Competences in spiritual care education and training

Ewan Kelly

in Oxford Textbook of Spirituality in Healthcare

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780199571390
Published online August 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199665037 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Textbook in Public Health

Competences in spiritual care education and training

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  • Public Health and Epidemiology
  • Palliative Medicine


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This chapter will explore the significance of competences as one of several relevant aspects of education and training that are required to ensure spiritual care and practice is person-centred, timely, effective, and safe in the particular context that it is delivered, and whose overall aim is to enhance patient wellbeing. Utilising a competences-based learning methodology helps to provide healthcare professionals with the relevant knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to practice with some degree of confidence. However, an educational or training programme focused solely on this dimension of learning will not fully equip practitioners to meet the complex spiritual needs of patients, carers, colleagues, and themselves in the messy and paradoxical experience of dealing with suffering and loss, relief, and recovery that is working in healthcare; even if they possess the natural abilities conducive to the provision of meaningful relationship-based care. Other approaches are also required to ensure pre- and post-registration education and training facilitates informed and intuitive spiritual care practice by selfaware and motivated practitioners which improves patient experience and outcome as well as offering opportunities for personal fulfilment and vocational satisfaction. The example of competences being part of a wider educational framework to help shape the continuing professional development of healthcare staff, in particular chaplains in Scotland, is one which will be utilized to ground the discussion. Reference will also be made to the use of competences in the education and training of other healthcare disciplines.

Chapter.  5870 words. 

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology ; Palliative Medicine

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