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Title: Voicing the spiritual : a dynamic exploration and analysis of the role of the chaplain in English hospices
Author: Thomas, Jacqueline Mary
ISNI:       0000 0004 5991 3322
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: St Mary's University, Twickenham
Date of Award: 2016
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Since Cicely Saunders founded the first of the modern hospices in 1967 the body of literature on spirituality and spiritual care in healthcare has grown. At the same time the role of Christianity as the dominant culture has declined and the role of the chaplain has changed. Spirituality is no longer assumed to be Christian but has an independent existence which has resulted in questions as to where and to whom spiritual care belongs. Despite finding that they have to explain, if not justify, their role and their salary hospice chaplains have largely failed to engage in research and written but a few articles. Therefore my initial research question asked: how do hospice chaplains understand spirituality and spiritual care? However, as a retired hospice chaplain, reflection on my own experience of the patient-focus, which leaves little time for anything else, led me to recognize that the question is too focused. Furthermore ministerial integrity, which results in a reticence to speak about the work and which struggles to accommodate the production of evidence to justify the role suggests that a broader question on the nature of the hospice chaplain's role is necessary to elicit the understanding of spiritual care. Therefore this study empowers hospice chaplains to speak openly about their work. However, as there was no data available on hospice chaplains it was necessary to carry out the first ever Profile Survey of the 162 members of the Association of Hospice & Palliative Care Chaplains. The survey was carried out online and included a question on willingness to be interviewed. From the 108 chaplains who responded twenty-five chaplains were selected, reflecting the profile, and interviewed using a semi-structured format. The findings of both the Profile Survey and the interviews are presented. From the interview data two connected themes, prophet and presence, emerged and are examined in detail. Using the work of Walter Brueggemann the prophetic aspect of the chaplain's person and work is explored, finding common ground in the concept of presence. Henri Nouwen's work provides the basis for exploring the formation of presence, revealing the importance of listening and leading to further exploration, through the writing of Jean-Pierre de Caussade, of the relevance of kenosis. In the process of analysis a number of shifting boundaries, related to the chaplain and the future of hospice care, were revealed. These are examined before presenting my conclusions and recommendations, ending with a picture of the hospice chaplain of the future.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available