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What Are the Duties of a Hospital Chaplain?

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A hospital chaplain provides pastoral care to patients, their family members and hospital employees. She offers spiritual support and crisis intervention 24 hours a day. Hospital chaplains may work in hospitals or in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. They typically are ordained ministers with special training involving spiritual needs in clinical and hospital environments.

Support for Patients

Hospital chaplains often make rounds just as physicians do, offering spiritual support to patients and their families, talking with them, reading the Bible and praying together.

Support for Staff

Hospital chaplains provide spiritual counseling for hospital employees experiencing professional or personal problems.

Support for the Gravely Ill

The chaplains provide support for patients who are critically ill or dying, and for their families and other loved ones. This is especially important for patients who do not have a minister or are not near their home.

Worship Services

Another duty of the chaplain is conducting worship services in the hospital chapel for patients and hospital staff.

Community Education

Hospital chaplains conduct community seminars on topics such as terminal illness, the spiritual meaning of death and the grieving process.


Shelley Moore is a journalist and award-winning short-story writer. She specializes in writing about personal development, health, careers and personal finance. Moore has been published in "Family Circle" magazine and the "Milwaukee Sentinel" newspaper, along with numerous other national and regional magazines, daily and weekly newspapers and corporate publications. She has a Bachelor of Science in psychology.

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