Journal of Religion and Health

, Volume 50, Issue 2, pp 300–312 | Cite as

What Do Chaplains Contribute to Large Academic Hospitals? The Perspectives of Pediatric Physicians and Chaplains

Original Paper


This article analyzes interviews with pediatric physicians (N = 30) and chaplains (N = 22) who work at the same large academic medical centers (N = 13). We ask how pediatric physicians understand and work with chaplains and how chaplains describe their own work. We find that physicians see chaplains as part of interdisciplinary medical teams where they perform rituals and support patients and families, especially around death. Chaplains agree but frame their contributions in terms of the perspectives related to wholeness, presence, and healing they bring. Chaplains have a broader sense of what they contribute to patient care than do physicians.


Chaplains Chaplaincy Pediatric physicians Spiritual care 



This project was supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Scholars in Health Policy Research Program at Harvard University, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University (including the Radcliffe Student-Scholar Partnership Program), Harvard Divinity School, the American Academy of Religion, and grant #11,299 from the John Templeton Foundation (Elaine Howard Ecklund, PI).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wendy Cadge
    • 1
  • Katherine Calle
    • 2
  • Jennifer Dillinger
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of SociologyBrandeis UniversityWalthamUSA
  2. 2.Harvard UniversityCambridgeUSA
  3. 3.Dana-Farber Cancer InstituteBostonUSA

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