Making sense of

making sense of


The traditional model of Hospital Chaplaincy has been the local vicar going from bed to bed offering pastoral care to the sick and dying. In our multi-faith/no faith society the challenge is to continue to offer a presence without the presumption that people will be pleased to see us!

Increasingly this is done through specific referrals either from the patient, their relatives or members of staff. The challenge is to re-educate people to see the spiritual healthcare team as a service for all who are seeking to make sense of their experiences regardless of whether they see themselves as religious or not.

In my capacity as chaplain I have facilitated a new dimension to caring for staff dealing with the day to day stress experienced in the healthcare environment. This has come in the form of Schwartz Centre RoundsĀ® which are monthly meetings for staff from all disciplines within the hospital. They explore the human cost of caring through sharing the emotional and spiritual impact on the individual. A panel of three or four staff from different disciplines present a patient story and then the forum is opened up for discussion, not in a problem solving mode, but acknowledging their own struggles/observations in the area raised by the case study.

The feedback from participants overwhelmingly affirms the positive impact this initiative has had on care of patients.

Steve Sankey
Hospital chaplain