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PROFESSIONAL STANDARDS

Pediatric Chaplain Demonstrated Competencies

The Pediatric Chaplains Network demonstrated competencies of a Pediatric Chaplain are as follows:

  1. An awareness of one's temperament and ministry style, including strengths and weaknesses.
  2. A commitment to one's own continuing education and growth.
  3. Actions and attitudes that show respect and compassion for all persons.
  4. An ability to be a non-anxious presence in stressful situations.
  5. Self-discipline and a respect for professional boundaries necessary to protect vulnerable populations.
  6. The ability to relate well to a wide variety of persons and age groups.
  7. Honesty and personal integrity.
  8. Good self-care and a vital spiritual life evidenced by faith, hope, love, forgiveness and joy.
  1. A pastoral theology that is well-founded and thoughtfully examined.
  2. An ability to assist others in considering the spiritual dimensions of relationships, situations, crises, and decisions.
  3. A respect and appreciation for the basic tenets, practices, holy days, taboos, and rites of diverse faith groups and a resourcefulness in finding ways to meet the spiritual needs of patients/families from those groups.
  4. Skills as an advocate for the rights of persons to determine their own religious expression and for the special protections needed against proselytizing in vulnerable populations.
  5. An understanding of the toxic possibilities in belief systems, and an ability to assist persons who have been damaged by religious beliefs.
  6. An understanding of key theological elements, such as Prayer, Hope, Reconciliation, Theodicy, etc., and their importance in a healthcare setting.
  1. An understanding of the faith development process in human beings at various ages and stages.
  2. An understanding of human coping styles that are healthy and destructive.
  3. An understanding of psychosocial development, family systems, and relational dynamics.
  4. An ability to translate developmental understanding into meaningful pastoral relationships with infants, children, adolescents, and adults.
  5. The ability to relate pastorally to diverse forms of family units, respecting their culture and style of making decisions, offering them opportunities to express their faith in ways that are meaningful to them, and serving as a resource in responding to their own and their children’s spiritual needs.
  6. Skill as an advocate for the rights, responsibilities, needs, and values of pediatric patients, families, and healthcare professionals in the process of medical decision-making.
  7. Knowledge of the laws concerning child abuse and how those affect pastoral conversations.
  8. Skills in mediating disputes.
  9. Skills in debriefing crisis intervention health professionals and responding to the spiritual crises and day-to-day spiritual needs of staff.
  10. Skills in active listening, counseling, referral, and group leadership with children, adolescents, adult family members, and staff.
  11. Knowledge of bereavement processes and pastoral skill in relating to grieving persons.
  12. A respect for the confidentiality of pastoral conversations and the vulnerability of persons seeking help.
  13. Crisis intervention skills with children and adults.
  14. Spiritual assessment skills.
  15. Basic knowledge of terminology and care for major illnesses, injuries and syndromes most commonly treated in one's healthcare setting.
  16. Understanding and skill in end-of-life issues and the pastoral role in these.
  17. Skills in training, supervising, and ministering to pastoral volunteers.
  1. Skills in planning/leading worship for children, adolescents, and adults.
  2. Skills in teaching children, adolescents, and adult family members.
  3. Skills in preparing and conducting in-service education for staff.
  4. Skills in developing programs, interventions, and printed material to address the spiritual needs in one’s particular healthcare setting.
  5. Knowledge and skills to serve as a resource in ethical decision making.
  6. Skills in developing cooperative relationships with faith congregations and service providers in the community, as well as pediatric chaplains in other settings.
  7. Skills and judgment needed to serve as a pastoral voice on committees within the healthcare setting and for the institution to the wider community.
  8. The ability to foster a spiritual dimension of care throughout the healthcare setting, consistent with appropriate accreditation standards.
  9. An understanding of and commitment to the overall mission of the healthcare setting and the role of pastoral care in that mission.
  10. Good stewardship of time, energy, and financial resources.
  11. An ability to work as a cooperative member of the healthcare team through appropriate chart entries, use of common healthcare terminology, hand washing and other safety precautions, referrals, interdisciplinary conferences, quality improvement projects, and collegial relationships. 

