Advancing Spiritual Care Through Research

Adolescent Patient and Nurse Referrals for Pastoral Care: A Comparison of Psychiatric vs. Medical-Surgical Populations

PROBLEM. Referrals for pastoral care can expedite interventions that focus on the spiritual needs of hospitalized adolescents. METHODS. An uncontrolled, retrospective review of referrals (N = 73) to pastoral care for adolescents ages 10 to 22 in a pediatric hospital over an 18-month period. FINDINGS. A majority of the patients (65%) was referred from the psychiatric unit. Psychiatric patients made more self-referrals, whereas PICU nurses made more nurse-generated referrals for pastoral care. CONCLUSIONS. Spiritual care of patients in a pediatric hospital is an important component of care. Since the importance of spiritual care is well documented, referrals for spiritual issues and care are essential interventions that should not be overlooked. A better understanding of the referrals can aid in early recognition of factors that may prompt nurses to advocate for spiritual care of the patient.