Sairaalapapin asiantuntijuus sairaalasielunhoitotyössä: Sairaalapapin, hoitotyöntekijän ja potilaan näkökulma

Virpi Sipola

Research output: Book/ReportDoctoral thesisCollection of Articles


Getting a serious illness, such as cancer, affects a patient´s experience of comprehensive wellbeing and health. It can cause the patient mental and existential anxiety during treatment and increase the need for spiritual care. Health care chaplaincy, maintained by the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland, is a part of the patient's spiritual care and part of the patient´s psychosocial support in social and health care. Support is provided by the health care chaplains, who have received special training for the task. The purpose of the study was to describe, evaluate and compare health care chaplain´s expertise in health care chaplaincy. The aim of the study was to produce information that can be utilized in the holistic treatment as well as in spiritual care of cancer patients as well as other patients. The information produced can be used to increase understanding of the importance of multidisciplinary support for patients and nurses. The information can be used to develop clinical nursing, health care education, and special training for the health care chaplain. With the help of the information produced, it is possible to develop the organization and practices of the health care chaplains work in the social and health care. Knowledge also supports the development of multicultural healthcare.

The study was carried out in health care in Finland. The research material was collected in 2016–2020. consisted of questionnaire responses (n = 132) from health care chaplains (n = 83), nurses (n = 26) and cancer patients (n = 23) and individual interviews with nurses (n = 26) and patients (n = 8) who responded to the questionnaire. Statistical analysis methods were used in the analysis of the quantitative data of the study, and content analysis was utilized in the analysis of the qualitative data. In the summary section the results of the subs-studies were summarized by means of grouping, combining the results obtained from different subs-studies, classification, and analysis.

The health care chaplain’s expertise was manifested in the chaplain’s work tasks, the discussion topics between the chaplain and the patient, and between the chaplain and the nurse, the working methods used by the chaplain in her/his work. The health care chaplain´s expertise is manifested also in the goals set by the chaplain for her/his work, the values guiding the work of the chaplain, and the significance of the work for patients and nurses. Personality traits that embody a chaplain´s professional identity emerge in work related professional interactions. From the perspective of the self-assessment of the chaplains, the experiences of patients and nurses, and the meanings they give to their experiences, the expertise of a hospital chaplain consists of five areas of expertise: professional interaction skills, psychosocial support skills, crisis work skills, spiritual support skills, and operating environment and community skills.

The expertise of a health care chaplain and the formation of expertise is contextual and situational. The views of hospital chaplain, nurses, and patients different from each other. Patients benefit from and value the psychosocial and spiritual support provided by the chaplain. The support of a chaplain is especially important for nurses in crisis situations.

In conclusion, the expertise of the health care chaplain should therefore be utilized more in the patient's holistic nursing work by developing nursing practices, increasing the nurses' awareness of the work of chaplains, and securing resources in health care chaplaincy. In addition, attention should be paid to the equal opportunity for all patiens to receive emotional and spiritual support.
Original languageFinnish
Place of PublicationTampere
ISBN (Electronic) 978-952-03-2661-6
Publication statusPublished - 2022
Publication typeG5 Doctoral dissertation (articles)

Publication series

NameTampere University Dissertations - Tampereen yliopiston väitöskirjat
ISSN (Print)2489-9860
ISSN (Electronic)2490-0028

Cite this