Caring for the Smallest: Pediatrics

Course Author: David Pascoe, MA, BCC

This course, Caring for the Smallest: Pediatrics, provides an introduction to some of the unique issues of providing chaplaincy and spiritual care to children and their families, especially for chaplains and other spiritual care providers who are assigned primarily to adult care settings and only occasionally interact professionally with children.

By the end of this course, the learner will be able to:

  • Recognize the distinctive aspects of chaplaincy and spiritual care in working with children and their families.
  • Understand the spiritual development of children and review some age-appropriate spiritual interventions.
  • Distinguish the most common spiritual issues involved in pediatric chaplaincy and spiritual care, including how to screen and assess for them.
  • Discuss appropriate interventions to meet the spiritual, religious, cultural, and communication needs of families of pediatric patients.
  • Articulate the major ethical issues that arise in pediatric end of life situations including hospice and palliative care.
  • Recognize and practice the self-care and staff-care needs of a pediatric chaplain or spiritual care provider working in an interdisciplinary team setting.
Course Outline
  1. Introduction
  2. Spiritual Development in Children
  3. The Spiritual Concerns of Children
  4. Spiritual Care of the Child’s Family
  5. Ethical Issues and Childhood Illness
  6. End of Life Considerations with Children
  7. Staff Care and Self Care
  8. Future Research
  9. References
A pediatrics chaplain at a major academic medical center who completed the course has said: “I love all the resources (especially the charts that made some of the child development stuff more accessible in a quick fashion), and I passed along a few articles to our bereavement coordinator. I also appreciate the quick response to my questions and concerns.”
Number of Continuing Education Hours: 35
Credit towards Board Certification Requirements: 1
Aligns with the following Quality Indicators in What is Quality Spiritual Care in Health Care and How Do You Measure It? (HCCN. 2016).
  • Process Indicator 2.B. All clients are offered the opportunity to have a discussion of religious/spiritual concerns
  • Process Indicator 2.C. An assessment of religious, spiritual, and existential concerns using a structured instrument is developed and documented, and the information obtained from the assessment is integrated into the overall care plan
  • Process Indicator 2.G. End of life and Bereavement Care is provided as appropriate to the population served.
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