The Role of the Chaplain.
The role of the chaplain is evolving and changing as the needs of the current times
demand. In the past the word chaplain evoked an immediate identification with word
priest. This was because practically all chaplains were ordained priests, whose role
was seen in terms of administrators of the sacraments.
Now chaplains are both priests and laity, men and women. We realise that the
"whole person " must be cared for, and no one aspect of the person can be
treated in isolation. The physical, emotional, spiritual, and
psychological well being of the person must be taken into account together.
The chaplain joins the whole of the caring professionals on the hospital staff as part of
a multi-disciplinary team in caring for, and ministering to, patients.
One important development in the understanding of the role of Chaplaincy has
been the establishment of The HealthCare Chaplaincy Board. The Board was set up
following negotiations between the Bishops and the Department of Health. This board
is a self regulatory body, comprising of elected parties in the HealthCare area,
Bishops, Religious, Educators and Chaplains. The board is responsible for the
registration of all qualified HealthCare Chaplains in Ireland, and it's main purpose is to
ensure standards in training and practise