Global Under Menu
Home > Professional Standards > Standards of Practice

Standards of Practice






Why Standards of Practice?

Although chaplains had established  Common  Standards for certification and a Common Code of Ethics, they lacked Standards of Practice. There had been much conversation about Standards of Practice for chaplains but little formal progress. Others with whom chaplains serve and communicate (e.g., doctors, nurses, and those from other disciplines in health care settings) have standards of practice. Having standards of practice now helps chaplains communicate with others about chaplaincy and assists chaplains in discussions with other chaplains.

We believe that these standards of practice are a valuable addition to the field, helping to ensure a consistently high clinical practice for our profession.

[Back to Top]





Standards of Practice for Professional Chaplains in Acute Care

In order to move professional chaplaincy toward Standards of Practice, the Association of Professional Chaplains’ Quality in Chaplaincy Care Committee brought together leaders in health care chaplaincy to work toward consensus about such standards. The first work group focused upon: 
  • Minimal but essential standards of practice
  • Standards for board certified chaplains in acute care settings
Models in social work and nursing, as well as models in Australian and Canadian chaplaincy, informed this work and provided catalysts for identifying and briefly explicating standards of practice within health care chaplaincy in acute care settings. The primary goal of the work group was to reach consensus about what standards of practice are most important at this time and to set those standards in front of the profession for further discussion.

The first work group created Standards of Practice for Professional Chaplains in Acute Care and presented it to the broader health care chaplaincy community for response and dialogue.

Participants in the Standards of Practice Acute Care Work Group included health care chaplains from APC, Association for Clinical Pastoral Education and National Association of Catholic Chaplains. Co-chairs were Stephen King and Jon Overvold. Work group members were George Fitchett, Daniel Grossoehme, George Handzo, Martha Jacobs, David Johnson, Bob Kidd, Mark LaRocca-Pitts, Ted Lindquist, Jane Mather, Kimberly Murman, Floyd O'Bryan, Don Patterson, Brent Peery and Sue Wintz.

The initial Standards of Practice for Professional Chaplains in Acute Care were published on this website and in PlainViews in February 2009 with an invitation for responses.

Thanks to the involvement of chaplains from various places and settings across the world, many comments and suggestions were received, which the work group has taken seriously and has incorporated.

The edited standards of practice were published in Chaplaincy Today, fall 2009 . This special issue includes reviews from chaplains and national leaders from other health care disciplines.

Your continued participation and feedback are welcome, as the Standards of Practice for Professional Chaplains in Acute Care are not static but will be adjusted as the profession moves forward.

[Back  to Top]
 



Standards of Practice for Professional Chaplains in Long-term Care

With the Standards of Practice for Professional Chaplain in Acute Care Settings developed, the goal was to develop standards for professional chaplains in long-term care settings. The acute care setting model informed this work and provided the catalyst for identifying and briefly explicating standards of practice for chaplaincy care in long-term care settings.

In order to move professional chaplaincy toward Standards of Practice for Long-term Care, the Association of Professional Chaplains’ Commission on Quality in Pastoral Services brought together several leaders in chaplaincy care in long-term care settings to work toward consensus about such standards. These standards apply to a particular subset of chaplains: chaplains in long-term care settings. The work group focused upon:

  • Minimal but essential standards of practice
  • Standards for board certified chaplains in long-term care settings
This   Standards of Practice for Professional Chaplains in Long-term Care document is a fluid document that will change as health care chaplaincy continues to mature and as situations change.

The edited standards of practice were published in Chaplaincy Today, Vol. 27 No. 2, Autumn/Winter 2011. This special issue includes reviews from chaplains and national leaders from other health care disciplines.

Initial feedback was integrated into the standards, which were presented to the APC board for affirmation in 2012. The standards were then forwarded to the boards of our organizational partners with the request that they join us in affirming and supporting them.

Your participation and feedback are welcome, as the standards of practice are not static but will be adjusted as the profession moves forward.

Chaplains and others can are invited to share feedback and experiences by e-mail at sop@professionalchaplains.org.

The Standards of Practice for Professional Chaplains in Long-term Care was a project of the Quality in Chaplaincy Care Committee of the Association of Professional Chaplains (APC), which is responsible for the work and to which this work group is accountable. This work group is largely composed of board certified chaplains from APC but also includes those with (non-representative) ties to the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education (ACPE), and the National Association of Jewish Chaplains (NAJC). Thus, although brought together by an APC commission, this work group sought to contribute to the wider profession of chaplaincy rather than any particular organization. Participants in the work group included Leonard Blank, Heather Bumstead, Dale Carr, Scott Cartwright, Peter Yuichi Clark, John Fureman, Robbye Jarrell, Donald Koepke, Mark LaRocca-Pitts, Michele Micklewright, Margaret Muncie, Jon Overvold, Jackie Ward, David Wentroble, and Josh Zlochower.

