Department of Clinical Ethics and Spiritual Care
The Department of Clinical Ethics and Spiritual Care offers services to patients, families, caregivers, and staff with the mission to provide direct care to the entire community.
The Spiritual Care staff includes two chaplains and a dedicated group of trained chaplain associates, who provide around the clock coverage for all Shore Health System facilities. The chaplains provide non-denominational spiritual care and offer resources for most religious traditions found in our community.
The Clinical Ethics and Spiritual Care team offers programs that educates clergy and serves the patients and families who turn to Shore Health System for their healthcare needs.
Clinical Pastoral Education is a nationally accredited educational program, which Shore Health System offers for clergy, seminarians, and select lay caregivers. Participants develop skills in the specialized field of healthcare ministry through classroom instruction and supervised clinical experience. Completion of this course of the program may lead to Certified Healthcare Chaplain designation.
Chaplain Associate Program is related to the Clinical Pastoral Education. Local clergy and designated lay caregivers who have successfully completed training receive pastoral privileges and participate in the Shore Health System on-call program. Office space and a stipend are provided for Chaplain Associates who respond to calls for their services.
Continuing Clergy Education is offered to members of the religious community five times a year. Presenters brief participants on topics such as hospice; family health; alcohol and addiction; maternal and perinatal health; health and spirituality; crisis ministry; and ministry during natural or other kinds of disasters. These educational programs are offered at no charge and lunch is provided.
Therapeutic Music is provided by a professionally trained and certified harpist. Shore Health System is one of just a handful of facilities in Maryland using therapeutic music as part of its comprehensive spiritual care program. The harpist, who is an integral part of the Clinical Ethics and Spiritual Care Department, plays for patients, visitors, and staff at Dorchester General Hospital and The Memorial Hospital at Easton.
Clinical Ethics at the Shore Health System is supported by a Patient Care Advisory Committee, which consists of approximately 25 physicians, nurses, allied health providers, clergy, and community representatives, who are available for consultation with patients, families, and staff. Mandated by the State of Maryland, the committee relies on the expertise of a medical ethicist with a doctorate in ethics and a long career in clinical ethics, academic teaching, research, and publishing and editing. The committee also provides policy review and performs an education function within the system.
Education in both spiritual care and medical ethics is a primary mission of the Clinical Ethics and Spiritual Care Department. In addition to the educational activities outlined above, the Director provides education to nurses, physicians, nursing students at Critical Care University and Graduate University, and to members of the community served by the Shore Health System.