• Derek Brown NHS Highland



Intensive Care Unit, hospital staff, chaplain, supervision, spiritual needs


In this article we learn how the method of data collection in a study of chaplaincy support of staff in ITU provides a model for such support. We also learn how difficult it is for staff to free themselves up for group discussion. Staff in an ITU are usually aware of spiritual aspects of their work but overwhelmed by the technological imperatives. Without careful introduction families may see the chaplain as a harbinger of doom in an already highly emotional setting. Staff do not always have the time to do the careful introductions. When the chaplain meets with the staff to help them debrief and creates space and time for them to talk about their work this in turn helps them better support patients and families, enhancing the opportunity for those in their care to access the chaplain if they wish.

Author Biography

Derek Brown, NHS Highland

Derek Brown is the Lead Chaplain of NHS Highland and is based at Raigmore Hospital, Inverness IV2 3UJ


ANGELUCCI P 1999 Spirituality and the use of an intensive care unit on-staff/on-site chaplain Critical Care Nurse 19 (4) 62-6

ASHWORTH P 1990 Hospital chaplains - a neglected resource? Intensive Care Nursing. 6(4) 165-6

CURTIS JR PATRICK DL SHANNON SE TREECE PD ENGELBERG RA RUBENFELD GD 2001 The family conference as a focus to improve communication about end-of-life care in the intensive care unit: opportunities for improvement. Critical Care Medicine, Feb; 29 (2): Suppl: N26-33

ELPEM E COVERT B & KLEINPELL R 2005 Moral Distress of staff nurses in a medical intensive care unit American Journal of Critical Care

FISCHER F 2009) Spirituality – what are we talking about? European Network of Research on Religion, Spirituality and Health. 4 (1)

FRISCH N 2003 Standards of holistic nursing practice as guidelines for quality undergraduate nursing curricula Journal of Professional Nursing 19 (6) 382-386

GILLMAN J GABLE-RODRIGUEZ J, SUTHERLAND M and WHITACRE JH 1996 Pastoral care in a critical care setting. Journal of Advanced Nursing 16 920-928

LANGLEY P, FONESCA J & IPHOFEN R 2006 Psychoneuroimmunology and health from a nursing perspective. British Journal of Nursing 15(20) 11261129

MARIE CURIE 2006, Spiritual and Religious Care Competencies for Specialist Palliative Care.

MOWAT H 2008 The potential for efficacy of healthcare chaplaincy and spiritual care provision in the NHS (UK): a scoping review of recent research Yorkshire and the Humber SHA /Mowat Research Ltd.

MOWAT H & SWINTON J 2005 What do chaplains do? A study of the role of healthcare chaplains in the NHS. Funded by the Scottish Government Health Quality Division.

MOWAT H 2007 Gerontological chaplaincy: the spiritual needs of older people and staff who work with them. Scottish Journal of Healthcare Chaplaincy 10 (1)

NUSSBAUM GB 2003 Spirituality in Critical Care: Patient Comfort and Satisfaction. Critical Care Nursing Quarterly Volume 26(3) 214-220

ROBSON C (2002) Real World Research Sage Publications

RUKHOLM E, BAILEY P, COUTUWAKULCZYK G & BAILEY WB. 1991 Needs and anxiety levels in relatives of intensive care unit patients. Journal of Advanced Nursing 16 (8) 920-8

SCHUMANN RR 1999 unpublished doctoral dissertation: 131,

SHERWOOD GD 2000 The power of the nurseclient encounters: interpreting spiritual themes. Journal of Holistic Nursing 18(2):159-75

WAGNER JT & HIDGON TL 1996 Spiritual issues and bioethics in the intensive care unit: the role of the chaplain Critical Care Clinics 12(1) 15-27



How to Cite

Brown, D. (2013). THE SPIRITUAL CARE OF STAFF IN AN ITU. Health and Social Care Chaplaincy, 12-16.