[Back to  Top]




Standards of Practice for Professional Chaplains in Hospice and Palliative Care

Following the release of Standards of Practice for Professional Chaplains in Acute Care, and in Long-term Care, the Quality in Chaplaincy Care Committee assembled a group of chaplains with experience and expertise in hospice/palliative care to work on Standards of Practice for Professional Chaplains in Hospice/Palliative Care.

This Standards of Practice for Professional Chaplains in Hospice and Palliative Care document is a fluid document that will change as health care chaplaincy continues to mature and as situations change.

The standards of practice were published for comment in APC e-News, November 2013, Vol. 15 No. 7. Initial feedback was integrated into the standards, which were presented to the APC board for affirmation in June 2014. The standards were then forwarded to the boards of our organizational partners with the request that they join us in affirming and supporting them.

Your ongoing participation and feedback are welcome, as the standards of practice are not static but will be adjusted as the profession moves forward. Chaplains and others can are invited to share feedback and experiences by e-mail at sop@professionalchaplains.org.

Many thanks to the participants in the task force, who include: Chair Karen Ballard, Ahmed Aquino, Miriam Dakin, Bonnie Meyer, Denise Hess, Sue Nebel, Terry Irish and Staff Liaison Carol Pape.


[Back to Top]





What About Other Chaplaincy Settings?

The APC Quality in Chaplaincy Care Committee welcomes and encourages chaplains serving in contexts other than acute care, long-term care or hospice to utilize and adapt these standards for their own contexts. Contact
Rev. Dr. Daniel H. Grossoehme, committee chair, sop@professionalchaplains.org.


[Back to Top]



What's Next?
  • Ongoing education and dialogue about the Standards of Practice for Professional Chaplains are underway. Look for more articles and updates in APC e-News and on this webpage.

 

[Back to Top]
 


SOP Articles, Education and Resources

The APC webinar: "A Day in the Life of a Professional Chaplain: Incorporating Standards of Practice into Your Practice," was presented by Brent Peery BCC and Mark LaRocca-Pitts BCC on November 30, 2010. A recording of this Webinar is available in the  APC store.

Article: "Engaging Standards of Practice: Becoming More Professional" by Brent Peery BCC, December 2010 APC e-News.

A special plenary session, "The Case for Standards of Practice: Do Professional Chaplains Practice What They Preach?," was presented at the 2010 APC Annual Conference by Rev. George Handzo BCC and Rev. Paul Derrickson BCC. APC is proud to provide a free viewing of the video via the link above.

The summer 2010 issue of Healing Spirit magazine included a case study article about a health care institution's use of the standards in strategic planning:  "Putting Standards into Practice," by Daniel H. Grossoehme BCC and William Scrivener BCC.

Russell Dicks Article on Standards of Practice

[Back to Top]




Russell Dicks Article on Standards of Practice

In 1940, the Reverend Russell L. Dicks worked with a small committee to prepare a set of standards of practice for hospital chaplains, which were adopted by the American Protestant Hospital Association. Below is the introduction to his article on the subject in which he discusses the need for standards of practice, as well as a link to the complete article.

"Standards for the Work of the Chaplain in the General Hospital by Rev. Russell Dicks DO," reprinted, with permission, from Hospitals, November, 1940.

"It has come to the attention of the American Protestant Hospital Association that the spiritual needs of many patients, both in private and public institutions, are not receiving proper attention. In some instances patients are not receiving any spiritual care, in others they are receiving altogether too much. We know of institutions where as many as seven or eight different religious workers may speak to the same patient in a given afternoon while hundreds of other patients in the same institution receive no attention. It has also come to our attention that many religious workers in hospitals attempt to force their own religious views upon the patient whether he desires them or not.

"It is our hope that through the following suggestions hospital administrators, board of directors, medical staffs and church authorities will be aided in judging the nature of the religious work going on within their institutions and further, that they may be aided in securing a more adequate type of chaplaincy service.

"It is not our thought that all the suggested standards which follow shall be considered minimum standards but that they shall present a goal toward which the institution and the chaplain shall aim in serving the religious needs of their patients. However, there are certain practices which we consider indispensable in the chaplain's work; where such practices are not being followed we suggest that serious attention be given to an investigation of why they are not by someone in authority."

Read the complete Russell Dicks article





[Back to  Top]