Rationale: The goal of the Spiritual Care Association (SCA) is to design, promote and support training and certification structures and processes that create chaplains who effectively, reliably and efficiently deliver quality care. This quality is defined by the consumers of care including patients, loved ones, staff, institutions, and payers. It must be objectively testable and subject to continuous improvement. Put simply, this is about delivering the best spiritual care possible and continuing to test and improve that care over time.
In the service of this goal, we have already issued with the help of an international multidisciplinary panel, a list of proposed testable evidence based Quality Indicators (QI) for chaplaincy and the first Scope of Practice (SOP) statement in the field. Many of the competencies in this document are from Common Standards but some Common Standards were not included because they do not appear to contribute to any of the Quality Indicators. These documents will drive the content of our certification process. SCA’s Standardized Clinical Knowledge Test and Standardized Patient Exam tests for skills, knowledge, and clinical competence.
Importantly, we will continue to "test the tests" to make sure the questions and scoring criteria are appropriate and do differentiate qualified and unqualified chaplains as defined. We will monitor what demographics and training backgrounds seem to contribute to success in the process and which do not. Thus if it turns out that candidates with four units of CPE do significantly better than candidates with less than four unit, we will alter our requirements accordingly. Over time, we will be able to test whether those who are certified in this way actually deliver the quality care we expect. We also expect the QI and thus the SOP to change over time as the demands on chaplains evolve. These changes will also necessarily drive changes in the test.
We will be making all of this data public so that the field might benefit. As we have done with the QI and SOP documents, we invite everyone in the field to do their own testing of these documents and share their results. We invite the other training and certifying bodies to test their own curriculum and processes to determine the quality and value they add to the well-being of patients and loved ones.
Again, the bottom line is the healing and well-being of those that chaplains serve. This is the "end". All else is "means".