What is it about?

A student nurse thought chaplains only saw religious patients. I realised this was something I should address. I developed an education package to facilitate student learning, reflecting on what makes us human, what are spiritual needs (to be loved, valued, understood, connected etc.) and what can happen when these needs are not met. The package was delivered and developed based on feedback. It also created a safe space for students to explore spiritual care, the role of the chaplain, and support each other.

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Why is it important?

Spiritual care is the foundation of person-centred care, ensuring we are listening to and responding to the needs of the person without judging or assuming. Healthcare chaplains, although not part of the ward, unit or department, can offer that advocacy, non-judgemental, listening presence for both patients and staff. Creating a safe space for students on placement to ask questions can allow them to open up about their experiences while reflecting what spiritual care means to them, in their own words and ideas. This way they are better able to explain spiritual care to others. And they are also able to discuss potential referrals with their mentor.


As a newly qualified practitioner a few years ago, speaking to a student nurse about their placement and referrals to the chaplain, I was taken aback to hear a them say "we have nobody religious on the ward". That moment when "someone needs to do something about that... wait, me?!!", you realise you are not a student any more. I wanted students to have a chance to talk about spiritual care on placement, bringing all professions and stages together, to explore. Also, to understand the role of the chaplain. Many sessions ended up with students supporting each other too.

Fiona Jack

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Creating an interprofessional education package on patients’ spiritual needs, British Journal of Nursing, July 2022, Mark Allen Group, DOI: 10.12968/bjon.2022.31.14.748.
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