Pediatric Chaplains Network Code of Ethics*

The PCN seeks to live by high ethical standards. This Code of Ethics is a covenant and guide for the PCN and its members.

  1. The PCN shall be an organization of integrity which shall value and respect the diverse needs of its membership, because of geographical spread, religious affiliation, gender, age, economic status, ethnicity, background and experience, while maintaining a focus on the shared values and mission which unite the membership.
  2. The PCN shall operate under and be an advocate for the values, purpose, and mission in its by-laws.
  3. The Golden Rule shall mark the dealings of the PCN with its members and others.
  4. The PCN shall be a faithful steward of any and all financial resources under its care, using sound fiscal practices, maintaining accurate records, and reporting financial matters honestly and regularly.
  5. The PCN shall avoid conflicts of interest and even the appearance of conflicts of interest.
  1. Members shall be persons of integrity who take responsibility for their own physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being, maintaining high standards of professional conduct.
    • Members shall accurately represent themselves, their professional credentials, the programs with which they are affiliated, and the PCN.
    • Members shall not use their position, influence, knowledge, or professional associations and relationships to unfair advantage.
    • Members shall avoid conflicts of interest and even the appearance of conflicts of interest.
    • Members shall maintain appropriate accountability in their faith group.
    • Members shall seek excellence in pastoral arts and skills and shall continue personal and professional education and growth.

  2. Members shall respect the rights, dignity, integrity, and worth of all persons.
    • Members shall relate to other people in ways that respect their dignity as persons and their freedom of conscience without compromising the members' own beliefs.
    • Members shall promote the well-being of the whole person, being attentive to spiritual, physical, emotional, and relational needs.
    • Members shall work in collaboration and teamwork with other disciplines in the helping professions, for the good of patients, family, staff, and the general community.
    • Members shall live by the principles of justice and kindness, refraining from practicing, condoning, or colluding with discriminatory behavior against any persons because of race, religion, age, gender, national origin, cultural background, ethnicity, language spoken, sexual orientation, economic status, citizenship, diagnosis, or physical ability.
    • Members shall avoid imposition of their theology on others, relating to all people with respect and sensitivity.
    • Members shall respect and maintain the confidentiality of those served.
    • Members shall protect the welfare of those served and be responsible pastors in  professional relationships, refraining from emotional, sexual, or other exploitation of any individual or group. Members do not enter into dual relationships that are avoidable and potentially harmful to those served; sexual contact with those served, even by consent, is specifically prohibited.
    • Members shall act in the best interest of those served. When necessary, they shall seek professional consultation and/or make appropriate referrals.

  3. Members shall be responsible in their relationships with other professionals, professional organizations, and the institutions in which they serve.
    • Members shall respect one another and support the integrity and well-being of their colleagues. Members shall also hold one another accountable for their overall personal and professional well-being.
    • Members shall work as a pastoral team member with other persons in the department of their institution, considering the needs of the ministry as a whole and the needs of colleagues, not just their individual needs and wishes.
    • Members shall uphold the values and advance the mission and purpose of the PCN. o Members shall be good stewards of any and all PCN financial resources entrusted to their care, using sound fiscal practices, maintaining accurate financial records, and reporting financial matters honestly and in timely manner.
    • Members shall distinguish their own private opinions from those of the PCN and/or their employing institution, in all publicity, public pronouncements, or publications.

  4. Members shall be responsible in research and publication.
    • Members who engage in research involving human subjects shall be aware of and adhere to all pertinent ethical principles and ensure that the study is in all respects compliant and respectful of persons, following applicable government regulations and the highest standards of research ethics.

* The PCN acknowledges with gratitude the Code of Ethics of the National Association of Catholic Chaplains (NACC) from whose original document much of this Code was taken. The PCN owes a great debt to the pioneering work of NACC and other chaplaincy organizations who have blazed organizational trails, then generously posted the fruit of their labor on the internet for the benefit of those to follow.

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