Are the Providers of Spiritual Care in your Hospital Capable? Narrative Review of Professional Accountability in Australia

Authors

  • Kate Eve Australian National University
  • Christine Phillips Australian National University

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.1558/hscc.37786

Keywords:

spiritual care, education, workforce, capability, governance, standards, chaplaincy

Abstract

Although spiritual care practitioners, also variously known as pastoral care workers or chaplains, have had a foundational presence in most Australian hospitals, the discipline has been poorly regulated and does not have national standards of care. This leads to inconsistencies in the way hospital administrators are able to scrutinize the credentials, supervision processes and capability of the Spiritual Care workforce. This paper is a narrative review of the systems ensuring safe practice for the Spiritual Care workforce, focusing on the relationships between professional associations, clinical workforce capability and education in this field of practice in Australia. Substantial gaps and inconsistencies are revealed in the education and training of clinical practitioners, findings which align with variability of practitioner capability and which provide no assurance of quality or accountability. On the basis of these findings, recommendations are provided for relevant stakeholders with a view to improving safety and quality of care consistent with other health care professions and to assure the Australian public that accountability is core to the services provided in their name and under their jurisdiction.

Author Biographies

Kate Eve, Australian National University

Kate Eve is undertaking a Master of Culture, Health & Medicine degree at The Australian National University and a Graduate Certificate of Spirituality at Whitley College, University of Divinity. She is an active Spiritual Director, Counsellor, and a Tutor in Spiritual and Pastoral Care; was Manager of Spiritual Care, Eastern Health, Victoria, from October 2014 to March 2018; a Spiritual Care Australia Director (2012–18) and their President/Chair (2014–17).

 

Christine Phillips, Australian National University

Christine Phillips is Associate Professor, Social Foundations of Medicine at The Australian National University College of Health and Medicine. Areas of expertise: Primary Health Care; Public Health and Health Services. Her research interests are Primary health care systems; Refugee health and the health of vulnerable persons; Interprofessional working in health settings.

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Published

2020-02-06

How to Cite

Eve, K., & Phillips, C. (2020). Are the Providers of Spiritual Care in your Hospital Capable? Narrative Review of Professional Accountability in Australia. Health and Social Care Chaplaincy, 7(2), 241-253. https://doi.org/10.1558/hscc.37786

Issue

Section

Research