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Creating an interprofessional education package on patients’ spiritual needs

21 July 2022



This article outlines the experiences of a Scottish healthcare chaplain. After a student nurse expressed a dated view of chaplains, I realised it was my responsibility to refresh it. After reflection I planned, developed and implemented an interprofessional education session for nursing, midwifery and allied health professional (NMAHP) students on clinical placement. I had to develop awareness of learning theories, preferences and styles, and explore different methods of delivery. Since NMAHP students can be undergraduate, postgraduate, school leavers or career changers, the session is multi-generational and interprofessional. Attendee feedback was used to review the learning session. This package was developed and shared with my team but may be of value to other healthcare chaplains or spiritual care educators to introduce spiritual care to NMAHP students on clinical placement. It will also be a useful resource for nurses, midwives and allied health professionals to expand their understanding of the role.

As a healthcare chaplain completing a master of science degree in advanced healthcare practice, I (the first author) undertook an elective course in ‘Education for professional practice’ led by the second author, who contributed to preparing this article. This involved designing, delivering and reflecting on an education session relevant to my practice, and the subsequent review of the session based on learner feedback. This allowed me to share the education package with others in my team at work, while learning more of the education theory involved in creating learning spaces during clinical placements.

My role includes building relationships with the staff and students on the wards to support them when needed. While discussing their placement with a student nurse, I ended by indicating they could always refer patients that they thought might need to speak to a healthcare chaplain. The student replied: ‘We have nobody religious on the ward!’. I did not reply immediately, but when reflecting on this I realised, despite being a newly qualified practitioner myself, it was my role to challenge this view. Healthcare chaplains are the people who should be promoting their role and the work they do. I remembered that the previous year, when I was a student chaplain, the first time I met other students on placement was when I provided a spiritual care learning session, and it felt wrong somehow. I realised I wanted to create a space for students of all disciplines to come together on placement, to share experiences and support each other, and decided to do something about it.

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