Developing Evidence-Based Practice in Chaplaincy: A Study of Unit and Chaplain-Specific Integration

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Villegas, Heber Aviles; Claiborne, Juanita; Garner, Martin; Green, Neal; Kelly, Laura; Owens, Clara; Stephen, Arouna
health care chaplains; Medicine and Health Sciences
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Health care chaplains provide spiritual care across diverse hospital units. As a result of the complex and interprofessional nature of health care services, different units are associated with unique integration and collaboration needs. Effective chaplain practice and patient-centered care are enhanced by sensitivity to unit differences. Our research, aimed at quality improvement, examined unit and chaplain integration to promote unit-specific evidence-based practice. Integration was conceptualized by five dimensions: interdependence, newly created professional activities, flexibility, collective ownership of goals, reflection on process. data was collected using the Interprofessional Integration and Collaboration Instrument (Bronstein, 2002), which has appropriate measurement quality (Bainbridge et al., 2015). Addition questions captured chaplain-specific integration and methods of chaplain engagement (charting, referrals). The survey was available in electronic and paper format. Over 150 staff from 10 units participated in the 2017 convenience survey. Survey results were used to develop profiles of unit and chaplain-specific integration; of chaplain engagement; and of perceived contributions of chaplains to patient care. Demographic information was summarized to determine representativeness. The findings contribute to quality improvement and evidence-based practice by identifying how chaplains can effectively integrated within specific units. The findings are being disseminated to unit stakeholders, hospital administration, and other chaplains.