The insights gained from a portfolio of spiritual assessment tools used with hospitalised school-aged children to facilitate the delivery of spiritual care offered by the healthcare chaplain

Bull, Alister William (2013) The insights gained from a portfolio of spiritual assessment tools used with hospitalised school-aged children to facilitate the delivery of spiritual care offered by the healthcare chaplain. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

A Spiritual Assessment Tool (SAT) for use with a child by a healthcare chaplain, requires a clear conceptual construct in order to convey a child’s spiritual profile to other professionals. The design of the tool, allied to the manner in which a chaplain engages with a patient, allows a child to easily share information which can be interpreted in terms of this construct. This thesis creates a new and accessible conceptual framework to describe the spirituality of children in a paediatric setting. It achieves this through the design and development of a portfolio of sorting cards and storyboards, referred to as a Spiritual Assessment Tool (SAT). The SAT encourages children to share information about their healthcare journey which is then interpreted in terms of the new framework. In addition, it identifies the competences required by a healthcare professional to obtain and interpret this information. In doing so, it necessarily discusses the wider implications of the theological insights which arise. The research involved the filming of interviews conducted with children aged between 6 and 13 years old in an acute paediatric healthcare setting. During these interviews sorting cards depicting different aspects of the children’s lives were used in conjunction with storyboards, in order to discover how the children described their lives while in hospital. The design of the SAT developed through two distinct stages before reaching a final model that achieved the goals of this thesis In order to describe and share the information expressed with other healthcare staff, a framework was developed to enable interpretation of how a child constructs meaning. This framework required a terminology that could clearly communicate the complexities of how children understand the meaning of their lives in the context of the hospital setting. By engaging with child development theory and the data gathered from the interviews, the term “connectedness” was adopted to better encapsulate the conceptual construct of what had, in the past, been described as “childhood spirituality”. The term draws four dimensions from the field of child development which help professionals to profile a child’s perspective of their lives while in hospital:; the momentum of connectedness; the awareness of connectedness; the resilience of connectedness; and the evaluative nature of connectedness. These dimensions take account of the contextual disruption experienced by the children and the way in which their level of development contributes to the perspective of their lives while in hospital. The theological implications the concept of ‘connectedness’ and the methodology of its application underline the dynamics of the competences involved. These can be applied in integrated theological reflective practice. The “Zone of Proximal Connectedness” (ZPC) is used to describe the space of an encounter between a healthcare professional and a paediatric patient when four features are present; hospitality, liminality, the significant other, and the co-construction of meaning. The ZPC forms the foundation for gathering information that serves as the basis for better spiritual care. The research findings provide insight into the dynamics required for a healthcare chaplain to relate to a child and to engage in integrated theological reflective practice which relates to the ZPC. The nature of the encounter outlined in this thesis, requires the quality of ‘mutuality’ to be present between assessor and child. The nature of the encounter outlined in this thesis between an assessor and a child requires the quality of ‘mutuality’. The presence of the quality of mutuality in this context, reveals that inThe implications of mutuality reveal that in the Christian Faith our concept of God’s nature involves a greater sense of mutuality. The wider implications of this reflection for the Christian faith and our understanding of God, Jesus and the Church are identified as an area for future theological exploration.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Spirituality, paediatric, children, connectedness, assessment, chaplain, chaplaincy, healthcare
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BV Practical Theology
L Education > LC Special aspects of education
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts > School of Critical Studies > Theology and Religious Studies
Funder's Name: UNSPECIFIED
Supervisor's Name: Walton, Dr. Heather and O'Donnell, Dr. Victoria
Date of Award: 2013
Depositing User: Rev. Dr. Alister W Bull
Unique ID: glathesis:2013-4529
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 21 Nov 2013 09:10
Last Modified: 31 Jan 2014 13:59
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/4529

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