Abstract

This article is an empirical study of the attitudes of spiritual caregivers in health care institutions in the Netherlands towards identity and the goals of their profession. Identity can be classified into a personal aspect (definition of oneself in general) and a worldview aspect (attitudes towards life). A distinction is made between an immediate professional goal (communication on worldviews) and an ultimate goal (contribution to spiritual health). We examine the effects of beliefs about identity on professional goals while controlling for relevant population and institutional characteristics. Orientation to the immediate and ultimate goals of spiritual care is influenced mainly by personal identity attitudes and attitudes towards suffering. The relation between identity and its relevance to patients’ health (the ultimate goal of spiritual care) needs further research.

In: Journal of Empirical Theology
In: Journal of Empirical Theology

Abstract

This article presents an empirical exploration of the attitudes of spiritual caregivers in health care institutions in the Netherlands towards ministry and their professional goals. Ministry can be classified into ministry per se and the position and modes of operation of spiritual care. A distinction is made between an immediate professional goal (communication on worldviews) and an ultimate goal (contribution to spiritual health). We examine the effects of beliefs about ministry on the professional goals, while controlling for relevant population and institutional characteristics. Attitudes towards ministry have the greatest impact on the ultimate goal of spiritual health. They also have a substantial impact on one immediate goal: the experiential-affective goal. The broader concept of worldview or spiritual competence and its relevance to the goals of spiritual care needs further research.

In: Journal of Empirical Theology
An Empirical-theological Exploration
This book reports on a theoretical and empirical study of spiritual care as a profession in health care, particularly from the angle of quality care.
Theoretically the central issues in spiritual care are analysed: quality care, medicalisation and contingency as its limit, the function of worldviews in health care, personal identity, legitimacy and position in health care, goals and tasks of the profession. Specific attention is spent to the determinants of the goals in the interaction with patients.
Empirically the attitudes of Dutch spiritual caregivers towards these issues are investigated.
The book provides insight into the professional discipline ‘spiritual care’ and discusses some challenges for the future: the intrinsic meaning of the plurality of worldviews within spiritual care, the institutional aspects of this spiritual care and the educational implications of spiritual care as a professional discipline. The book is particular useful for spiritual caregivers in their reflection on their practice and for education of future spiritual caregivers.
In: The Concept of Religion

Illness is a bio-psycho-social-spiritual process. Physicians focus primarily on the physical level; but attention to the other levels — including the religious/spiritual level — is recommended. Research, predominantly conducted in the usa, indicates that the worldview of physicians determines their attentiveness to their patient’s religiosity/spirituality. This study investigates medical specialists in academic hospitals in the Netherlands. The study participants were 664 medical specialists from five Dutch academic hospitals. In the more secularised Netherlands, attention to the spiritual level also includes attention to meaningfulness, and related questions of meaning. Our research attempted to show the influence of the worldview of these specialists on their attention to the religiosity/spirituality of and questions of meaning raised by very ill patients. Religiosity/spirituality was operationalised in religious/spiritual coping activities. Meaning questions were measured by a self-constructed instrument. We found four clusters of relevant meaning questions: ‘end of life’, ‘God’, ‘attributions’ and ‘relationship with significant others’. Attentiveness to religious/spiritual coping was influenced by the salience of a worldview in the life of the medical specialists. No such influence was detected with regard to questions of meaning.

In: Journal of Empirical Theology

In the ‘crisis of ministry’ alternatives are considered to a worldview-based spiritual positioning of spiritual caregivers. One of the concepts in this discussion is that of spiritual competence. We addressed the question: what are the attitudes of spiritual caregivers (and their educators) towards ministry and spiritual competence? In terms of the volume the question is: to what extent does a specific denominational concept such as ministry still relate to religion as it is lived in contemporary society, more specifically in healthcare systems?

Ministry we defined as worldview representation in public and semi-public settings. There is a tension between representation and communication of religion, or, between authorisation and competence in the role of the minister. Quantitative empirical research clarified that spiritual caregivers regard the ministry positively. But they doubt their representation task, and have a multiple worldview orientation towards communication.

Spiritual competence can be situated on the level of the person, professional practice, professional identity and legitimation. This analysis can be related to, e.g. the competence profile of medical specialists and praxis-oriented models of spiritual care. Semi-structured interviews with educators of spiritual caregivers put forward a balance in personal and professional spirituality, the role of reflexivity and some basic —, core — and heuristic competencies.

Spiritual competence is at the core of the identity of spiritual care. Further research should reveal the extent to which this concept is an umbrella term, an alternative or even a substitute for ministry, conceptually and organisationally.

In: Journal of Empirical Theology
In: Journal of Empirical Theology