis, depression, anxiety and psychosis.


Oxford Dictionary (2016) “Locum”. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Spiritual Care Australia (2016) “Inspiration in Diversity: The Shifting Sands of Spiritual Care”.

SCA Conference Paper Review Committee (2016) Personal correspondence. Spiritual Care Australia Conference “Inspiration in Diversity: The Shifting Sands of Spiritual Care”, Melbourne, May 1–4.

Wikipedia (2016) “Locum”. San Francisco, CA: Wikimedia Foundation Incorporated.



How to Cite

Harrison, G. (2017). The Locum Life in Spiritual Health Care – Is It for Me? Is It for You? A Brief Personal Reflection. Health and Social Care Chaplaincy, 5(1), 117–122.

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