Promoting Research Literacy for Improved Patient Outcomes

Transforming Chaplaincy at Work – November 2017

Rev. Marilyn Barnes was a plenary speaker at the June 2017 Association of Professional Chaplains annual meeting. During her presentation, she framed chaplains’ roles in terms of existing research practices in a way that made evidence- based practice accessible to chaplain practitioners.

Marilyn’s fellow Cohort 1 participant John Betz presented a poster with a University of Cincinnati professor / colleague at the International Convention of Psychological Science in Austria. Their poster focused on findings from a longitudinal study of psychological well-being, resiliency, coping, and religiosity of rural hospice employees in Northern Kentucky.

Cohort 2 Fellow Paul Galchutt presented at the Examined Life Conference at the Carver School of Medicine on October 14. Along with a co-worker from the University of Minnesota, Paul presented on narrative practice groups. He’ll also present to a breakout session on narrative practice groups at Luther Seminary’s Mid­Winter Convocation in late January 2018, utilizing data from the National Clergy End-of-Life Project.

Professor Austyn Snowden, Chair of Mental Health at Edinburgh Napier University, presented primary research about chaplains to a Spiritual Care in Nursing conference in Denmark. “What can we learn from chaplains?” sparked a lively debate over the limits of interdisciplinary research. Austyn presented the Scottish Patient Recorded Outcome Measure (PROM), representing ERICH as well as Edinburgh Napier. As expected, it turns out nurses in Europe are very keen to learn from chaplains. They were particularly interested in the finding that some chaplains act primarily by a) being present, and b) facilitating the space for people to ‘talk about what is on their mind’. They discussed whether a simple question – “what’s on your mind?” – could help people in apparent spiritual distress. Some thought that even when really pressed for time, that they could still create this space. This is encouraging and needs further investigation. Austyn would like to thank the organisers for a wonderful conference. He took this work further, alongside his colleagues in the ‘Enhancing Nurses’ and Midwives’ Competence in Providing Spiritual Care through Innovation, Education and Compassionate Care’ (EPICC) project in Zwolle, Switzerland October.

David Lichter and Theresa Utschig gave presentations on chaplaincy and research at a local meeting of the National Association of Catholic Chaplains. They’ve graciously agreed to share their presentations, which build on George Fitchett’s article “Recent Progress in Chaplaincy-Related Research.” You can find David’s presentation here and Theresa’s here.

CPE Curriculum Grant Recipient Walter Balk of Oregon State Hospital will implement his curriculum – titled “What’s Research Got to Do With It? – Nurturing Research Literacy for Spiritual Care” – in late 2017. Walter compiled a dynamic set of speakers and resources for a 2017-2018 rollout at OSH to begin that institution’s embrace of research-informed chaplaincy.

Advisory Committee member Dr. Ellen Idler delivered the keynote address to the Third Annual Graduate Conference on Religion on October 14 at Boston University. The event, titled “Going Viral: Religion and Health,” asked whether religion and healthcare operate in two distinct worlds. Might religious traditions bring insights and perspectives to health care practice, and vice versa? What practical, legal and ethical dilemmas do public health or healthcare practitioners face when it comes to the religion, faith, and spirituality of their patients, clients, or communities?

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