By David Lichter
So, how equipped do you judge yourself to be for the work you are doing?
The theme of this issue of Vision is “CPE and Beyond: Professional competencies in a changing environment.” When the NACC Editorial Advisory Panel chose this theme, discussion ensued about the changing chaplaincy landscape. It’s real and evolving every day.
In fall 2011 and spring 2012, the NACC Board of Directors in consultation with you, our members, named the first goal of the 2012-2017 strategic plan “To educate and support association members for the future of chaplaincy.” The first objective of this goal stated, “Provide formation and resources for chaplains to be effective ministers and leaders, especially in emerging settings and healthcare systems (both Catholic and other) and across the continuum of care.”
You know, better than I, the drivers in healthcare that are changing the way service is provided and reimbursed — and our own role has been changing significantly. With indebtedness to Julie Jones, executive director of mission and ministry at Mercy Health, and her colleagues, we can name these changes as new focus, new priorities, new identify, and new roles. These slides provide a visual:
These shifts often require not on-the-job training, but on-the-spot testing of new skills, proposing new services, and finding new language to speak about the outcomes and benefits of what we do.
We have tried over the past three-plus years to plan educational resources, particularly our NACC webinars, and to collaborate with Trinity Health in its Spiritual Care Champion Series to provide you with knowledge and training. For instance, the NACC 2012 audio conferences included a four-part leadership series. 2013 topics included Wendy Cadge’s research on chaplaincy, communicating the value of chaplaincy, and chaplains and patient satisfaction. Our 2014 webinar series covered discerning leadership, charting for interdisciplinary effectiveness, and two sessions on training and utilizing volunteers. In 2015 we are including spiritual screening and effectiveness, weighing spiritual care and other priorities, a dialogue with a chief executive, and future trends of chaplaincy.
The Trinity Health Spiritual Care Champions Series has also devoted itself over the past three years to similar topics that have provided a context for and samples of system initiatives in spiritual care to address the changing environment. The 2014-2015 series used the “New Roles” referred to above as the topics of each webinar. These are challenging roles, and often the presenters were more suggestive than prescriptive or practical in their presentations, as these roles are just taking form with you, our members.
I hope the articles in this issue might spur you to your own ongoing professional development so we all can provide the highest quality spiritual care.