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The goal of this project is to equip hospital chaplains to carry out a cogent spiritual assessment, pastoral intervention and documentation model. The purpose of equipping chaplains for this essential ministry function is to integrate spiritual narratives into medical charts which focus narrowly on physical cure in order to promote holistic healing for patients. The project was carried out in MultiCare Health System’s six Puget Sound Region acute care hospitals located in the cities of Tacoma, Puyallup, Auburn and Covington, Washington.

The theological reflection section provides biblical insight into how medical practice diverged from the compassionate healing ministry of Jesus. With this divergence theological anthropology changed and people were understood in reductionistic terms. Because of this skewed view of imago dei, patients’ spirituality was pushed to the margins of medical discourse. This section develops a biblical foundation for the role of prophetic witness for the missiology of healthcare chaplains. In this role, chaplains can work to restore holistic healing so that the practice of medicine once again functions in the service of God.

The ministry strategy section describes the goals of the training manual and how it was implemented. Prior to the implementation of the training manual the chaplains completed a self-assessment of their knowledge and confidence levels regarding their spiritual assessment abilities. The results of the survey showed that chaplains were uncomfortable with a broad range of pastoral interventions and lacked confidence in their spiritual assessment abilities. It also showed a high degree of receptiveness to learning new ministry strategies to improve holistic care in their hospitals. The project discusses outcomes, insights and future implications for on-going quality improvement. This is a ministry strategy that can be used by other chaplain departments to integrate holistic healing into their ministry contexts.

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry (DMin)

First Advisor

Boatwright, Elizabeth

Document Type





Medical care, Healthcare, Spirituality, Chaplains, Documentation, Assessment, Medical ethics


Alternative and Complementary Medicine | Bioethics and Medical Ethics


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