What does a hospital chaplain do?

Job title: The hospital chaplain

Where you’ll meet them

The hospital chaplain will visit patients on the wards or in other areas of the hospital on request. You may also meet them in the hospital chapel or multi-faith area.

What they’ll do

The chaplain is there to provide a listening ear, emotional support and spiritual support to patients, relatives and friends, and hospital staff. They can provide support during a crisis as well as during ongoing recovery. They will often also support bereaved family members. You don’t have to be a practising believer to use this service. Some hospitals have chaplains from different faiths. Hospital chaplains are salaried NHS employees.


Chaplains may be professional religious ministers, trained in pastoral care. They will also have specialist training for working in a healthcare setting. They will usually have a degree or equivalent, plus a professional qualification.

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