Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Jennifer Nourse


For spiritual care providers and spiritual care systems, truly effective medical treatment cannot exist without seeking to look after not only the physical needs of those who are ill, but also the emotional, existential, and spiritual needs of all those in the hospital, including not only patients but also their families and care providers. Through this lens of holistic, whole-person care, spiritual care providers move themselves beyond the status of religious figures or groups, and present themselves as conduits and nodes of connection and expression for the feelings of bereavement, grief, and helplessness. This healing builds up within patients, families, and even medical professionals who must come to grips with the physical and emotional pain that is sometimes ever-present in their surroundings. In this role as a conduit for emotional expression within religious hospital systems, chaplains contextualize themselves not as religious figures, and especially not as proselytizers. Instead, they characterize themselves as fellow medical professionals filling a gap in medicine 6 that has been too often overlooked in the past, but is necessary to achieve effective treatment and healing.