Current Issue

June 20, 2018
Volume 15 No. 6

Open Access

Special Topic Issues


New White Paper Released: “Spiritual Care and Social Work: Integration into Practice”

HealthCare Chaplaincy Network (HCCN) and its affiliate, the Spiritual Care Association (SCA) have released their newest white paper on the integration of spiritual care for the role of a social worker in the medical field entitled “Spiritual Care and Social Work: Integration into Practice.”

The white paper – an evidence-based literature review –provides social workers guidance in better understanding the importance of spirituality, how to integrate appropriate spiritual care into their clinical practice, and ways in which to work collaboratively with board certified chaplains. It seeks to offer a starting place for continued interprofessional dialogue around spirituality and spiritual care.

“The white paper itself is of significant value to healthcare. First, it supports the role of social workers as spiritual care generalists with chaplains being the specialists in this field. It is also an invitation of all interdisciplinary team members, including social workers, to participate in the identification of and care of individuals with spiritual distress,” said Rev. Eric J. Hall, President and CEO of HCCN and SCA. “All healthcare professionals can contribute to the culture of spiritual care provided by their health care facility.”

Among the topics explored in this groundbreaking paper are: interprofessional collaboration; role overlap and role differentiation; social workers as spiritual care generalists; understanding spiritual distress; spiritual care interventions and therapeutic qualities, ethical guidelines in spiritual care; and opportunities for collaboration between social workers and professional chaplains.

The paper notes that strong partnerships between social workers and chaplains are critical to the mutual goal to serve and meet the spiritual needs of patients and families. This white paper is the fourth produced by HCCN and SCA in an ongoing effort to introduce the value of spiritual care in a health care setting. The inaugural document, “SPIRITUAL CARE: What It Means, Why It Matters in Health Care” was released in October 2016. This was followed by Spiritual Care and Nursing: A Nurse’s Contribution and Practice in March 2017 and "Spiritual Care and Physicians: Understanding Spirituality in Medical Practice" in September 2017.   View all white papers online at


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