Advancing Spiritual Care Through Research

Research Priorities for Healthcare Chaplaincy: Views of U.S. Chaplains

Chaplains in the United States and around the world appear to support an evidence-based practice approach to chaplaincy. While there continues to be strong growth in spiritual care research, several spiritual care researchers have stressed the need for a research agenda for chaplaincy. This study investigated the research priorities of chaplains who completed a survey distributed at four chaplaincy conferences in 2016. A total of 193 chaplains responded, resulting in 499 comments. When compared to the findings of existing literature regarding research priorities for chaplaincy, chaplain’s views of research priorities appear to be very consistent with views of chaplaincy leaders. Both prioritize research on outcomes of spiritual care, the development and testing of the effectiveness of interventions, the development and evaluation of assessment and screening tools and research about key subgroups of patients. The chaplains in the survey however added to the agenda research regarding competencies, education, and certification and research regarding the chaplain and the team.