Rawlings School of Divinity


Master of Divinity (MDiv)


Harold D. Bryant


Healthcare Chaplaincy, Spiritual Care, Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, JCAHO, Hospital Ministry, Chaplain, Professional Chaplain, Chaplain Training, CPE, Clinical Pastoral Education, Spiritual Care Provider, Spiritual Care Training, Volunteer Chaplain


Christianity | Educational Methods


For the past 50 years, many studies have examined the effects of Spiritual Care in medical environments. Though these studies have helped support the legitimacy and necessity for the presence of spiritual care in medicine, a lack of attention has been given to the level of professionalism of those who have been granted permission to administer care. The objective of my thesis is to determine the following: 1) if medical organizations that utilize volunteer-only spiritual care programs for their patients, and families, provide the same level of care as ones staffed by trained professionals, 2) if volunteer-only chaplaincy programs generate liability risks in areas of religious freedom, including practice and establishment and 3) if differences can be found in patient/staff satisfaction levels when volunteer chaplains are utilized instead of professional chaplains. Data for this study was drawn from previous academic-level research studies performed in areas of spiritual care, needs in medical environments, chaplain-clinician relations, professional chaplaincy educational standards, healthcare organizational expectations of spiritual care administration, and the legality of spiritual care administration in medical environments.