ACPE Research Network Article of the Month

Transforming Chaplaincy is pleased to feature here the Article of the Month, produced by ACPE Research. Each month at least one article is discussed in detail; related resources are also recommended, as well as ways to incorporate this latest research into the classroom.


This months’ article is another qualitative inquiry into a very practical aspect of chaplaincy from Robert Klitzman and colleagues at Columbia University (New York), drawing on a sample of 23 chaplains from around the US. Findings indicate frequent difficulties in reading indirect and non-verbal cues from patients and families and a lack of structures for boundary setting, like time limit expectations, that seem to be more present in other disciplines. The authors express a concern about how stresses in this area may contribute to burnout.


Klitzman, R., Di Sapia Natarelli, G., Sinnappan, S., Garbuzova, E. and Al-Hashimi, J. “Exiting patients’ rooms and ending relationships: questions and challenges faced by hospital chaplains.” Journal of Pastoral Care & Counseling (2023): online ahead of print, 1/3/23.



January:”Hearing spiritually significant voices: a phenomenological survey and taxonomy.” 

December:”Can outcome research respect the integrity of chaplaincy? A review of outcome studies

November: “Palliative chaplain spiritual assessment progress notes”

October: “What chaplains wish nurses knew: findings from an online survey”

September: “Toward a clinical model for patient spiritual journeys in supportive and palliative care: testing a concept of human spirituality and associated recursive states”

August: “Feasibility and acceptability of a telephone-based chaplaincy intervention in a large, outpatient oncology center.”

July:  “Impressions of interfaith chaplain’s activities among patients in a palliative care unit: a semi-structured interview-based qualitative study”

June: “Knowledge, attitudes, and interactions with chaplains and nursing staff outcomes: a survey study”

May: “Challenges and enablers of spiritual care for family members of patients in the intensive care unit.”

May: “Bereavement support on the frontline of COVID-19: recommendations for hospital clinicians.”

April: “A Moment in the Life of a SARS Chaplain”: A Reflection to Stir Thinking about COVID-19

March: Attitudes and behaviors that differentiate clergy with positive mental health from those with burnout

February: Development of a Clinical Guide for Identifying Spiritual Distress in ICU Family Members

January: Healthcare chaplains’ perspectives on nurse-chaplain collaboration: an online survey