Demands on Hospital-based Chaplains

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  • Title: Demands on Hospital-based Chaplains: An Observational Study
  • Author(s): Harold Griffin, Alla Adams , Dana Foster
  • Publisher: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Collection: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Series: Religion in Society
  • Journal Title: The International Journal of Religion and Spirituality in Society
  • Keywords: Healthcare Chaplaincy, Pastoral Responses; Demands on Chaplains; Visitation Patterns; Service Barriers
  • Volume: 9
  • Issue: 3
  • Year: 2019
  • ISSN: 2154-8633 (Print)
  • ISSN: 2154-8641 (Online)
  • DOI:
  • Citation: Griffin, Harold, Alla Adams, and Dana Foster. 2019. "Demands on Hospital-based Chaplains: An Observational Study." The International Journal of Religion and Spirituality in Society 9 (3): 63-74. doi:10.18848/2154-8633/CGP/v09i03/63-74.
  • Extent: 12 pages


This study examined the demands on a hospital-based chaplaincy department; the time spent meeting those demands; and the barriers they experienced. It was conducted over a period of four days with a team of trained data collectors who gathered quantitative and qualitative data associated with nine core processes. While the results revealed a number of notable findings, some of which were consistent with previously published studies, there were a number of unique discoveries. For example, despite concealing their feelings from the public, many of the chaplains expressed feeling devalued and underappreciated based on a perceived disregard for their spiritual contributions to the care of patients, their families and friends, and staff members. This study benefits healthcare chaplaincy in that it draws attention to issues that can seriously impede quality of service and decrease operational efficiency. Opportunities for future research are also presented.