Chaplains offer spiritual care to all patients and their carers, friends and family as well as the staff of the NHS.

This page has information on the role of a chaplain in the NHS, including entry requirements and skills needed. 

Working life

Each chaplain is a leader (minister, imam, priest, etc) in their own faith but they are expected to work closely with other faiths.

 hospital chaplaincy

You're usually based in a hospital and work in any department as needed. As well as an office, you'll have a chapel or multi-faith room which staff, patients and families can visit. However, as a chaplain, you will spend a lot of time in wards and other parts of the hospital visiting people who are too ill to move from their beds.

Some chaplains travel between hospitals, clinics, hospices, etc.

Chaplains represent the faiths of the local population who use NHS services. So they could be Christian (Anglican, Roman Catholic or Free Churches) or any of the world faiths. You will work with patients, staff and families with any faith or no faith.

Some NHS chaplains also work in their own faith outside the NHS. People who are ill or who have a family member who is ill may have spiritual or emotional needs. As a chaplain, you'll help them deal with the experiences of life and death, illness and injury in the context of a faith or belief system. You'll also support the spiritual needs of staff.

Entry requirements 

Chaplains have to be accredited as leaders in a recognised faith community. They usually have a degree or a professional qualification.

Employers expect chaplains to have experience as a leader in their own faith and experience of spiritual and pastoral care. Employers may also ask for some experience in healthcare work. This could be from, for example, hospital visiting while working as a faith leader elsewhere.

Personal characteristics and skills

As a chaplain in the NHS, you'll need to be

You'll also need

Training and development 

Chaplains new to the NHS have training which includes

Chaplains may be able to study for postgraduate qualifications in, for example, healthcare chaplaincy or counselling.

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